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Forgotten Men and Fallen WomenThe Cultural Politics of New Deal Narratives$
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Holly Allen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453571

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453571.001.0001

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Stories of Homecoming

Stories of Homecoming

Deserving GIs and Faithless Service Wives

Chapter:
(p.203) Stories of Homecoming
Source:
Forgotten Men and Fallen Women
Author(s):

Holly Allen

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801453571.003.0008

This book concludes with a discussion of issues relating to the soldier's homecoming after World War II, with particular emphasis on the stark contrast between deserving veterans and undeserving, faithless wives. The 1944 Serviceman's Readjustment Act, or GI Bill, both expanded the scope of national government in providing for its veterans and promoted a masculine model of civic community. Emergent state policies were joined to residual race and gender concepts, just as they had been in early New Deal programs that purported to restore dignity to the forgotten man. This book considers how participation in civilian defense altered Americans' civic consciousness during the war, the change in Americans' outlook on federal welfare policy after the war, and racial discrimination in the GI Bill. It also discusses the GI Bill as the first federal social policy explicitly to define social citizenship in heterosexual terms and concludes by analyzing the tendency to blame service wives for their soldier-husbands' postwar difficulties.

Keywords:   homecoming, World War II, veterans, faithless wives, Serviceman's Readjustment Act, GI Bill, civilian defense, federal welfare, racial discrimination, social citizenship

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