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Public Law 346, passed in the 78th Congress on June 22, 1944, was technically known as the Servicemen`s Readjustment Act of 1944, but popularly as the G.I. It provided a range of benefits to the veterans who would soon begin returning from duty in World War II.The treatment of returning World War II veterans stood in sharp contrast to that of the veterans of World War I. During the 12 years of its operation, the cost of the program was above $14 billion.Among the principal proponents of the G.I. At its annual convention in Chicago during September 1944, Brigadier General Frank Hines, administrator of Veterans` Affairs, spoke to the delegates:The GI Bill of Rights also incorporated many other excellent provisions, including that of declaring the Veterans Administration to be an essential war agency and entitled, secondly only to the War and Navy departments, to priorities in personnel, equipment, supplies, and material under any laws, executive orders, and regulations pertaining to priorities. The act further declared that in appointments of personnel from civil service registers the administrator of veterans affairs is granted the same authority and discretion as the War and Navy departments and the United State Public Health Service.
The G.I. Bill of Rights
It has been heralded as one of the most significant pieces of legislation ever produced by the federal government—one that impacted the United States socially, economically and politically. But it almost never came to pass.
The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of June 22, 1944—commonly known as the G.I. Bill of Rights—nearly stalled in Congress as members of the House and Senate debated provisions of the controversial bill.
Some shunned the idea of paying unemployed veterans $20 a week because they thought it diminished their incentive to look for work. Others questioned the concept of sending battle-hardened veterans to colleges and universities, a privilege then reserved for the rich.
Despite their differences, all agreed something must be done to help veterans assimilate into civilian life.
Much of the urgency stemmed from a desire to avoid the missteps following World War I, when discharged veterans got little more than a $60 allowance and a train ticket home.
During the Great Depression, some veterans found it difficult to make a living. Congress tried to intervene by passing the World War Adjusted Act of 1924, commonly known as the Bonus Act. The law provided a bonus based on the number of days served. But there was a catch: most veterans wouldn’t see a dime for 20 years.
A group of veterans marched on Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1932 to demand full payment of their bonuses. When they didn’t get it, most went home. But some decided to stick around until they got paid. They were later kicked out of town following a bitter standoff with U.S. troops. The incident marked one of the greatest periods of unrest our nation’s capital had ever known.
The return of millions of veterans from World War II gave Congress a chance at redemption. But the GI Bill had far greater implications. It was seen as a genuine attempt to thwart a looming social and economic crisis. Some saw inaction as an invitation to another depression.
Harry W. Colmery, a former national commander of the American Legion and former Republican National Chairman, is credited with drawing up the first draft of the G.I. Bill. It was introduced in the House on Jan. 10, 1944, and in the Senate the following day. Both chambers approved their own versions of the bill.
But the struggle was just heating up. The bill almost died when Senate and House members came together to debate their versions. Both groups agreed on the education and home loan benefits, but were deadlocked on the unemployment provision.
Ultimately, Rep. John Gibson of Georgia was rushed in to cast the tie-breaking vote. The Senate approved the final form of the bill on June 12, and the House followed on June 13. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law on June 22, 1944.
The Veterans Administration (VA) was responsible for carrying out the law’s key provisions: education and training, loan guaranty for homes, farms or businesses, and unemployment pay.
Before the war, college and home ownership were, for the most part, unreachable dreams for the average American. Thanks to the G.I.Bill, millions who would have flooded the job market instead opted for education. In the peak year of 1947, veterans accounted for 49 percent of college admissions. By the time the original G.I. Bill ended on July 25, 1956, 7.8 million of 16 million World War II veterans had participated in an education or training program.
Millions also took advantage of the G.I. Bill’s home loan guaranty. From 1944 to 1952, VA backed nearly 2.4 million home loans for World War II veterans.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/history.asp
One Reply to &ldquoThe G.I. Bill of Rights&rdquo
Does the GI Bll of Rights cover statutory rights violations by governments employees such as Ethics in Government Act violations by an FBI agent? My issues have to do with the fact that homelessness in our society is caused more by the lack of political will than the lack of financial resources. I wrote short essay about it. Is there an email address I can send it to so VA can look into this? Semper Fi
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*On this date in 1944, the G.I. Bill was signed into American law. Officially titled the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt.
