What Shall We Do with Our Boys? An Impact of the GI Bill on the US Economy
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The GI Bill of Rights (The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944) was a comprehensive program to aid returning veterans in their speedy readjustment to a civilian life. Its role was also to enable the veterans to fit them into the civilian economy. In the first part of the text, the economic and political context of the discussion around the Bill is discussed. The author refers to the popular belief that the end of the war was expected to result in the return of another economic depression. The latter was to be deepened by winding down war production and speeded up by returning servicemen. The text examines how the Bill was to tackle that challenge. The main body of the article is built around the analysis of the provisions of the Act that relate to the benefits for the former soldiers. This includes a mustering-out pay, education benefits, medical care for the disabled in the war, unemployment insurance, an allowance credit and pensions for disabled veterans. The requirements, terms of funding and sum of benefits are presented and discussed. The last part concludes with the general remarks about the significance of the Bill and its contemporary perception in the USA.