Published Date

November 1, 1944

Resource Type

GI Roundtable Series, Primary Source

From GI Roundtable 30: Can War Marriages Be Made to Work? (1944)

The hazards of war marriages are apparently multiplied in the cases of overseas marriages of military personnel to foreigners. A careful observer who studied the problems of such marriages during the last war estimates that at least half of them turned out to be failures.

The basic problems are of course those of adjustment, with ordinary difficulties complicated by all the differences of environment and custom and nationality or race. But there are also practical tangles, especially in the matter of couples getting together later in the United States. During war, officers and men are subject to quick changes of station and can’t take their wives with them from a foreign country; and, when the war is over, soldiers (unless they happened to enlist overseas) will be returned to the United States for discharge and may be obliged to leave their wives behind. In the crowded months after the war, even if money is available for travel expenses, wives and children left in foreign countries are not likely to find it easy to get ship passage. Sometimes a foreign wife of a soldier has come to the United States to live with strange in-laws in unfamiliar surroundings-at best a hard experience of adjustment and, if her husband fails to return from the war, a tragic dilemma. It should be added that mixed marriages of certain kinds are outlawed in many states; that American consular officials can refuse a visa for a wife to enter the United States if in their judgment she is likely to become a public charge; and that foreign husbands o€ American citizens can enter the United States only under quota.

Next session: Making a Success of War Marriage