'Fit to Fight, Fit to Mix': Sexual Patriotism in Second World War Britain

Webster, Wendy (2013) 'Fit to Fight, Fit to Mix': Sexual Patriotism in Second World War Britain. Women's History Review, 22 (4). pp. 607-624. ISSN 0961-2025

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09612025.2012.751770


During the Second World War the diversity of the population in Britain by nationality and ethnicity was unprecedented, multiplying British women's opportunities for relationships that crossed ethnic and national boundaries. This article uses evidence from Home Intelligence, Mass-Observation and official policy making to explore the gendered nature of anxieties about a wide range of British women's relationships—with white and black allies and with white enemies. In considering popular and official attitudes to mixing across national and ethnic difference and British women who flouted the rules of sexual patriotism, the article argues that the history of transnational and transethnic relationships in wartime Britain is an important episode in the shift towards a multiethnic and multinational society, commonly dated to the post-war period.

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