Three months later, on October 27, 1943, Roosevelt turned his idea into a concrete proposal, formally asking Congress to enact legislation that would finance one year of educational or vocational training for all who served in World War II. Those deemed to have academic potential would be eligible for support for four years. “For many, what they desire most in the way of employment will require special training and further education,” wrote Roosevelt. “As a part of a general program for the benefit of the members of our armed services, I believe that the Nation is morally obligated to provide this training and education and the necessary financial assistance by which they can be secured.”

Roosevelt envisioned long-term benefits for the country. “The money invested in this training and schooling program will reap rich dividends in higher productivity, more intelligent leadership, and greater human happiness. We must replenish our supply of persons qualified to discharge the heavy responsibilities of the postwar world. We have taught our youth how to wage war; we must also teach them how to live useful and happy lives in freedom, justice, and decency.”

Meredith Hindley, in Humanities, on how the G.I. Bill was born, and how it initially faced opposition from some veterans groups.

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Photo: FDR Library