During World War II, politicians wanted to avoid the postwar confusion about veterans' benefits that became a political football in the 1920s and 1930s. Veterans' organizations that had formed after the First World War had millions of members they mobilized support in Congress for a bill that provided benefits only to veterans of military service, including men and women. Harry W. Colmery, Democrat and a former National Commander of the American Legion, wrote the first draft of the G.I. Bill. He reportedly jotted down his ideas on stationery and a napkin at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Ernest McFarland, Democrat-Arizona, was actively involved in the bill's passage and is known, with Warren Atherton, as one of the "fathers of the G.I. Bill." One might then term Edith Nourse Rogers, R-Mass, who helped write and who co-sponsored the legislation, as the "mother of the G.I. Bill". As with Colmery, her contribution to writing and passing this legislation has been obscured by time.
The bill that President Roosevelt initially proposed had a means test only poor veterans would get one year of funding only top-scorers on a written exam would get four years of paid college. The American Legion proposal was intended to provide full benefits for all veterans, including women and minorities, regardless of their wealth. A provision of the G.I. Bill was low interest, zero down payment home loans for servicemen, with more favorable terms for new construction compared to existing housing. This encouraged millions of American families to move out of urban apartments and into suburban homes. Another provision was known as the 52–20 clause for unemployment. Unemployed war veterans would receive $20 dollars a week for 52 weeks for up to one year while they were looking for work. Less than 20 percent of the money set aside for the 52–20 Club was distributed. Rather, most returning servicemen quickly found jobs or pursued higher education. With all of these options, African American veterans have benefited less than others from the G.I. Bill.
On paper, the G.I. Bill aimed to help American World War II veterans adjust to civilian life by providing them with benefits including low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans, and financial support. African Americans did not benefit nearly as much as white-European Americans. Historian Ira Katznelson argues that "the law was deliberately designed to accommodate Jim Crow". Of the first 67,000 mortgages insured by the G.I. Bill, fewer than 100 were taken out by non-whites. Additionally, banks and mortgage agencies refused loans to blacks, making the G.I. Bill even less effective for blacks. Once they returned from the war, blacks faced discrimination and poverty, which represented a barrier to harnessing the benefits of the G.I. Bill, because labor and income were immediately needed at home.
Most southern university administrators refused to admit Blacks until the American Civil Rights movement became more organized. Segregation was legally mandated in that region. Colleges accepting blacks in the South initially numbered 100. Those institutions were of lower quality, with 28 of them classified as sub-baccalaureate. Only seven states offered post-baccalaureate training, while no accredited engineering or doctoral programs were available for blacks. These institutions were all smaller than white or non-segregated universities, often facing a lack of resources. Even after admission to universities, public education was in such a poor state for blacks that many of them were not adequately prepared for college-level work. Those who were prepared for college-level work gained admission to predominantly white universities. Remember this was before Brown v BOE (1954) when American public schools were legally segregated.
History of the GI Bill
Since the signing of the original GI Bill, the program has gone through major changes. None as big as the changes created by the bill’s newest manifestation, the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Benefit payments under the new bill went to more than 290,000 Veterans in the first year.
On June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the GI Bill of Rights.
The Veterans Administration – as it was known at that time -- was responsible for carrying out the law's key provisions for education and training, loan guaranty for homes, farms or businesses, and unemployment pay.
Before the World War II, college and homeownership were, for the most part, unreachable dreams for the average American. Thanks to the GI Bill, millions who would have flooded the job market opted for education instead.
In the peak year of 1947, Veterans accounted for 49 percent of college admissions. By the time the original GI Bill ended, July 25, 1956, 7.8 million of the 16 million World War II Veterans had participated in an education or training program.
In 1984, former Mississippi congressman G. V. "Sonny" Montgomery revamped the GI Bill. The Montgomery GI Bill assured that VA home loan guaranty and education programs continued to work for Veterans of the post-Vietnam era.
In 2009, GI Bill benefits were updated again. The new law, called the Post-9/11 GI Bill, gives servicemembers and veterans with 90 or more days of active duty service on, or after, Sept. 11 2001, enhanced educational benefits to cover more expenses, provide a living allowance, money for books and the ability to transfer unused educational benefits to spouses or children.
