Skip to main content

tv   History of the 1944 GI Bill  CSPAN  October 11, 2021 10:00am-11:01am EDT

10:00 am
suffrage, you can't unsee them. another big one picketing the white house; right? no one had ever done this before 1917. this was the national women's party idea, and so not only is picketing the white house now incredibly common, this is an image from the summer when there were so many black lives matter protesters that they started adding their signs to the fence that the white house had put between the historic town and lafayette square. :: that's all about how it's going to reproduce. >> watch the full program and thousands more at
10:01 am
c-span.org/history. >> hello. my name is maggie hartley and i'm the assistant director of public engagement for the national world war ii museum and thank you for joining us for two nights webinar from soldiers to civilians reflections on how the v.a. assisted veterans returning home from world war ii. this program is part of her 75th 75th anniversary of the end of world war ii commemoration that is sponsored by the department. you may not think of the be as being a part of the end of world war ii. however, its rapid expansion started in 1944 with the g.i. bill would impact over 12 million servicemembers who would be returning home starting in 1945. the biggest question would be how would the u.s. care for these veterans? of course this question was forefront in fdr's mind starting in 1943-1944 for how he would
10:02 am
help me to his servicemembers to the workforce. support housing and education benefits along with unemployment insurance. immediately following the end of the war literally the day after the japanese surrendered, president harry truman would appoint general bradley on august 15, 1945, just two days before the 76 anniversary of that to oversee the veterans administration. he would be in the menstrual -- instrumental for veterans in his tenure to what we know today as the largest integrated healthcare in the united states providing carried over 1200 healthcare facilities with 170 v.a. medical centers and over 1000 outpatient sites of care. to share more about this significant improvement to veterans care and benefits immediately following world war
10:03 am
ii we are joined today by historians from the veterans benefits and health administration. >> hello. perfect. we're so glad to have you guys. we have dr. jeffrey seiken. the historian at the veterans benefits administration who will discuss the origins, impact and legacy of the 1944 g.i. bill one of the most important pieces of social legislation in u.s. history. it provided -- back into civilian life and we also have katie dallas in surrey who is the a story for the veterans health administration will provide insights into the unprecedented changes that the v.a. made after the war and how
10:04 am
it provided medical care for veterans. she will reflect on the entering legacy of the 75th anniversary of the modern era of the medicine and the programs that were initiated during this time, many of which remain very much alive and present in the care of our nation's veterans today. so thank you for joining us today, katie and jeff. >> yes. it's a pleasure to be with you tonight. i can't say be there with you tonight but at least the present. >> yes. thank you maggie and thank you to the world war ii museum for having us. >> absolutely. were very excited to be able to talk about something that means so much to a lot of americans, and really world war ii helped him what we know today with veterans benefits. before we jump into the questions that i have for you all today i would like to remind our audience that the will be time for questions and answers at the end of this program so if you have any questions for panelists put too many q&a
10:05 am
session on zoom or as a comet on the facebook video stream. i also do want remind our audience that this program is designed to look at the rapid growth and impact of veterans at the end of world war ii. if you have any questions related to your eligibility and benefits, please ask your local v.a. so for the first question going to talk to you, jeff. what sort of benefits did the government offer veterans in war seeking before world war ii? >> kind by way of a general introduction as maggie said i'm just going for the veterans benefits administration. that's one of three administrations that form the v.a. and the vba is in charge of the different benefits programs, given to veterans, and these are compensation, pension, veterans readiness employment which is offered to disabled veterans come help them get job training
10:06 am
