Image Cartoon of an Australian wife kissing a US soldier, 1943

TLF ID R8611

This cartoon shows a US soldier romancing the wife of an Australian soldier. A shocked Australian Army private in uniform is depicted peering from behind a curtain at his attractive wife in the arms of a suave-looking US staff sergeant, who is also in uniform. The private holds a photograph album and the uniform hats of both soldiers are visible in the hallway. The cartoon was drawn by Private First Class (PFC) Davisson of the US Army.




Educational details

Educational value
  • The cartoon, by a US serviceman based in Brisbane, aptly illustrates the uneasy relationship between many Australian servicemen and US forces in Australia. The phrase 'over-sexed, over-paid and over here' was commonly used by Australian forces to describe their US counterparts, whose glamour and generosity attracted many Australian women. Almost 1 million US service personnel passed through Australia during the Second World War.
  • Both forces largely consisted of young men who had no real comprehension of the other's history - cultural misunderstandings were common, resulting in brawls and minor conflicts. When the Australian 7th Division arrived in Brisbane on leave from overseas they were resentful to find the US troops so prominent in their city. Two days in November 1942 became known as the 'Battle of Brisbane' when numerous violent street brawls took place.
  • The cartoonist subtly implies the superiority of the US serviceman by portraying him as a well-groomed, smartly uniformed and romantic figure, in contrast to the Australian with his short pants and unkempt hair. There is almost a 'movie star' quality about the American, which would have attracted many Australian women. In contrast, the Australian seems quite unsophisticated and ordinary, grasping what is possibly his wedding album.
  • Although at first welcomed as saviours by Australians, the US servicemen soon wore out their welcome with the Australian forces, who criticised the US pay scales and stylish uniforms, the items they could buy from military PXs (tax-free stores) and their relationships with local women. Many women saw the US soldiers, with their gifts of nylon stockings and chocolate - items rarely available to Australian soldiers - as desirable and romantic.
  • The presence of large numbers of US troops had a considerable - often positive - effect on Australia, as rural industries rushed to keep up with the increased demand for food supplies and the US forces introduced trends in fashion, manufactured goods, domestic technology and consumerism. By the end of 1944, two-thirds of Australia's imports came from the USA and the alliance formed during the War has remained of central importance to Australia.
  • The cartoonist, PFC Davisson, was based in Brisbane during his service, as were up to 100,000 other US military personnel. They were stationed at the military planning headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in the South-West Pacific, and also at other important maintenance, communication and supply facilities. Much of the US forces' southern hemisphere campaign was directed from Brisbane.
Year level

4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • History
  • Studies of society and environment

Other details

Contributors
  • Contributor
  • Name: State Library of Queensland
  • Organization: State Library of Queensland
  • Description: Content provider
  • Address: QLD, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.slq.qld.gov.au
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Person: PFC Davisson
  • Description: Author
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: State Library of Queensland
  • Organization: State Library of Queensland
  • Address: QLD, AUSTRALIA
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL: www.esa.edu.au
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
Rights
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and State Library of Queensland, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements