tv History of the 1944 GI Bill CSPAN October 11, 2021 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
incredibly common when there were so many black lives matter protesters that they started adding their signs to the fence at lafayette square but also what are these women doing? they are making a message go viral, this is the equivalent of a tweet. sure it reaches the people standing in front of the white house from lafayette square, but it reaches many more in the picture in the newspaper. that's why it's on really easy to read dark against a background. that's all how it's going to reproduce. ..
>> that is sponsored. you may not think of the v.a. being part of world war ii back at expansion starting in 1944 with the g.i. bill to impact over 12 million servicemembers who are returning home starting in 1945. the biggest question is how with us care for these veterans? course in this question in fdr mind for how he would help reintroduce servicemembers to the workforce later he signed the g.i. bill june 22nd 1944 before housing and had education benefit along with unemployment insurance.
but literally the day after the japanese surrender harry truman would appoint general 19452 days for the 76th anniversary to oversee the veterans administration he would be instrumental in expanding the health and medical access for veterans unto what we know today is the largest integrated healthcare initiative in the united states providing healthcare at over 1200 healthcare facilities 170 v.a. medical centers. now to hear more about the significant improvement we are joined today by historians from the benefit administration. >> hello.
>> hi. >> we are so glad to have you. historian at the veterans benefitsts administration who has the impact of the legacy in the 1944 g.i. bill one of the most important pieces of legislation in us history. the bill provided education and housing benefits to millions of veterans and putting integration consistently in life he puts into into those unprecedented changes and how it revolutionized medical care for veterans and also to reflect on the legacy of the modern era in which was very much alive with the nation's
veterans today so thank you for joining us today. >> it is a pleasure to be with you. i cannot be there with you but at least be present. >> thank you to the world war ii museum for having us. >> absolutely we are excited to talk about something that is so much to a lot of americans and really world war ii helps the story with veterans benefits so before we jump into the questions that i have for you i would like to remind our audience there will be time for questions at the end of the program if you have questions for the panelist please go to the q&a section or on the facebook videos dream this is designed to look at the rapid growth at the end
of world war ii if you have any questions related to eligibility and benefits please contact your local v.a. for the first question, what sort of benefits did the government offer veterans before world war ii. >> by way of a general introduction and historian for the veterans benefits administration one of the three that formed the v.a. and to be in charge of the different benefit programs and these are compensation, pension , veterans readiness and employment that disabled veterans to get job training and placement and insurance and then the two we talk about today are education and loan guarantees. the compensation and pension
programs are the two earliest benefits dating back to the revolutionary war era. compensation was offered to servicemembers who were injured during the war. and it was designed to compensate them for the loss of earning ability. l and then pensions are offered more generally to the american revolution for those who were in need of financial support from the government and the pension program came after the war about 30 years after when the veterans were aging while the compensation program was offered during the war. these are the two for
subsidized insurance members and then to convert that and to offer vocational training. and were disabled and then to return for the workforce to resume productive lives. and they also offered extended medical care through a system of government owned hospitals that were run first by a public health service and then by the veterans bureau in the 1920s and the veterans administration. this is one of the main benefits that were in place during world war ii. world war i veterans it felt like they got a raw deal. in addition to the programs we mentioned we were off on —- they were also given a payment upon discharge like pocket money to help their adjustment. but duringri the war the demand
for labor wages have been high and by comparison they missed out on that. they did not s make merely enough. o and with those benefits with those have not served during the war. so the american legion which is the largest of the veterans organizations that had 800,000 members pushed congress to make and additional payment for veterans. and those that offered them up to $600 depending whether they served overseas or not. that they were given a certificate not reading for another 20 years. and then when the great depression hit many veterans were thrown out of work and allow them to read deemed a certificate immediately and when congress and the president said now about 20000
marched on washington accompanied by 15000 family members to make the case. several thousand remained in the encampment in washington to put pressure on congress. and those that resulted in a few deaths, president hoover decided to send an army to evict these veterans and it was a complete disaster. it burned it down to the ground. that calvary and some tanks. and to disperse. and the memories of that hold fresh in people's minds a when world war ii came around. and then with the mobilization of manpower on a scale never before seen so then they were worried what would happen after the war. was it more social unrest and
high rates of veterans employment and also in germany and russia. so they were very fearful going into the war. >> absolutely. it's fascinating to see the background for the benefits and how they have evolved over the years before world war ii. and they post that question on the medical side. so what are those in what did that look like before world war ii and what with the unique needs of the veterans for what we know today? >> the origin of healthcare for veterans can be traced back to the civil war and 1865 at the establishment for the disabled soldiers for the
first time the nation provided healthcare to its veterans who are not enlisted officers. so these homes were located in rural areas of the country. and they were scattered out there is one and date, one in maine, and the provided medical and holistic care amid the soldiers lived there they had barracks they had hospitals recreational buildings and things like that and it was really meant for lifelong care veterans. they were located in rural areas because they were on the larger tract of land him
plenty of fresh air but also to keep and then away from temptation of alcohol and gambling that can be found in larger cities so those are the origin of veterans healthcare in our country and as you progress that continues as well after world war i you see that model change in some ways and where you seek to return veterans to society as their wounds are treated that he still have that rule component as well so remember this is during that time a lot of respiratory diseases happened and ailments happened so you have that broad spread out
campuses with veterans hospitals on the second world war with those illnesses as well. so by the time like any other skill for history so as they return home from war and half of whom need immediate medical care not just advances of battlefield medicine to treat soldiers on the spot so that they were able to survive ever not survivable before so you have this influx on a level that you have never seen before. so there needed to be a new system for this greater influx veterans. >> i guess i never consider
the fact that medicine evolve so much by world war ii with a different approach. so going back to jeff what did it doo for americans. >> american leaders repeated a large-scale employment and they were worried about them leaving all at once them back into a great depression with tremendous social unrest and then with the executive branch and then to find amazing and
by 1942 roosevelt with the mobilization and looking at service personnel. and with the same fireside chats to muster out to pay out for veterans and unemployment and also some form of educational and then to have to craft their own solutions with 16 million people. also ins american legion as they repot prominent republican it didn't have the g.i. bill.
and the american legion dubbed at the bill of rights for g.i. joe and g.i. jane. and then to drum up support and then molded into the g.i. bill of what we know today. and that is what the bill designed to do to readjust to civilian life. and there's half a billion dollars for construction of hospitals and other facilities for veterans and unemployment compensation and with the employment services and
trainingng at 240 years and those that were receiving that educational program and then the loan guarantee for purchases of homer far more businesses and the government will guarantee 50 percent. and then to make that much more affordable and attainable so those are the components of the g.i. bill. and that is what forms the basis of the major legislation that has impacted so many servicemembers so going back
to katie general omar bradley so what challenges does he face when he takes on a new position was he eager? and then medical so who does he decide to partner with? >> let me back up a little bit have those in need immediate medical care. and what they are facing a v.a. is 100 hospitals spread out across the country mostly rural areas like i was talking about. and then you have a depleted medical workforce.
but then we are there but we are hampered by civil service regulations what they could do and learn so the situation is bad in 1945 so it's clear there needs to be some sort of change for those needing services. what president truman does is call upon omar bradley to take on the situation. and then to take care of. he's hesitant toto take on the job this is the hardest job in washington you can tell he has trepidation's that he served
with and as the administrator on august 15 is installedas just one day removed from the japan days to be is no time to waste. and then he brings on immediately the chief surgeon in the european theater and personally one of my favorite figures of all of this and then has no time to deal with the bureaucracies. to hell the scenery i need to find a hospital. you can tell he needs it now. so then to take that challenge on even though they know it will be difficult. >> funny how some things never change in washington. but going back to the g.i.
bill. so would you label it controversial? and then with public opinion. >> it did encounter some headwinds with theam political landscape it was tricky for fdr. republicans in the midterm elections and with the conservative democrats in the south so blocking any expansion of the new deal. but roosevelt that this was not ane new entitlement program but designed specifically for returning veterans of world war ii. and then with a one-time
special program and with those sacrifices. the one provision of the bill of unemployment benefits. a lot of veterans we choose not to look for a job that live off of the government for a year. so that what is the concern for the southern congressman. and that was concerned for them and it almost derailed the bill at the last minute but they ended up forging ahead and getting it passed and then it came out unanimous in the vote in both houses. and with a widespread public support but also what will
this bill do? that wasn't clear until a several year period with different provisions going into effect. >> you have omar bradley in place. what are those proposals for a change for on the medical side? >> they have three major proposals that they work through first they want to uncouple hiring practices which would allow them to higher ach younger more innovative workforce more quickly. and then when they were only allowed to hire they were
given that were on average over 50 years old. and then to force partnerships at the nation's medical schools to allow the v.a. to take advantage of the teaching capabilities of these institutions while also having more of a medical workforce and then lastly other big proposal was an entire new generation of hospitals i talked before that were more rural and those that really in planning the third generation of the v.a. hospitals they needed ones that was closer to major population centers because that was a barrier and access to care but also the major medical school they are
looking to partner with. so you have a whole new generation of hospitals being built with a large sum of money set aside that is the largest proposed construction project at that time and what that would look like is maven cities now and then what these hospitals look like those are the three main large proposals for handling healthcare for veterans after the second world war. >> thinking about returning home. the g.i. bill has been past. and then how does it make this
trtransition back into civilian life? >> the unemployment benefits did provide a safety net for them. and large numbersaf would use it and then to claim the benefit for under average of 20 weeks. education benefits prior to world war ii attended by americans on the upper middle to the higher economic spectrum and then open the door to higher education with the population and in the and one out of eight returning veterans use the g.i. bill to attend college or graduate school with that tuition payment even the most expensive private schools like harvard.
so the college population surge by 1947 making a 50 percent of the two.3 million people so that is about 1 million more than prewar levels you can see the influx of veterans affected the population and access to higher education. and then for vocational training schools on-the-job training program and many more veterans use those education veterans with half a million for the vocational or technical training another one.4 million for on-the-job training. then you have a better educated workforce or a better trained workforce that pave the way for that to secure
higher-paying jobs that were blue-collar professionals. it helped to underwear right the prosperity for america. and with the economic ladder. in terms of loan guarantee it made home ownership possible for a greater proportion that it was out of reach. so to make it easier to secure mortgages from private lenders. and in 19 fifties sex on —- in 1956 those $13 million had been made and to have a tremendous impact to fuelma the growth of home ownership and to find housing for veterans
and then with the expansion into the suburbs enterprising developers turn to land it was pretty cheap. and then they start to build plant communities outside of the urbaninie areas. and then to build on 8000 acres of farmland and then it was home to 70000 people and such a success that the developer built two more one in pennsylvania and another in new jersey. they are mass-produced and it made home ownership to larger numbers and as maybe you have seen in the news with the accumulation spirit that's
interesting to think about how this bill impacted and it is related to the g.i. bill and education. and withil college graduates. >> these are the coolest stories. and then going back to the medical side looking at the supply of doctors was everyone on board with the plan? and it comes with the public
opinion especially on the medical side. >> pretty much everyone is on board with these changes. they have run into some problems is with the bureaucracy with that civil service doesn't see those changes happen. a dramatic moment onn, new year's eve 1945 where you have this bill which encapsulates all of the changes. and then to put the brakes on it abr little bit. and then to say we will resign if it doesn't come through.
