This paper focuses on the centrality of those German women to re-making the social landscape in both occupied Germany and eventually the United States. It examines the relationships of German women and African American GIs in particular to demonstrate how they promoted these women’s continued social liberation from the influences of male as well as other female Germans within their communities. 20th century female gender roles in Germany had been expanding, especially in cosmopolitan Berlin, since at least the Weimar Republic.
I find that those German women who were in regular contact with American GIs in the American occupation zone were the Germans on the front lines of the American democratization project that the American occupation zone was supposed to become. To Americans at the time democracy was compatible with racism against and segregation of African-Americans. This, German women could deduce from their observations of White GIs’ racial prejudice against their Black compatriots. However, through their bi-racial relationships, they learned that western democracy did not necessarily have to exclude groups on the basis of race or gender differences.