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The G.I. Generation (also known as the World War II Generation or The Greatest Generation in the United States or the Federation Generation in Australia) is the demographic cohort following the Lost Generation. There are no precise dates for when this cohort starts or ends; demographers and researchers typically use the early 1900s as starting birth years and ending birth years in the mid-1920s.
This generation experienced much of their youth during rapid technological innovation (radio, telephone) amidst growing levels of worldwide income inequality and a soaring economy. After the Stock Market crashed, this generation experienced profound economic and social turmoil, and eventually World War II.
Demographers William Stauss and Neil Howe wrote about the "G.I. Generation" in their 1991 book Generations: The History of America's Future and use 1901–1924 as birth years. The initials "G.I." of "G.I. Generation" is military terminology referring to "Government Issue" or "General Issue". This cohort is also referred to as the "World War II Generation".
McCrindle Research expanded on Howe's work and uses the term Federation Generation to describe Australian members of this cohort, born between 1901–1924, "a time of peace when Australia finally secured nationhood" who came of age during The Great Depression and WWII and experienced post-war prosperity in midlife.
The term The Greatest Generation, which is a term sometimes used to refer to the US members of this cohort, comes from the title of a 1998 book by American journalist Tom Brokaw. In the book, Brokaw profiled American members of this generation who came of age during the Great Depression and went on to fight in World War II, as well as those who contributed to the war effort on the home front. Brokaw wrote that these men and women fought not for fame or recognition, but because it was the "right thing to do."
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