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Picture of Pascal Beckert-McGirr
GI Bill Post
by Pascal Beckert-McGirr - Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 06:55 PM

After World War II millions of soldiers returned home from either Europe or Japan. In response to the massive number of returning soldiers now in the United States, congress decided that something needs to be done to help these soldiers get reintegrated into society. They drafted the Serviceman’s Readjustment act or the GI Bill. This bill was used as a way to provide soldiers with a higher education, jobs, or even mortgages. The bill effectively established the middle class in America that we see so clearly today. However this bill did not provide its benefits to everyone. The misinterpretation of the phrase “under conditions other than dishonorable” created many problems in the distribution of benefits. The department of Veterans Affairs created a sort of twilight zone known as the “blue” discharge. This discharge was not seen as an honorable or dishonorable discharge however this blue paper made it impossible for many people to get the benefits or the GI Bill. This blue paper was given to people who were not charged with a crime, but were breaking the rules of the military such as homosexual tendencies. It also gave negative connotations to the soldiers upon returning home. They would have to present their paper at a job interview, or college admission and it often automatically barred them from admittance. This discrimination made it possible for some of the most loyal soldiers--who fought, risking their lives in battles such as Guadalcanal or Normandy--ineligible for the benefits.

However the only problem was not with the blue papers. Millions of African Americans were rejected the benefits of the new bill. This was in part due to the idea that when blacks returned back from service they should go back to their jobs in positions of servitude. However it was also in part that blacks would reject unlivable wages and in turn the VA would be notified and terminate their benefits. This was systemised segregation in the government and the idea that blacks are less deserving of the benefits than whites. The idea of “separate but equal” established during the court case Plessy vs. Ferguson resonated in the GI Bill’s denial of black benefits. The American Legion for example agreed to give positions to blacks only if they were segregated. However it is well known that this concept never works out and the African Americans are always given harsher treatment and in many cases lower wages. Black soldiers serving in the military saw their fighting as a fight not only for a fight against fascism, but also as a fight for their freedom at home. When they arrived back many of the freedoms they hoped to come back to were not there, however this denial of basic reward for fighting for one's country sparked a will in African Americans to be treated equally and fairly and the fight for Civil Rights began.

Picture of LAURA GILL
Re: GI Bill Post
by LAURA GILL - Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 09:30 PM

I agree. T. H. Marshall's idea of social citizenship, defined as a "modicum of econimic welfare and security" is directly violated by the discrimatory manner of the GI Bill, denying social citizenship to many deserving members of society, in this case, black and gay veterans.