In An Alien City: American Soldiers in Wartime Calcutta (1942-1946)
Calcutta had emerged as one of the most important fulcrums for coordinating the movement of men, material, and money during the Second World War. The advent of US troops in the city from 1942 onwards led to an unprecedented cultural encounter. This paper argues that the actual lived experiences of the American soldiers in Calcutta provided a stark contrast to their prescribed norms of conduct. This paper further contends that with their arrival, civilian-military relations were substantially reconfigured and the image of the British Empire was considerably damaged. An attempt has been made to set in relief the divergent experiences of the White American and African American troops besides mapping their experiences of and responses to the Bengal Famine. Lastly, this paper seeks to interrogate the globalising nature of the Second World War by looking at Calcutta as a site of spontaneous and uneven cultural exchange where the US soldiers functioned as national emissaries and wartime cultural conduits.
Copyright (c) 2021 Suchintan Das
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.