Enforced Tourists: American Women, Travel, and the ‘Far-Flung Fronts’ of World War II

Document Type



travel; women; World War II

Identifier Data



Taylor & Francis

Publication Source

Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 3(3), 178-193


The exigencies of World War II resulted in a massive expansion of travel opportunities for American women, both civilian and military, that formed an essential ingredient of their wartime experience. As enforced tourists, the geographical centres and states of knowledge of American women were greatly expanded as they travelled to distant and remote areas, met new people, took on new jobs, encountered different cultures and ways of life, and established themselves and their families in unknown locations. The far-reaching consequences of enforced wartime travel played an important role in transforming the way American women thought about themselves and their world, and the legacy of the war continues to reverberate in women's lives. Much has been written about how major wars have given rise to postwar pilgrimages, battlefield tours, and the establishment of commemorative memorials and museums, but the significance of enforced tourists who travelled during wartime itself has not been fully explored. The far-reaching consequences of wartime travel and the extent to which it transforms the lives of enforced tourists – both women and men, civilian and military – is a largely uncharted topic worthy of considerable attention by scholars.