Between a new Germany and a new America : unions between African-American soldiers and German women 1945-1960 / by Daniel Timothy Lee.
Racial progress in the United States occurred not only because of social protest, but was also due to the increasing influence of the federal government during a time of war. Interracial marriage became legalized in part, because African-American soldiers and German women married in post-war Germany, where laws against such unions had been abolished, at a time when twenty-two states banned interracial marriage in the United States.Black soldiers and German women fraternized at an intersection of both American and German History which not only allowed such social relationships, but encouraged them. The relative racial progressiveness of bureaucrats in the War Department and later the Department of Defense meant that the American military acted as an unwilling agent in the legalization of mixed-race marriages. This occurred not only because the military's relative racial progressiveness made military service an attractive career option for young African-American soldiers, but its need to move its members around during the Cold War put it at odds with local racial laws.The first two chapters of this dissertation follow the development of German laws regarding those of African descent before World War II. In particular, it covers debates on interracial marriage and citizenship concerning the native inhabitants of Germany's African colonies, and the children of German women and French African soldiers following World War I.The third chapter and fourth chapters deal with policies that affected the African-American experience in the military prior to and during the occupation of Germany. Central to these chapters are the roles played by bureaucrats in the War Department who sought and won racially progressive policies for the military.The fifth and sixth chapters examine how these policy changes affected African-American soldiers and German women both in Germany and the United States. The emphasis is social history, or making the policies personal.
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