but on january 3rd 1936 president truman does sign the bill into law. and then to cement the changes that they proposed. >> and exciting way to spend christmas eve. and then to talk about the shorter-term benefits. but it is a fair question to ask they all enjoy equal access particularly female service members. really important. today the 60 million americans over 1 million african-americans 300,000 women and then to make full
use of the g.i. bill. those who apply for home loans and then to be permanent and with education benefits but then they expired after seven years and then it just went away. and then they wanted to marry and have children and support their husbands who were program.in education energy take advantage but then there are unintended consequences and with the demand for admission at the colleges made that quote is on
the number of women they would admit so they could accommodate all the male veterans. even women's colleges started to admit male veterans to handle the overflow. so women, relatively fewno educational gains to the male population. there was brave help that there was a great service to them but in practice that was the era of the jim crow south, segregation, separate but equal was the rule and then the majority ofid african-american veterans did reside in the south so they faced all sorts of barriers and obstacles. in terms of education, only a a few thousand in the north and even those often established limits to african-americans they would accept and then
they have no choice but to go to historically black colleges. and as result of the g.i. bill was 74000 through the late forties so that was underfunded and under resourced and then with the expansion and then couldn't keep up with the demand. so many black veterans who did qualify to goingng to college were turned away. black colleges cannot take them all in tens of thousands more were dissuaded from even trying. and then those education benefits and vocational schools many were from one —- were for whites only and then
with the semiskilled training programs. as opposed to whitete veterans. and then the loan guarantee. with a certificate of eligibility but then it's up to a private lender to make the loan in there in the home loan industry african-americans face discrimination throughout the country they have trouble obtaining loans in those communities we just talked about specifically had agreements they would not sell to black homeowners. so the overall result for something that needs more thorough resource but very fewak african-american soldiers ever took advantage of the loan benefitse. i don't know if there is any
hard number. like i have said, the obstacle is more on the underside than the v.a. for those who are aeligible but that requires more research. but the big take away is to be denied to access to homeownership, that is a major source of wealth accumulation for america in the postwar era so african-americans have a huge disadvantage that we still see today with the fair housing act of 1968 african-american families were too far behind they cannot afford the homes that they were now allowed to buy with the equity to be built that so that is one of the legacies that is unfortunate we do live
with today. >> it is an important thing to discuss turning it back to the medical side, as a veteran what does this look like for you? how do hospitals change and with the servicemembers with the v.a. it be interesting to see the other side. >> if you are a veteran and what this means for you once that legislation has passed january 1946 is that you are able to access care more quickly than had any other generation of veterans inti the past. and different varieties of care as well.
after the civil war in world warld i it had taken a while for themha to build a hospital and get the care going but in 1846 you see nearly 5000 doctors and otherer medical personnel being brought on to provide medical care. and then by the end you have over 80 hospitals either through the construction or through transfer. and then you can see greater specialization unlike other before prosthetics of heart, lungs, more specializations care is provided to world war ii veterans and virtually every medical school partner with the v.a. beginning with northwestern university so
that academic link as well athat would link to greater innovation and hospitals as well and also the implementation of called the michigan plan which gives veterans care at their local private hospital as well he december opportunity for care in the post-world war ii period. for women and african-americans, you have the origins of the care of women veterans at the end of the second world war while women had been eligible for medical care before you really start to see it kick off after world war ii with the first female physician higher during that time he startin to see
specialization begin in the post-world warfo ii period. for african-americans after the first world war the african-american hospital had been set up in alabama and the v.a. left that standardization at the local level. a lot of northern hospitals were integrated while hospitals in the south and the west were still segregated and after world war ii you see calls for another segregated hospital and this is strongly opposed by the naacp who word rather see the integration of the entire v.a. hospital network. in this didn't happen until 1954 so that is the status for african-americans at that
time. >> all the armed forces were not. correct? >> so were integrated summer segregated there was not a national policy for that. >> that is fascinating so to close this out what is the long-term legacy of the g.i. bill and how does that apply to veterans? >> the g.i. bill was a terminal bill just to world war ii veterans and all benefits expiring after its was modified after the mid- 19 fifties.
