*** Northern Irish boys and the Americans

Americans Arriving in Northern Ireland: Atitude of the Children

GIs in Ulster
Figure 1.--Weeks after Pearl Harbor, Americans began arriving in the united Kingdom. The first American troops arrived in Northrn Ireland (January 1942). We see photogrphs of the Americns with children. We re not entirely sure that the children thought of the Americans. It was a little different than In England. A reader thnks that the image here shows that 'the boys' defiance look'. We don't see that, but are not not sure just what their reaction was.

The first Americans units left New York for Belfast (January 6, 1942) only 1 month after Pearl Harbor. This was a little before Americans began arriving in England. There the reaction was athr straiht forward. English kids wre enchanted with the Americans. Most had never seen Americans before, but were familar with American movies. This was just after the Blitz, but kids depending on their age had some idea about how importasnt it was for Britain thst the Americns were in the War with them. But the GIs soon devloped friendly relations wiyh the kids, espcially the boys who were more interested in approsching the Ameicans. The American GIs more casual than common in Britain. But they also had a huge draw. The GIs were awinderful source of chewing gum and candies. This was at time that sugsr was rationed and candy was a rare treatfor the kids. The reception in Northern Island was more complicated. Northern Ireland was a deeply divided society, separated on religious grounds. The Protestants were strongly Britush, suggesting that the Pritesrabnt children probably treated the Amricans like British boys. We are not sure sbout Catholic children. Many Cathlics wanted to be part of the Irish Free State (southern Ireland) rather than the United Kingdom. We are not sure if this affected attitudes toward the Americans. Of course inlike the English, the Irish had vdey poityive attitudes toward the Americans. Issues develoopd beteen he Itih Free State and the Americams. Abnd the Urih mauntsuned reltiins siyh the NSZUIs until the very end of gthe War. Butv this opresumavkly did not affect how the Castholic chukdren in Notrthern Island interacted with the Americsan GIs.


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Created: 5:11 PM 7/17/2012
Last updated: 5:11 PM 7/17/2012