and placement, insurance. and then the two will be talk about today is education and loan guarantees. the compensation and pension programs are the two earliest benefits that would offer to veterans and those they back to the revolutionary war era and compensation was offered the servicemembers who were injured during the war and it was designed to compensate them for their loss of earning ability. and then pensions were offered more generally to anyone who served during the american revolution who was in need of financial support from the government. the pension program came after the war, like about 30 or so years after the war in the veterans were aging. while the compensation program was offered during the war. those with the two oldest programs and remain the main benefit programs the government
10:07 am
offer to veterans really through the 19th century. world war i it didn't introduce -- and introduce several new benefit programs. the first time government offered subsidized insurance to servicemembers in case of death or permanent disability. after the war there given the opportunity of converting that to like term insurance. they offered vocational training and education for veterans who e disabled during the war and helped train and something to turn and resume productive lives. they offered extended medical care through a system of government owned hospitals that were run first by the public health services and then by the veterans bureau in the 1920s and later by the veterans administration. those with main benefits that were in place at the time of world war ii. now, world war i veterans it felt like the kind of got a raw
10:08 am
deal. in addition to the programs i mention they were also given $60 like a mustering out payment upon discharge like pocket money to help them make adjustment but during the war the demand for labor, wages have been really high and soldiers by comparison missed out on that. they didn't make nearly enough and so they felt like they didn't get the same benefits as those who did not actually have to serve during the war. the american legion which is one of the largest of the veterans organizations formed back in war and had like 800,000 members really pushed congress to make an additional payment for veterans. in the '20s a bonus bill was passed that offer them up to $600 depending on whether they served overseas or not but there's a catch. there were just given a certificate that could not be redeemed for another 20 years in 1945. when the great depression hit and many veterans were thrown out of work they did press
10:09 am
congress and the government to allow them to redeem the certificates immediately. when congress said no, about 20,000 veterans in 1932 marched on washington accompanied by about 15,000 family members to make their case. when there are still rebuffed several thousand remained, they set up an encampment in washington on the banks of the river to put pressure on congress. after, there's a clash between some veterans and others that resulted in a few deaths, president hoover decided to send in the army to evict of these veterans and it was a complete disaster. the encampment burned down to the grant and the army was using tear gas and a few tanks just to disperse the veterans so is a huge calamity. memories of that are very fresh in people's minds when world war ii came around and they really, there was a mobilization of
10:10 am
manpower on a scale that was never before seen as a people very worried about what is going to happen after the war, with there be more kinds of social unrest and high rates of veteran unemployment? they had also seen in germany and russia were disgruntled veterans had helped topple the government so they were fearful of that going into the war. >> fascinating to see the background for the benefits and how they evolved, they posed the question, what are the origins of veterans healthcare, what happened before world war ii and the what was the unique needs of world war ii veterans that helped inspire of what we know
10:11 am
today? >> origins of healthcare can be traced to the end of the civil war with the establishment of the home for volunteer soldiers, first time the nation provided health care to its veterans were not enlisted offices but regular volunteer soldiers of the time. these homes were located in rural areas of the country and were scattered out. there was one in milwaukee, one in dayton and provided medical and holistic care to the nations veterans, that meant soldiers lived there, had parade grounds, recreational
10:12 am
buildings, this was lifelong care of veterans located in rural areas because they were all in areas that were cheap and had plenty of fresh air but were also meant to keep men away from temptation, alcohol and gambling found in larger cities, those are the origins of veterans healthcare and as you progress, it continues as well so after world war i you see that model change in some ways, you don't have that lifelong care aspect, a more rehabilitative model where you return veterans to society after their wounds are treated but you have that rural component as well.
