World War Two
During world war two, many people from different countries came to stay and possibly eventually live in Britain. Many American soldiers called GIs came to Britain to help with the war. People who lived in the British empire and had been fighting for Britain called commonwealth troops also came to stay, and there were also Poles and prisoners of war who came to add to the mix.
GIs were American soldiers who began arriving in Britain from 1942 onwards. Many British soldiers were jealous of them as they were paid more, wore exciting uniforms and sometimes carried sweets for children! They mixed freely in British society and went to dance halls and restaurants. Although they weren't worried about mixing with different classes, they were very race conscious and the majority of GIs were black. In the USA, black people were discriminated against and segregated, so it was a nice change for black GIs arriving in Britain as British people weren't so racist. However, there were some towns during the war which did segregate white and black people. British women were very excited by the GIs and there were many wartime marriages to GIs. The GIs either stayed in England with their wives or went back to America taking their wives with them.
Commonwealth troops and PoWs
People from the British Empire helped to fight against Germany during the second world war, such as Australians, Indians and Canadians. Many of these commonwealth troops came to live in Britain. It is estimated that there were 40,000 marriages between Canadian and British women. Many people found Canadians exciting as they were so tall! Prisoners of War (PoWs) also came to Britain from Germany and Italy. There were many camps across Britain where prisoners of war were kept.
Poland was one of the first countries invaded by the Nazis, so many Poles fled to Britain to escape the regime. Churchill was interested in the Poles as the invasion of Poland was one of the main reason why Britain went to war with Germany. They had also helped to fight with Britain during the second world war, and Britain had a shortage of workers after the war. Despite some opposition, Churchill wanted the Poles to stay, and gave them special help to get jobs and housing. Many British women also…