Penn SocialWashington, DC, United States

Profs & Pints DC: Yanks in World War II Britain

By Profs and Pints (other events)

Monday, June 3 2024 6:00 PM 8:30 PM EDT

Profs and Pints DC presents: “Yanks in World War II Britain,” a D-Day anniversary look at Americans' life in the UK in the lead-up to history’s largest invasion, with Kevin Matthews, who teaches courses on 20th century European history as a professor of history at George Mason University.

June 6th marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day. While we’re likely to hear much about that pivotal invasion, less discussed is the cultural experiment that preceded it, in which nearly 2 million Americans and the people of Great Britain found themselves living together.

Come learn about that fascinating chapter of history with Kevin Matthews, a historian who has given excellent Profs and Pints talks on the Irish Revolution and German attacks on our nation’s coasts.

What happens away from a war’s front lines can be as crucial to military success as what happens in battle. Professor Matthews will discuss the ups and downs of the British-American partnership and how both sides managed Britain’s huge influx of American men, most of whom were young and had never lived so far from home.

American G.I.’s were warned: “The British don’t know how to make a good cup of coffee.  You don’t know how to make a good cup of tea.  It’s an even swap.” Meanwhile, many Britons’ knowledge of Americans came mainly from Hollywood films, and some complained that their American guests were “overfed, overpaid, oversexed — and over here.”

Some Americans and Brits got along splendidly, however. Tens of thousands of American men and British women finding themselves in romances that gave new meaning to what Winston Churchill called a “special relationship.”

More importantly, the partnership brought victory. Learning about it will give you insights into the role that human relations can play in determining the outcomes of war. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)

Image: American soldiers on an amphibious tank landing craft before D-Day (U.S. National Archives).