10:13 am
this is during the time of 2 burke yellow sis, respiratory diseases, ailments happened with world war i, you have broad spread out campuses, the second generation known after the second world war dealing with that as well so by the time world war ii comes around, 16 million veterans returning home from this war half 1 million needing medical care and not just due to advances in battlefield medicine being able to treat soldiers on the spot, soldiers were able to survive what was not survivable before so you have an influx on a
10:14 am
level you have never seen before. there needed to be a new system to handle the greater influx. >> i never considered that medicine involved so much but it did require a different approach to how we cared for vets. looking at benefits why did american leaders decide the g.i. bill was necessary, who authored it and what did it do for americans? >> american leaders were fearful of the large-scale employment they saw. they saw so many servicemembers driving up unemployment rates and they were also worried about tremendous social unrest
10:15 am
and chaos on the street so to prevent it happening planning in the executive branch, began in 1940 which was amazing and by 1942 roosevelt was informed the mobilization planning committee to study the problem informed a postwar educational opportunity for service personnel and presented his own vision for the same fireside chat in 1943 when he said you want pay for veterans, unemployment benefits for veterans and an educational system. leaders in both political parties and the main veterans organization like the american legion were beginning to craft their own solutions how do you handle 60 million people so the
10:16 am
american legion, one of the members of the committee, a world war ii veteran and lawyer and prominent republican drafted a sketch of the g.i. bill with hotel stationary and initially a member of the american legion dubbed it bill of rights for g.i. joe and g.i. jane which was written to bill of rights and the american legion got the publicity core, the bill was presented to roosevelt introduced to congress and eventually it was molded into the g.i. bill we know today. the official name was serviceman readjustment act. it was designed to readjust to civilian life and there were four main provisions to the bill, half $1 million for hospitals and other facilities
10:17 am
which katie delacenserie can talk about and they receive $20 a week for 52 weeks and the services of the us employment service for job placement and they are provided with education and training up to four years, and a monthly stipend to veterans receiving educational program and provided loan guarantee for purchases of home, farm, or businesses with 50% of the loan and very good rates so made homeownership more affordable for a big swath of returning veterans. >> what are the main components of the g.i. bill? >> fascinating to hear the
10:18 am
region, something that started, what forms the basis of major legislation that impacted so many service members. back to katie looking at august of 1945, general omar bradley at the va, what challenges when he takes on the new position, was he eager to go to administration and particularly medical, who does he partner with to make it happen? >> half 1 million need medical care and 16 million coming out of world war ii and what they are facing at va is 100
10:19 am
hospitals spread out across the country and mostly rural areas like i was talking about and a depleted medical workforce because the war had a lot of doctors from the va who had gone on to the war and were there and we were hampered by civil service regulations and what they were able to learn so the situation is bad in 1945 at the press dubbed it the backwaters of medicine. it was clear there needed to be some sort of change in this onslaught of veterans coming back needing health care and services so what president truman does is call upon general omar bradley to take on the situation sending them into battle, and a little hesitant
10:20 am
to take on the job, the job that fdr called the hardest job in washington so you can tell there were trepidations about it but such loyalty that he served with. he was installing fda administrator august 15th and that is one day remove from victory over japan day so he has no time to waste taking this role on so doctor paul holly was chief surgeon european theater and one of my favorite figures in all this, very blunt medical administrator, no time to deal with the washington bureaucracy, to hell with scenery, you can tell he needs it now. another va physician starts to
10:21 am
take the challenge on even though they know it will be a difficult one. >> funny how some things never change in washington. back to the g.i. bill, any trouble going through congress and would you label it controversial particularly with congress's approval and even american public opinion? >> it did encounter some head winds, the critical landscape of congress during the war, republicans, in the 1942 midterm elections next common cause with the group of conservative democrats in the house, blocking any extension of the new deal but roosevelt and the backers threaded the needle by presenting this as a
10:22 am
new entitlement program, returning veterans from world war ii, have to use these benefits for a second time and they expire and it is a 1-time special program to help millions of returning veterans and a report for their services and sacrifices the the funny part is the one provision of the bill that is largely forgotten today proved the most controversial aspect. a lot of veterans choose not to look for a job, but live off the government for a year and that was a concern of the southern congressman with a large number of african-american veterans and their states, and that was the concern for them and almost derailed the bill at the last
10:23 am
minute, it is in both houses garnering public support, what was the bill going to do over a several year period where they went into effect. >> going back, you find general omar bradley in place. what are the proposals for change to go to taking the helm on the medical side at the va? >> they have three major proposals they worked through in fall of 1945, they uncouple hiring practices from the civil service system which allow them to hire younger more innovative
10:24 am
workforce more in touch with current medical practices. before, when they were only allowed to hire within the cell service system, they were on average over 60 years old so they want to uncouple that. they force partnerships with the nation's medical school, this would allow va to take advantage of research and teaching capabilities of these institution and gaining a medical workforce that could assist veteran patients and other big proposal was planning an entire new generation of hospitals. i talk about civil war hospitals that were more rural than the ones following the first world war and planning the third generation of hospitals they needed ones that
10:25 am
were closer to major population centers because there was a barrier and access to care so they need them closer to major towns but also major medical schools they are looking to partner with so this generation of hospitals being built, the money that was set aside to build this hospital program would be the largest proposed construction project in american history and what those would look like would be larger and more skyscraper style buildings and i urge everybody to do research on their own to see what they look like from each generation but those are the large proposals for handling veterans after the second world war.
