Conquering Coeds: After World War II, young veterans returned home to the United States eager to help reestablish peace in the world. Known as the “G.I. Bill Generation,” these soldiers became students at universities across the country, and formed political organizations on their campuses. With names like the Foreign Relations Club or the League for Industrial Democracy, they all shared a common vision and a similar goal: freedom.
American Students Organize: Founding the National Student Association After World War II (American Council on Education / Praeger Publishers, b/w photographs and illustrations, 1212 pages, hardcover, $135.00, 0-275-99100-8), edited by Eugene Schwartz, chronicles the founding of this vast and influential movement. Schwartz is a publishing consultant and president of Consortium House. He and more than twenty contributing editors have put together this collection of photographs, newspaper clippings, and articles from ninety former members of the NSA. It presents a powerfully comprehensive history of the organization, from its influences before and during the war to the programs and projects it undertook.
“College students saw the victory of World War II as a gateway through which to channel energies for the betterment of society,” writes Karl E. Meyer, Chair of the 1951 University of Wisconsin Delegation about the NSA’s founding. By making it their mission to improve life for American students, from defending them against fraternity exclusion practices to sponsoring foreign travel, the organization changed the face of student government forever.