The early 1940’s were a serious time for the United States, and the world as a whole. World War II saw a colossal war effort, leaving little time for social gatherings and culture to develop. The war effort did, however, reap huge monetary benefits and successfully boosted the American economy. As the war came to a close and the troops returned, Americans faced a new sense of freedom and were able to spend more time in social settings. The G.I. Bill, in particular, sent a huge number of the returning veterans to college, giving the vets the perfect setting to consume alcohol. “Returning vets were more likely to drink, curse and have sex than earlier generations of college students.” (Huffington Post) These celebrating veterans of World War II were put in the perfect place by the G.I. Bill to build a solid social setting and sense of inclusion. The Veterans were able to attend Universities where they may not had been able to before the war, and “weren’t about to let the traditional social dynamics of campus life regulate their activities completely.” (Huffington Post) These veterans were pivotal in developing a nuanced drinking culture in colleges across the nation. (UNC Blogs)
This image shows some students at UNC in the late 1940’s gathered around a keg at a social gathering, which shows the growing drinking culture of the time. Another observation that can be made from this photo is the lack of diversity in the group. While the G.I. Bill sought to help all veterans in their post war ventures, minority groups soldiers were often not given the same types of aid as the white men. The minorities were discriminated against and were not able to gain college tuition and other things that the white students gained. This contributed to a further split of blacks and whites, as the veterans who were at school were primarily celebrating and drinking with other white students and veterans exclusively. The G.I. Bill successfully sent a large number of veterans to college, where the drinking culture could grow, but this bill also lead to a further split between racial groups in a social setting.
Kingkade, Tyler. “This Is What College Parties Looked Like Back In The Day.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 13 Aug. 2013. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/13/college-parties-through-the-years_n_3488097.html>.
Hull, Elizabeth. “A View to Hugh.” A View to Hugh. N.p., 18 Jan. 2008. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://blogs.lib.unc.edu/morton/index.php/2008/01/how-times-have-and-havent-changed-at-unc/>.