10:26 am
>> absolutely. thinking about the return home the g.i. bill is passed so what are the short-term effects of the g.i. bill and how did it help veterans transition into civilian life? >> unemployment benefits provided a safety net for the man's large numbers would use it so they would avoid looking for work and only 60% ended up claiming the benefit using it for 20 weeks so that was very successful. education benefits prior to world war ii college is attended by americans on the upper, middle to hire end economic spectrum in the g.i. bill changed opening the door to higher education for broader swaths of the population and at the end one in 8 returning
10:27 am
veterans used the g.i. bill to attend college or graduate will sufficient afford the tuition, the most expensive private schools like harvard and the college population surged, veterans made up the people enrolled in colleges, universities and the numbers, 2.3 million number is more than prewar levels, they increased access to higher education. veterans can use these benefits, college education or vocational training schools for on the job training programs and many war veterans used those education benefits, 3 million use it to obtain
10:28 am
vocational or technical training, 1.4 million use it to receive various on-the-job training. the net result is better educated workforce, more highly skilled and paved the way for white collar or blue collar professionals to help underwrite the prosperity of postwar america as a real engine of social mobility and climbing the economic ladder. in terms of loan guarantees, homeownership is possible for a greater proportion of americans before it was out of reach. the va, guaranteed the loan with private members and 1956,
10:29 am
$33 billion have been made, tremendous impact fueled the growth of homeownership. there is a housing shortage before the war and during the war, enterprising developers turned to land outside the cities, they start building planned communities outside urban areas, one of the first and most famous was levittown new york, built on 4000 acres of farmland in long island and the community was owned by 70,000 people and a developer for levittown, two more from pennsylvania and another in new
10:30 am
jersey, made it homeownership available to large numbers and as you have seen in the news, critical to the growth of the middle class in the united states. >> interesting to think about how this bill impacted what we know as housing today. one of the things related to the g.i. bill is oral history is college graduates, to learn how to fly a plane, the coolest stories i heard from that. not only additional training but new psychologys as well. going to the medical side,
10:31 am
locations and how to increase supply of doctors, how i had asked what was american public opinion with va on the medical side. >> most everybody on board with these changes, the press loved support in the media. in addition to all of that they run into problems with that bureaucracy, doesn't quite want to see those changes happen, there's a dramatic moment on new year's eve in 1945, the department of medicine surgery bill with those changes making its way through in civil service hit the brakes on it a
10:32 am
little bit. on new year's eve saying, if this doesn't come through. in 1946 president truman doesn't sign the bill into law formally creating department of medicine and those changes that they proposed. >> an exciting way to spend christmas in. looking back to the g.i. bill we talked about the short-term benefit of the g.i. bill but a fair question to ask all service members enjoy equal access to these benefits particularly female service members. ..
10:33 am
>> you know, certain barriers to making full use of the g.i. bill, for instance, some female veterans will apply for home loans, they only take into consideration if they're married their husband's income because they're considered that they're not necessarily going to be permanent. in terms of using education benefit, they have to be used within just a few years of discharge, and they expired after about, like, you know, seven years. the benefit just, just kind of went away. so for women, you know, many of them after they got out of the service, they wanted to marry, they wanted to have children and maybe to support their husbands who were obtaining, you know, enrolled in an education program, so they didn't necessary hi have the opportunity right then to take care of those education benefits. and if they didn't, they disappeared. and there's also some unintended
10:34 am
consequences. because of the huge demand for admission into colleges, some colleges started to establish quotas on the number of women they would admit just so they could be able to accommodate all the male veterans. even some women's colleges started to admit male veterans to kind of handle some of the overflow. so the net result is, you know, women, you know, received relatively few educational gains compared to, you know, the male population. and, of course, african-americans, yeah, there was great hope that this would be, you know, a great service to them, but in practice, you know, this was the era of, you know, the jim crow south, you know, segregation, separate but equal was kind of the rule of the land, and the majority of african-american veterans did reside in the south. and they faced all sorts of barriers and obstacles.
