United States imposes the draft
The Burke-Wadsworth Act was passed by Congress on September 16, 1940, with wide margins in both houses, and the first peace bill in U.S. history was imposed. Selective service was born.
The registration of men aged 21 to 36 began exactly one month later, as Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, who had been key in pushing the Roosevelt administration away from a policy stranger of strict neutrality, began to draw project numbers. in a glass bowl. The figures were handed over to the president, who read them aloud for public announcement. There were about 20 million eligible young men – 50 percent were rejected in the very first year, either for health reasons or for illiteracy (20 percent of those who signed up were illiterate).
In November 1942, with the United States now a participant in the war, not just a neutral spectator, the draft age widened; men aged 18 to 37 were now eligible. Blacks were excluded from the draft because of racist assumptions about their abilities and the viability of a Métis army. But that changed in 1943, when a “quota” was imposed, intended to limit the number of blacks recruited to reflect their numbers in the total population, about 10.6% of the whole. Initially, Blacks were limited to “work units,” but this also ended as the war progressed, when they were eventually used in combat.
The status of “conscientious objector” was granted to those who could demonstrate “the sincerity of belief in religious teachings combined with a deep moral aversion to war”. Quakers made up most of the commanders, but 75% of those drafted fought. The commanders had to perform alternate service in the civilian civil service camps, which involved long hours of dangerous work without compensation. About 5,000 to 6,000 men were imprisoned for failing to register or serve the nation in any form; these numbers were mainly composed of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
By the end of the war, approximately 34 million men had registered and 10 million were serving in the military.
READ MORE: The Draft