David Walter Möller

Ph. D. Candidate,

The University of Zurich 


David Walter Möller is an academic assistant at the Chair of Global History at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He studied history with a focus on East Asia at the University of Erfurt and the National Chengchi University in Taipei. As a PhD. candidate at the University of Zurich, he currently works on a project entitled “An Empire of Recreation: Rest & Recuperation Tours, Sex and Militarized Tourism in Taiwan and Singapore during the Cold War (1952-1972)”.

“A ‘Soldier-turned-visitor‘: U.S. Servicemen, Female Labor and Militarized Tourism in Taiwan and Singapore (1965-1972)”

During the American war in Vietnam the US military command initiated a program to send US servicemen all over the Pacific region for five-day Rest&Recuperation (R&R). The influx of pleasure-seeking US servicemen in various cities in the Pacific resulted in the emergence of a sex and amusement industry, mostly relying on a female labor force in times of rapid national modernization. The arrival of US soldiers on R&R not only indicates U.S. mobilization of the entire Pacific region for the war in Vietnam, the R&R program also has to be situated at the very crossroads of war, tourism, and economic development. This paper will thus seek to examine the U.S. military-tourism networks and the ambivalent role of U.S. soldiers turned tourists in the Pacific. I will ask in what ways local governments in Taiwan and Singapore managed the arrival of US soldiers and how they mobilized a mostly female labor force for tourist desires. Through the analysis of military-tourism networks, this paper attempts to offer new understandings on how mobilization in times of war shaped transformations in the Pacific during the 1960s.

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