10:35 am
in terms of education, you know, only a few thousand actually end rolled in colleges in the north, and even those colleges in the north often established quotas or limits to the number of african-americans they would accept. and then in the south they were barred completely from most white institutions, so they had no choice but to go to historically black colleges. and the enrollment to them bid soar as a result of the g.i. bill, went from 30,000 to 74,000 by the late 1940s, but those schools were underfunded, they had a shortage of trained faculty. and even with, you know, the expansion of the numbers, they still didn't have enough to keep up with the demand. so many black veterans who did qualify who were able to go on to college were just turned away because there just wasn't, the black colleges were not able to take them all. and probably tens of thousands more probably just dissuaded from even trying. and then in terms of the other
10:36 am
types of education benefits, you know, on the job training programs, vocational schools, again, many were for whites only, they were often shunned into semi-skilled training programs, lower skilled training programs as opposed to white veterans. and then loan guarantee, you know, as i said, the v.a. didn't actually loan the money. instead they issued what was called a certificate of eligibility. but then it was up to the veteran to find a private lender to make the loan, and, you know, there in the home loan industry african-americans just faced systematic discrimination throughout the country. they had trouble obtaining loans, many of those housing communities i just talked about, those big planned communities, they specifically had agreements that they would not sell to black homeowners. so this is something that needs
10:37 am
more thorough research, but very, very few african-american soldiers were able to take advantage of the loan benefits to purchase a home. i don't know if there's i any hard number that i've seen, and like i said, and i think, i think the -- more of the lender side than considering them eligible for a loan. but again, that subject, i think, requires more research. but the big takeaway is that by being denied access to home ownership, sass i said a few -- as i said, that was a major source of accumulation for americans. so african-americans had a huge disadvantage that we still see the effects today. and even with the fair housing act of 1968 that prohibited a lot of those practices, african-american families were kind of too far behind to kind of catch up. they couldn't afford homes that they now were allowed to buy
10:38 am
because they didn't have the equity built up, you know, to make the down payment to acquire homes. and like i said, so that's one of the legacies that we -- unfortunate legacies that we do live with today. >> i think it's important to discuss these benefits, and i guess kind of turning it back to the medical side, you know, as a veteran, what does this change in medical care looks like for you? how did hospitals change, and what did they look like during the postwar period? and i guess if you're able to kind of talk as well the experience of black and female service members with the v.a., i think it'd be very interesting to kind of see the other side. >> absolutely. so if you're a veteran, what this means for you once that legislation has passed in january of 1946 and once the department of -- has been established in the v.a., you're
10:39 am
able to access care more quickly than had any other generation of veterans in the past. and different varieties of care as well. after the civil war and after world war i, it had sort of taken a while for them to kind of build hospitals and kind of get that care going, but in 1946 when you have passage of that, you see nearly 5,000 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel being brought on to v.a. to provide clinical care to veterans. and by the end of the decade, you have over 80 hospitals added to the v.a. roster either through construction or through transfer. and within those hospitals, you get to see greater special unlike -- specialization unlike ever before with paraplegia, hearts, lucks, lots -- lungs, lots more specialty of care are
10:40 am
being provided to world war ii veterans. and you see virtually every medical school start to partner with the v.a. beginning with hines hospital in northwestern university. you begin to see that academic link as well which leads to greater research and greater innovation within those hospitals as well. and you also have implementation of something called the michigan plan if or the hometown plan which has allowed veterans to seek care and provide, get veteran care at their local private hospital as well. so you just have more opportunities in the post-world war ii period. for women and for african-americans, you have the origins of care for women veterans at v.a. starting at the end of the second world war. while women had been eligible for medical care before, you
10:41 am