The trends shown in the various data visualizations not only support the information presented by Turner and Bound, Altschuler and Blumin, and Browning, Lopreato and Poston, but also suggest important conclusions about later additions to the GI Bill. Overall, the figures show that the location of the veterans played a large role in determining the ability of black veterans to use the aid provided by the GI Bill. The data also shows that over time, the GI Bill becomes more easily utilized by black veterans, which I have attributed to the changing racial norms following the Civil Rights movement and the effort made by the government to increase funding in higher education institutions and programs during the Cold War Era. However, the amount of research available on the effects of the extended GI Bill is severely limited for the time period after the World War II. Although as written, the bill was never a discriminatory piece of legislation, the aid was distributed unequally between races from 1940-1960. With the Civil Rights movement and the changing government policy during the Cold War era, the society started to change, and black veterans were more free to take advantage of the GI Bill.
History of the GI Bill
On June 22, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Public Law 78-346, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, to provide sweeping new benefits to World War II veterans. The law has been commonly referred to as the “G.I. Bill” since then.
The G.I. Bill is most remembered for providing unprecedented educational benefits, but it did much more:
- It elevated the VA to a war essential agency, second only to the War and Navy Departments (at the time), giving it elevated priority in funding, etc.
- Provided $500,000,000 for additional veterans hospitals
- Authorized interchange of staff and facilities between VA and the military services to facilitate adjudication and dissemination of all veterans benefits
- Authorized educational benefits to honorably discharged veterans (not just the disabled) who served after September 16, 1940 (World War II veterans) this included attending college, refresher courses, retraining, etc., at approved institutions for up to 4 years
- Provided loans for veterans to purchase homes, new construction, farms and farm equipment, and business property
- Provided job counseling and employment services for World War II veterans
Before the 1944 G.I. Bill became law, training and educational opportunities were limited to disabled military veterans who were injured during their service. Beginning at the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (VHA origins), established in 1865, disabled veterans were trained in new occupations as their interests and abilities allowed. Veterans were taught trades such as telegraphy, plastering, or gardening as residents at the National Homes. There was no education opportunities or benefits for them outside of the National Home. Congress authorized funds for farming or manufacturing operations at the National Homes as both a means to supply necessary food, supplies, and services to the Homes and as occupational endeavors for its residents. By 1875, veterans at the National Homes were engaged in cigar-making, knitting socks, printing and bookbinding, shoe-making, wagon-making, iron work, plumbing, building steam engines, tin-smithing, tailoring, bread baking, breeding and raising livestock, cabinetry, and much more. They often sold items to the public in the Home’s commissary and were paid for their labors.
In 1918, the Federal Board of Vocational Education established a rehabilitation division for disabled World War I veterans. The Board worked with states, local business, and vocational schools to provide veterans with training for new occupations such as farming or teaching. By 1922, over 156,000 disabled World War veterans had entered 445 trades or professions.
VA’s 1945 annual report showed that during the G.I. Bill’s first year:
- VA received 83,016 applications for education benefits: of those, 75,272 were eligible, 35,044 entered courses, and 22,335 were in training.
- VA received 15,455 applications for home loan guarantees: 12,228 loans were made in the amount of $19,644,824.90 for 11,220 home loans, 270 farm loans, and 738 business loans.
By 1951 8,170,000 veterans had attended over 1,700 schools and colleges at a cost to the Government of $14,000,000,000. 3,430,000 were able to finish high school 2,350,000 went to college 1,630,000 received on-the-job training, and 760,000 obtained on-the-farm training. In 1944, educators were skeptical about the bill, but by 1951, they had nothing but praise for the bill’s success in educating millions of veterans who could not have afforded to do so on their own.
G.I. Bill - History
G.I. are initials used to describe the soldiers of the United States Army and airmen of the United States Air Forces and also for general items of their equipment.  The term G.I. has been used as an initialism of "Government Issue", "General Issue", or "Ground Infantry", but it originally referred to "galvanized iron", as used by the logistics services of the United States Armed Forces.  