and then it's hard to take it away so when the korean war broke out there wasn't much interest for a g.i. bill that as it intensified and commitment grew there was support to pass a g.i. bill for servicemembers who are serving during the korean war at the g.i. bill and in 1966 during the vietnam war and another g.i. bill passed to those serving the vietnam war era but also going back to 1955. and evenn during the light during the late fifties when you're at one —- the us was not aware with anybody so it
was the original 44 bill to operate similar benefits to veterans of later wars. the g.i. bill they were not as generous as 1944. for instance under the later bills is almost impossible with their own financial resources to do so. for them to pay for their attendance and then after vietnam with us transitions when all volunteer force another one was passed and then it shifted to be a recruitment to join the military not david qualify for the educational benefits. but that benefits were not free and they had to pay into
the system to qualify when they got out. but the early 1970s the loan aspects just became a permanent lifetime benefit for all veterans so that establish that program so there are several more g.i. bills since then the most important is 9/11 which is one of the more generous that not quite on the level of 1944 but it did make it possible for most to go to any public school they wanted where there are expenses paid by the government. so over the lifespan of the different g.i. bills and the loan program the v.a. has dispensed vacation benefits at 25 million people and has
guarantee 25 million loans worth two.$6 trillion so there is a huge impact on successive generations and one of the most popular that the v.a. offers today as one of the signature benefits programs. >> so katie looking at the legacy of a department of surgery which we know is the v.a. medical what it was worth commemorating and for generations veterans. >> soar while you have the origins coming out off the civil war the department of medicine and surgery is the modern-day foundation so many
and that allows them to take off that could care for 9 million veterans. and in addition to that with a voluntary service that comes out all of the volunteers and with the department of medicine and surgery so quite a lot of things came out of that time period. >> and what world war ii might so at this point we will turn it over to the audience for their questions. do you have any questions for jeff or katie place them in
the q&a section or if you're watching facebook lives place ittr as a if you have eligibility or current benefits please contact your local v.a. and what about the roller to medical care. >> so following the civil war but not near large population centers by train or transportation with the post-world war i.
nears some holistic areas the hot springs is the fashion of the time. and then the areas that are populated with hospitals that way. you have seen some political patronage and where they may have gone in a win for a congressman so for the second world war at the population centers to the major medical schools so talk about black
servicemembers give any information to hispanic americans immediately related to the g.i. bill but the v.a. did not track that because hispanics were classified as whites. and then to draw upon. and was opposed to statutory discrimination that they face in the south so it's difficult getting to schools or opinion
with job benefits that returning veterans that return so heroically on —-g. heroically with such an achievement during the war, i think they're able to use the g.i. bill without much hundreds. >> i would go along with what jeff has said on the medical side so but not so much with asian americans or hispanic americans so it can be on a different level. >> andha we encourage in the
previous programs you do have an upcoming webinar looking at post-world war ii. so does it help to pay for family members education? did it pay for family members education? >> . >> that's a good question. so the original g.i. bill was for servicemembers that goldstar widows petition congress to be turned down initially especially with
widows independent family members could use the g.i. bill benefits but that came later in the process and while they were on active duty to use the loan guarantee benefits that came later was seventies and eighties. >> so can you address mental health care in the immediate post-world war ii era but the v.a. medical care existed the entire time. and then and a medical
capacity and then you have these holistic approaches and then just to have the very nature of the structure and those elements in that mental health and those who want that part of society to be in the house at other soldiers who understood what they were going through so after the first world war you have intense shell shock and that type of identified of an issue so that after the end of the second world war mental health is something to be very passionate about so you have psychology and a lot of other mental health programs coming
out to the second world war as well. and that definitely grows of its own professional field within the v.a. at that time. very good question. >> what effortse were made of the benefits available to them? >> since the g.i. bill passed june 1944 it was almost one more before the year in europe and against japan so it gave the v.a. plenty of time to spread the word and printed up all sorts of pamphlets and within the military they are counseling session to foreign servicemembers so great effort was made to get the word out and educate about the new
benefit programs there would be available to them when they got out of the service so again just different ways to inform people or. the military personnel. >> i agree with you. that definitely did help o at the end of the war one year out. katie, are there any resources that you recommend for the v.a. hospital and the programs for world war ii veterans? >> there is a publication called medical care for veterans that ' came out in the seventies or thehe eighties it's very informative but it is a little dry and in-depth but i highly recommend the book the greatest generationn come home
how servicemen readjusted at the end of the second world war and also the memoir itself is a great resources on —- a great resource. >> . >> a book i strongly recommend is the g.i. bill and then to come out to years ago there was a a really good idea to encode incorporate the g.i. bill and the effects of the different segments of veterans if you're interested in the legacy of the g.i. bill and then with the vietnam generation to talk about the shortcomings of the 1966 g.i. bill and my vietnam veterans
felt they were the same as world war ii veterans. >> i thoroughly enjoyed this discussion in the audience did as well. >> thank you for hosting us. >> . >> and continue to stay up-to-date by liking our facebook page and visiting our website thank you for tuning in and we look forward to seeing you guys next time here at the national world war ii museum. >> . . . .