MAGIC CARPET -- Get the men home
The goal was to get as many men home in time for Christmas as possible.
The surrender ceremony aboard Missouri in Tokyo Bay was on September 2. On Sept 6 the first task force returned stateside, stopping at Okinawa to pickup some passengers. 8,241 men were returned by the Navy in September and 260,000 were returned by War Shipping Administration.
The War Shipping Administration had recognized the magnitude of the demobilization and started converting Liberty and Victory ships to troop transport before war-end. These were for the return of men from Europe to the U.S. for 30-day leave or for direct transportation of air service units to the Pacific Theater. The Navy swung into action in the Pacific. Not just attack transports and hospital ships, but carriers landed their planes and installed bunks and extra sanitation.
During the month of December 1945, the peak of Operation Magic Carpet, 700,000 were returned from the Pacific Theater by 369 ships. Of these, 370,000 were by the Navy's Magic Carpet. So many men were returned that the rail system was unable to get them all home. By March the activity was dissolved. On the one-year anniversary of the surrender, the navy's demobilization was complete.
The demobilization was so quick that much technological knowledge was lost. The
smooth running logistics of Okinawa were sorely missed when, a few years later in Korea, the congested beaches were reminders of 1943, not 1945.
THE GI BILL
Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944
A look at history shows that periods of war are followed by periods of depression, unemployment and domestic unrest, even by the country of the victor. To reward and ease the plight of the unemployed veteran it has been a practice in the past to grant frontier lands (mostly sold to speculators for cash) or a mustering out bonus of money to tide over the returning soldier. World War II would see a larger percentage of the population shedding their uniforms than ever before. The subject of how to reward their servicemen and avoid mass unemployment was on the minds of legislators. The American Legion is credited with coming up with the main features of the GI Bill and pushing it through Congress.
The GI Bill provided benefits administered by the VA:
- education and training
- loan guaranty for a home, farm, or business
- unemployment pay of $20 a week for up to 52 weeks
One key factor in Congressional acceptance of the education provisions was that it would keep millions of GIs off of the unemployment rolls during the period of mass reorganization from a wartime to a peacetime economy and help ease veterans into civilian life.
In the peak year of 1947, veterans accounted for half of college enrollment. Housing was often in barracks built to house military trainees. Out of a veteran population of 16 million, some 7 million were trained, including:
- 2,230,000 in college
- 3,480,000 in other schools
- 1,400,000 in on-job and apprentice training
The education portion resulted in preparing the interested GI for employment and leadership in the current and future economy of the nation.
The first to graduate from this program were college boys who had quit school to join up ; many were officers. They easily entered the world of business and industry. Their success encouraged the following graduates of engineers, accountants, and educators.
The effect was to turn loose the productive capacity of millions of college trained people. They creating the boom of prosperity and technology for the "Fabulous Fifty's". Exposure to education created an attitude towards higher education as the highway to middle class.
The loan guarantee portion giving support towards ownership of home, farm or business supported the social contract of having a vested interest in society.
This program ended July 25, 1956. The success of the GI Bill has
caused new bills to be created since.
See more at http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/history_timeline/index.html
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