In their book, Generations, William Strauss and Neil Howe (S&H) postulate that the World War II (or "Greatest") generation was seen as "better" by the two preceding generations, largely because they fought and won World War II.
The immediately preceding generation was the "Lost" generation (of FitzGerald and Hemingway), who saw themselves (and were seen by others) as a "wasted" generation. Hence, they admired the World War II generation, whom they thought were "better" by comparison.
The generation before the Lost was FDR's generation, which Strauss and Howe call the "Missionary" Generation, and what I call the "Rendezvous" (With Destiny) generation in my own book. These people (and the Lost) were the parents of the World War II generation, and "showered them with praise and reward" (S&H) for bringing about their own "Rendezvous With Destiny" (America as the world's greatest power with them on top). This "praise and reweard" was expressed in legislation such as the GI Bill, and various other "veteran's" programs enacted after the war.