really start to see it kick off after world war ii with the first ten female physicians hired during that time. so you really start to see a lot of specializations kind of begin in the origins of that in the post-world war ii period. for african-americans after the first world war, a exclusively african-american hospital has been set up in tuskegee, alabama, and the v.a. left the issue of segregation at the local level. so a lot of northern hospitals were integrated while a lot of hospitals in the south and the west were still segregated. and after world war ii, you see calls for another session regated hospital -- segregated hospital to be built, and this is strongly opposed by the naacp who would oversee the integration of the entire v.a. hospital network and something
10:42 am
that, unfortunately, doesn't happen until 1954. so that's sort of the status for african-americans at that time. >> that's something to hear that hospitals were integrated, v.a. medical hospitals were integrated while the armed forces were not, correct? >> so they were -- some were integrated and some were segregated because they left it at that local control. there was not a national policy for that. while some were integrated in the north, a lot in the south were not integrated. and they were fully integrated as a whole system in 1954. >> that's fascinating. so i guess to kind of close this out, jeff, my question for you is what's the long-term legacy of the g.i. bill, and how does it apply to veterans of later conflicts as well? >> right, right. well, as i said, you know, the g.i. bill was a terminal bill
10:43 am
that applied just to world war ii veterans, and its benefits expired -- it was modified a little bit, but about the mid 1950s. but, like, any kind of entitlement program once you offer it to someone, it's hard to kind of take it away. so when the korean war broke out, initially there wasn't much interest in having a g.i. bill for korean war veterans, but as the commitment grew, there was intent in congress to pass the g.i. bill, so a bill was passed in 1952 the called, it was basically the korean conflict g.i. bill. and then in 1966 during the vietnam war, another g.i. bill is passed that's not only applied to veterans, you know, serving during the vietnam war era, but also going back to 195 a 5, the end of the korean war
10:44 am
era. so for the first time, the being offered to veterans who served even during a time of the late '50s even when the u.s. was not at war with anybody. you have this precedent of offering similar benefits to veterans of later wars. and the '52 and '66 g.i. bills, the benefits were not as generous as the 1944 g.i. bill. for instance, under these later bills it was almost impossible for most veterans to afford a private school unless they a had their own financial resources to do so. the bill themselves would not pay for their attendance. and then after vietnam when the u.s. transitioned to an all-volunteer force, another g.i. bill was passed in 1976 designed for, you know, veterans of the all-volunteer force. and the focus of the bill shifted from being, like, helping veterans to reintegrate into society to being kind of a recruitment in a sense, to get people to join the military.
10:45 am
knowing that they would qualify for these educational benefits. and for the first time though, these benefits were not free. service members had to actually pay into the system to kind of qualify for the benefits when they got out. it was in the early 1970s also9 that the loan aspect were kind of detached from the g.i. bill itself in terms of permanent lifetime benefits for all veterans. so that really established that program. so kind of, you know, there's been several more g.i. bills passed since then, one of the most recent was the 9/11 g.i. bill which is one of the more generous g.i. bills that, again, while not quite on the level of the 1944 bill, it does give veterans the possibility to go to any public institution. so overall, over the life of all
10:46 am
these g.i. bills and the loan guarantee program, i think the v.a. has spent some $400 billion in education benefits and 25 million people and has guaranteed 25 million loans worth $2.6 trillion. so, again, you know, the g.i. bill's just had a huge impact on successive generations of veterans and is really kind of one of the most, you know, popular benefits that v.a. offers today, and it's it's one of the, you know, signature benefits programs. >> absolutely. and, katie, kind of throwing it back to you looking at the long-term effects, the legacy as the d. of medicine and surgery -- department of medicine and surgery which we know as the v.a. medical system, how has it impacted care for successive generations of veterans? >> so, so while you have the origins hofstra medical care coming out of the civil war,
10:47 am
really the department of medicine and surgery is the modern foundation for the v.a. health care system that we know today. so many programs and policies can be traced to the post-world war ii period -- [inaudible] from that first academic affiliation, you know, like i was saying nearly every medical school now is affiliated with a v.a. hospital. and so you have 70% of all doctors being trained in some form from v.a. so not only has that impacted the care veterans have received, but it's also, you know, chances are that a doctor or another medical personnel that you have encountered in your life has been v.a.-trained as well. and funds and research and innovation from those academic partnerships, we've seen so many
