Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of History

Committee Chair

Michael Mayer

Commitee Members

Janet Finn, Jeffrey Wiltse


assimilation, ethnicity, Montana, War brides, World War II


University of Montana


During and after World War II, over one hundred thousand American servicemen married women they met in the course of their deployment overseas. In early 1946, these women, commonly known as “war brides,” began to immigrate to the United States to join their husbands. Over one hundred of the women settled in Montana, in both urban and rural areas of the state. This thesis examines the women’s lives in Europe, Australia, and Asia before their immigration, and the unprecedented nature of their immigration to the United States, which the United States Army both arranged and paid for. Additionally, the thesis utilizes interviews with twenty war brides in Montana to analyze the process by which war brides initially adjusted to life in Montana, and how the women eventually assimilated. The women adopted a hyphenated ethnic identity that involved both an identification with the United States and a continued feeling of loyalty to their countries of origin. Scholarship in history, sociology, and anthropology indicates that this type of hyphenated ethnicity has become the norm in the United States since the mid-twentieth century. The thesis contradicts the findings of other academic histories of the war brides in arguing that the women have assimilated to life in the United States. Their ties to their heritage overseas, and their insistence upon maintaining certain ethnic customs and traditions, places them squarely within the mainstream of twentieth century American society.



© Copyright 2009 Anna Claire Amundson