During World War I, American soldiers sardonically referred to incoming German artillery shells as "G.I. cans". Also during that war, "G.I." started being interpreted as "Government Issue" or "General Issue" for the general items of equipment of soldiers and airmen. The term "G.I." came into widespread use in the United States with the start of the Selective Service System ("the draft") in 1940, extending into 1941. It gradually replaced the term ”Doughboy” that was used in World War I. Next, the use of "G.I." expanded from 1942 through 1945. American five-star General Dwight D. Eisenhower said in 1945 that "the truly heroic figure of this war [is] G.I. Joe and his counterpart in the air, the navy, and the Merchant Marine of every one of the United Nations." 
"G.I." was also used as an adjective for anything having to do with the US Army or Army Air Force. 
They Call Me Joe was a series of radio dramas aired in 1944. Each episode focused on a different fictional American soldier. A soldier of a different national or ethnic origin was selected for each episode, but he was always identified as a G. I. named Joe. The series was intended to encourage Americans of varying backgrounds to cooperate to win World War II. It was produced by the NBC University of the Air, which also produced a series The World's Great Novels.  The series ran for twelve weeks  and aired both on the NBC Radio Network and the Armed Forces Radio Network.
The G.I. Bill
The G.I. Bill (1944) was a series of benefits for World War II veterans granted by the U.S. Congress under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 and extended by later legislation.Administrated by the Veterans Administration, these benefits included educational grants for higher education or vocational training, mortgage loan guarantees for home buyers, and cash payments for those unemployed after discharge.
Initially, President Franklin D. Roosevelt favored a comprehensive approach to dealing with postwar demobilization, especially in the areas of job retraining and vocational rehabilitation. However, faced with significant opposition in Congress and among veterans’ organizations to such broadsed plans, he bowed to political realities and supported narrower legislation aimed at veterans. Substantial public pressure developed in 1943 and 1944, led by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Hearst newspaper syndicate, to provide a bonus and other benefits to discharged service men and women. The American Legion, eager to attract World War II veterans to its organization, played a pivotal role in drafting and lobbying for the solled G.I. Bill.
The bill's emphasis on aiding able𠄋odied veterans established important precedents that stemmed in part from fears of massive unemployment caused by demobilization and the return of millions of ex‐service men and women.
G.I. Bill - History
The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, also known as the G.I. Bill, was signed into law by President Roosevelt, in June 22, 1944. The bill would offer veterans with funding for their college education, housing, and unemployment. The cash was provided to those veterans who were fighting during the Second World War, and funds were extracted from the funds set aside for battle.
While WW2 was in effect, the department of labor had estimated that there would be around 15 million individuals (men and women) that would be unemployed, once the war ended.
The resources planning board, in order to prevent this widespread amount of unemployment and of financial difficulties, speculated what the post war manpower demand would be like and created a variety of programs and training for the end of 1942 and early 1943.
The American Legion was in charge of laying out the content in the G.I. Bill, and what terms would be set forth for veterans the bill was sent to congress, passed both houses, and was signed in to law by the President in 1944, only a few days after D-Day.
The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act was realized and was more well-known as the G.I. Bill of Rights. It provided federal aid for veterans who had fought in war. The bill was meant to aid the veterans to help them return and transition back in to civilian life as easily as possible, in areas from hospital bills, home purchases, business, and namely in the field of education.
The bill provided funding to help pay for books, financials for schooling, counseling, and any other financials, that were connected to getting an education, once they returned to civilian life, and decided to go back to get an education. For the following 7 years, about 2,300,000 individuals attended college, 3,500,000 received training from school, and about 3,400,000 received on the job training, thanks to the funding that was provided by the G.I. Bill. The number of bachelor degree granted was doubled from 1940 to 1950, and the number of individuals who had a college education jumped from just under 5 % up to around 25 % in only half a century since the Servicemen Act (the G.I. Bill) became law following the war.
For veterans who did take advantage of the bill, there were quite a few opportunities, and there were several areas of financial assistance that they received, once returning home from the war, in an attempt to get back to civilian life as naturally as possible.
Some of the financial assistance offered included payment for college/schooling, discounts on mortgage rates for those who were going to buy a home, low interest rates for those who were interested in starting their own business, cash payments for living expenses related to college attendance, and a number of other unemployment compensation and benefits were offered, to the veterans who participated in the Bill.
