A Religious History of the American Servicemen and Servicewomen (GI's) in World War II

by G. Kurt Piehler

Jan 1, 2011
My project seeks to understand the religious history of American servicemen and servicewomen in World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the armed forces adopted a series of policies that sought to promote the free exercise of religion, including a dramatic expansion of the military chaplaincy and the commissioning of an unprecedented number of Roman Catholic priests and Jewish rabbis as chaplains in an attempt to make the chaplaincy representative of the religious pluralism of the United States. Religious organizations played an important role in catering to the spiritual and recreational needs of GIs, most notably through the United Service Organization (USO) founded in 1940 by the Jewish Welfare Board (JWB), National Catholic Community Service, National Travelers Aid Society, the Salvation Army, the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA).
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