10:48 am
innovations that have helped not only veterans, but the entire world as well. the ct scan, the cardiac pacemaker, the cigarette smoking patch, several nobel prielzs have come out of that. so really it's laid the foundation that allowed all of these things to kind of take off. and it's allowed -- [inaudible] care for 9 million veterans which is what v.a. cares for today. in addition to that, you have the v.a. voluntary service which comes out of that, all of the volunteers in the hospital system. that's another legacy. the department of medicine and surgery act. so just quite a lot of things that came out of that time period that are a hallmark hofstra care today. of v.a. care today. >> that is so interesting. how much world war ii shaped what we know today as veterans
10:49 am
benefit, veteran health care. so at point we are going to turn it over to our audience for their questions. so if you have any questions for jeff or katie, please place them either within the q&a section on zoom, or if you're watching through facebook live, place them as a comment within the video stream. and just as a reminder, if you have questions related to your eligibility or current benefits, please contact your local v.a. the first question i have is specifically for you with, katie. what was the criteria for v.a. hospital sites outside of just rural versus urban especially looking at the post-world war ii medical care? >> that's a really good question. so in following the civil war, a lot of those were just placed near -- not near large population centers, but in rural areas that could be sort of accessed by train or other sort
10:50 am
of transportation as well. and then in the post-world war i period you have kind of hospitals placed sort of near some, you know, holistic areas geographically as well, near hot springs. that was kind of like the fashion of the time. you have areas of the country kind of populated with hospitals that way. but you also sort of see some political patronage happening there with hospitals. some congressional interference of where a hospital's going to go that might not have been the most accessible for veterans, but, you know, a win for a congressman. so that kind of changes then after the second world war where there's really, you know, an emphasis on the larger population centers and near those major medical schools that
10:51 am
you see in ann arbor, you see hospitals kind of follow where the medical schools are, things like that. >> definitely. so a question for both of you guys. we talked a little bit about the experience of black service members and female service members related to these benefits and medical care. do you guys have any information -- [inaudible] or asian-americans and whether or not they faced discrimination immediately after the war related to the g.i. bill and to v.a. medical care? >> yeah, that's a good question. in terms of hispanics, you know, the v.a. didn't really track that because hispanics were classified as whites, so i don't know if there's any statistics that you could draw upon. you know, i feel, you know, it's more likely they faced kind of informal types of discrimination versus opposed to kind of
10:52 am
statutory discrimination that african-americans face in the south. faced in the south. so it was more like being difficult to get into schools or being dissuaded from applying to some schools or obtaining jobs benefits. in terms of asians, i don't think they did, you know, because you have the interment of japanese-americans during the war, but after that i think returning veterans who, you know, performed so heroically and had such an amazing record of achievement during the war, i think they were able to use the g.i. bill without much of any, you know, hindrance. >> yeah. and i would go along with what jeff had said too on the medical side. i think on the more statutory side you had discrimination against african-americans, but not so much with asian-americans or hispanic-americans. it might have been on a different level, on a little bit
10:53 am
more subtle level, but not quite on the level of african-americans being discriminated against. >> absolutely. and i guess just to piggyback off of that, to encourage our audience members to tune into future programming and to go back to some of our previous programs, we recently covered the experience of asian-americans prolifically this past spring, and we do have an upcoming webinar looking at the experience of mexican-americans in post-world war ii coming up in september. now, for the next question, does the g.i. bill help pay for family members' education? i guess to rephrase that, did it pay for family members' education during world war ii, or is it exclusively for these -- >> yeah. yeah, that's a good question. the original g.i. bill was exclusively for service members
10:54 am