By the time period that it had expired, the portion that covered for education and for training had paid out around $14.5 million to those who had selected to return to school, and to receive an education, in order to get proper training, for new careers, following the return to civilian life.
Although this number was quite high, estimates showed that with the increase from the federal tax returns would quickly repay this amount, many times over, and would circulate the money that was spent, back in to the economy, just as quickly as it was paid out.
By the time 1955 rolled around, it was also estimated that there were about 4.3 million home loans granted to these veterans because of the bill, and that these total amounts were around $33 million for the outstanding loan totals following the post war period.
It was estimated that veterans were responsible for the purchase of around 20% of new homes that were being sold during this period and for several years following the signing of the Servicemen Bill into law. This also reflected in other areas of the country’s economy, and instead of a post-war economic depression, only prosperity thrived. The great returns were because of the finances to veterans who had come home from the war who needed to readjust to civilian life.
Extension of the Bill
Over the years, the bill was extended countless times, and it had been taken advantage of by many war veterans, namely those who decided to go back to school, receive training for work, and get an education after returning from war. Millions of veterans have taken part in the program, and millions of dollars have been displaced for these individuals throughout the year, and following several wars, not only WW2.
There were around 2.3 million Americans who used the funding during the Korean War alone, and received financial assistance once they returned home and to their families after the war. During the Vietnam War, around 8 million Americans decided to use the resources, and received the same type of funding for schooling, home purchases, return to civilian life, and other aspects of their life.
G.I. Bill - History
To help veterans from World War II cope with the difficulties of returning to civilian life, Congress passed the “Servicemen’s Readjustment Act” in 1944. Better known as the G.I. Bill, this program offered subsidies for home purchases, business startup costs, hospitalization, and education. Most people expected that it would be used primarily to provide housing for veterans -– President Franklin D. Roosevelt estimated that only a few hundred thousand servicemen would use the laws’ education benefit. However, by the fall of 1946, just one year after the war ended, almost a million veterans were enrolled in college classes across the nation. At the University of Illinois, more than 23,000 students hoped to register. This represented an 80 percent increase in enrollment from the previous year and 8,000 more than the Urbana campus could accommodate. A committee examining student admissions reported:
These facts (the anticipated enrollment at Urbana) describe the most serious situation which has ever been faced by the University of Illinois…. The problem is not temporary…. After the last war the demand for higher education was increased by more than 40 percent. A further increase came after the Great Depression…. This is both an emergency and a permanent problem of supreme importance.
State and U of I officials scoured the region for housing for these new students. They found 75 ready-built houses in Indiana and moved these to Urbana, setting them up in nice, neat rows in a field near campus. The University also agreed to build additional classrooms and residence facilities, including installing dormitories in Memorial Stadium. It quickly became clear, however, that even these efforts would not be sufficient. Lawmakers subsequently offered their solutions to the enrollment crisis. State Senator Everett R. Peters proposed legislation to set up a statewide public junior (community) college system which would offer schooling for freshmen and sophomores near their homes (Senate Bill No. 153, 1945). Others, including then State Senator Richard J. Daley, introduced legislation calling for the creation of a new branch of the University in Chicago (Senate Bill No. 388, 1945). Neither bill passed the General Assembly.
The University decided instead to create two temporary campuses that would provide the first two years of training at Galesburg in western Illinois and in Chicago. The curriculum at these campuses was to be based on Urbana lower division work so these schools would not be junior colleges but rather full branches of the U of I. Students could take required courses at one of these campuses before completing their studies in Urbana. At Galesburg, the University took over the wartime Mayo Hospital complex made up of about 120 red brick buildings connected to one another by more than 1¼ miles of covered corridors. It was described as a “college under one roof.” Enrollment at the campus never reached capacity, however, and it was closed after three years. In Chicago, University officials recommended using the city-owned facilities on Navy Pier.
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35 Cleland, Max. “Gibson‟s Midnight Ride Saves G.I. Bill.” The Rockmart Journal. May 6, 1992
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47 Anderson, David. “The Military and Diplomatic Course of the Vietnam War.” The Oxford Companion to American Military History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.