During the Second World War, the American military and government wanted to project a morally upstanding public image. They considered this essential to build and maintain public support on the home front and uphold their supposedly superior moral standards to much of the world, particularly in those countries and territories where the US military was stationed, including Newfoundland.
At the same time, military authorities also believed that local women’s emotional and sexual labour were critical to boosting morale. They attempted to boost servicemen’s morale by offering ‘wholesome’ forms of entertainment, including chaperoned dances, recreational facilities, and travelling celebrity shows; however, they also accepted that servicemen required women for sexual relations if morale among the troops was to be maintained. Concerns over maintaining a façade of morality often led authorities to use local Newfoundland women as scapegoats and assign blame for any perceived acts of immorality.
Military authorities’ imperialist and classist attitudes toward such issues as venereal disease, marriage, illegitimate pregnancies, and violence illustrate how these attitudes shaped their efforts to control servicemen’s encounters and relations with Newfoundland women.
Thursday, 28 October 2021