and, in fact, gold star widows wanted to draw on some of the g.i. bill benefits, and they were turned down initially. eventually, the law was changed so that widows and dependent family members could use the g.i. bill benefits, but that came later on in the process. and the laws were also changed to allow, actually, service members while on active duty to use the loan guarantee benefits and the education benefits. but that came later on in the '70s and '80s. >> absolutely. so, katie, can you address mental health care in the immediate post-world war ii era? was there any lessening of -- related to mental health, or was it just not really addressed at that point? >> absolutely, that's a great question. so again, that kind of mental health is an issue that kind of evolved from the civil war onwards in terms hofstra medical
10:55 am
care, and it's something that existed, you know, the entire time that there has been war. but it's only been kind of more recently that it's been addressed in a medical capacity. so you had some of these holistic approaches following the end of the civil war, and you had just the very nature of the structures were sort of a, you know, element to addressing kind of some of that mental health. those veterans who didn't really want to be a part of society could be in one of these homes with other soldiers who kind of understood what they were going through and kind of went through that together. and then, you know, after the end of the first world war you had what was termed shell shock, and you had at least sort of that kind of identified as more of an issue. and so then after the end of the second world war, mental health is something that --
10:56 am
[inaudible] is very passionate about. so you have psychology and a lot of other mental health programs coming out of the second world war as well. and that definitely is not as stigmatized anymore, and it definitely grows as its own sort of profession and field within v.a. at that time. yeah, very good question. >> definitely. so, jeff, this one's for you. what efforts were made with world war ii veterans of the benefits available to them? >> yeah. well, since the g.i. bill passed in june of 1944 that was a good, you know, almost year before the war in europe ended and, you know, the war against japan continued until -- it gave v.a. just plenty of time to spread the word about the men if fits. so i think printed up all sorts of pamphlets distributed to service members within the military, kind of, like,
10:57 am
counseling sessions to inform service members of the different benefits programs. great effort was made to kind of get the word out and to educate military personnel about these new benefit programs that'd be available to them when they got out of the service. they also printed out promotional materials, posters that they plastered all over the walls. so, again, different ways to, again, to influence people, to inform the military personnel. >> absolutely. and i agree with you, that definitely did help with the end of the war about a year out. so, katie, are there any resources or publications you can recommend for folks to learn more about the v.a. hospitals and the programs that were developed for world war ii veterans? >> absolutely. so there's a great congressional publication called medical care for veterans that came out in i believe the '70s or the '80s. it's a very informative source,
10:58 am
but it's a little dry. it's a little bit more in depth, but i highly recommend dr. michael gam bone's book, "the greatest generation comes home," all about how service -- [inaudible] after the end of the second world war. and also more broadly arc itself is a great resource. i highly recommend. >> so, jeff, do you have any resources or recommendations? >> yeah. yeah, you know, a book i strongly recommend is probably g.i. deal and new deal for veterans, it came out a few years ago and just a really good idea of scholarships on the g.i. bill and various ways it was implemented and its effects on different segments of veterans. and then if you're with interested in learning more about maybe the legacy of the g.i. bill, there's a good book -- let me just pull it,
10:59 am
called -- [inaudible] by mark if bolton and talks about some of the shortcomings of the 1966 g.i. bill and why vietnam veterans weren't able to get the same due as the world war ii era veterans. >> absolutely. well, thank you, katie and jeff, for joining >> absolutely. well, thank you, katie and jeff for joining us today. i thoroughly enjoyed this discussion and i believe that our audience did as well. >> all right. well again, it was aer pleasureo be here. thank you for hosting us. >> absolutely. >> thanks very much. >> if you enjoyed today's program, continue to stay up-to-date withom upcoming programs and the national world war ii museum by liking our facebook page and visitingti her website. as always we thank you for tuning in and we look forward to seeing you guys next time here at the national world war ii museum. >> c-span is your unfiltered
11:00 am
view of government. we are funded by these television companies and more including charter communications. >> broadband is a force for empowerment. that's why charter has invested billions building infrastructure, upgrade and technology, empowering opportunity in communities big and small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communications supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers giving you a front row seat to democracy. .. >> later, historians discuss the impact of the 1944, g.i. bill, which allocated money to world war ii veterans for

37 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on