Skip to comments.The Rejection of America's Volunteer Military
Posted on 02/25/2013 7:08:46 AM PST by Kaslin
Today, we're revisiting the topic of the ages of those who served in the U.S. armed forces during World War 2, because we have new information to add to it!
Before we go any further, the reason we're doing this is because this information plays a key part in one of the projects we're developing behind the scenes here at Political Calculations, which we'll be presenting in bits and seemingly unrelated pieces throughout this year.
So what information are we adding today? Well, it's about the end of volunteerism and the institutionalization of mandatory conscription for filling the ranks of the U.S. Army, Army Air Corps, Navy and Marines during the Second World War.
Air Force Magazine's John T. Cornell explains more about how the American tradition of volunteering for military service came to be rejected by the executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt:
In 1936, an obscure Army major, Lewis B. Hershey, was appointed the executive officer of the Joint Army-Navy Selective Service Committee, set up to prepare for possible mobilization. The panel consisted of two officers and two clerks. Hershey was a former schoolteacher who joined the National Guard in 1911 and transferred to the regular Army after World War I. Nobody, least of all Hershey, dreamed the job would last for decades....
When Germany in 1940 invaded the Low Countries and France, Congress authorized the first peacetime draft in American history. Inductions began in November 1940. The following year, Hershey was promoted to brigadier general and named director of the Selective Service.
A total of 10.1 million men were drafted during World War II. At the beginning of the war, men rushed to enlist, but, from Hershey’s perspective, that ruined orderly conscription. He persuaded President Roosevelt in December 1942 to end voluntary enlistments except for men under 18 and over 38.
Prior to President Roosevelt issuing Executive Order 9279 on 5 December 1942, American men between the ages of 21 and 36 were subject to the military draft. In his executive order, in addition to eliminating volunteerism and fixed-term enlistments, President Roosevelt also took advantage of legislation passed by the U.S. Congress on 11 November 1942 to expand the eligible age range to be subject to the draft to include all men from the ages of 18 through 37. Volunteering for service was only permitted for those under the age of 18 and up to the age of 45 who claimed they could satisfy the military's enlistment requirements.
The birth years that coincide with these age ranges are shown in our updated chart below:
The end of volunteerism with the draft explains why the average age of those who served in World War 2 is 26 - it is the middle of the range from which the pool of those conscripted were drawn into service in the years from 5 December 1942 through the end of the war in 1945.
But more importantly, with how the draft worked during World War 2, by lottery, the age distribution of those conscripted into military service in a given year would be fairly even, rather than being heavily concentrated around a given age. The size of any bell-curve that might normally have formed was therefore minimized as a result of the policy.
That evenness of age distribution among those who served in the armed forces during World War II, in turn, explains a lot of things that turn up repeatedly in various datasets after the war. And that is something we'll be revisiting throughout the year....
More horse hockey from people that can’t stand the fact that by using volunteers we have built THE FINEST MILITARY IN THE WORLD.
Some of us were alive and served in Viet Nam, and can tell you what an ABSOLUTE DISASTER forcing people into the military that didn’t want to be there was.
An even more absurd comment:
“But more importantly, with how the draft worked during World War 2, by lottery,”
Obviously the bozo that wrote this had no father or brothers that served during World War II. If you were rich, there was ZERO chance you were going into the military if you didn’t want to. The saving grace during that war was that the country WAS behind it, and most did serve.
Financial and manpower constraints will ensure that the days of empire and "world leadership" will one day end. Hopefully, it will be in time to return to the kind of republic the Founders envisioned.
“We either have to cut our overseas “commitments”
If that is a motion, may I second it?
There's a third possibility that would work two ways: Curtail welfare for the able-bodied.
The best way to unite the nation in war is a formal Congressional declaration of war and a no-exceptions draft. A volunteer army is a private force of the President and can be thrust into war at his whim or pretext.
The Vietnam era military was the finest we had ever had, and it was overwhelmingly volunteer, with the draft merely used to fill in what came up short from recruitment, today we have to beg women and grandmothers and moms to fill in the enlistment shortages.
We also have a military too small and weak to fight a major war, and that is devouring our budgets in pay, benefits, day care, and supporting families, gynecologists, pediatricians and quality of life issues.
We are losing the ability to fight major wars.
They want to force other people to obey them.
Like Obama wants to force the Catholic Church to fund abortion and contraception.
First, you can't wait until war is declared to start building an Army, and what is a "no-exceptions draft"?
We can build up all we want. Just keep them home unless Congress formally declares war. A WW II draft would be in order.
The nation has to be fully committed. Not like Korea, Vietnam, Irag, Kosovo, Afghanistan. And Obama should get such a declaration of war before he bombs Iran by enforcing his 'all is on the table' dictates.
I don’t know what you are saying, what is a “no-exceptions draft”? Why would we have a WWII draft? When has the nation ever been “fully committed”?
How do we sit at home twiddling our thumbs and then suddenly gain the ability to fight anywhere on the globe?
A free country doesn’t need a slave army.
VOLUNTEER US Army vet.
I agree, but it is unfortunate that conscripts usually become very conservative after their enlistments are up. Libs don't volunteer so one way of converting them is through conscripted military service.
Here, here....Our biggest problem filling the ranks is not a lack of volunteers, its that our kids are fat couch potatoes who have never lifted anything heavy er than an X-box.
“The Vietnam era military was the finest we had ever had, and it was overwhelmingly volunteer, with the draft merely used to fill in what came up short from recruitment,”
This is repeating some of the revisionist nonsense that is floating around the internet these day. First, the Air Force and the Navy never used the draft, so the number of draftees in the Army and Marines was much higher. Secondly, in every branch of the service there were “draft consequences” people. These were guys that only joined to avoid being drafted. They didn’t want to be there and they didn’t give a dam. I can tell you from first hand experience there were many of them in the Air Force. Luckily the force was large enough that we could usually find some dipsh@t job to put them on so that their lack of interest and attention didn’t endanger anyone’s life.
The ones that were actual volunteers WERE great. Probably half the friends I have today fit in that category. But to a man they don’t and won’t ever advocate a draft.
And as far as: “and that is devouring our budgets in pay, benefits, day care, and supporting families, gynecologists, pediatricians and quality of life issues.”
If it’s such an overpaid gravy train, why do we still have to spend millions a year to get people to enlist? The money we spend on our military is the LEAST of our problems. The main problem - welfare - which by the way is TWICE the amount of defense spending.
The Navy and Air force did not use the draft during the Vietnam war, even the Army was overwhelmingly volunteers unlike the WWII Army.
I volunteered for the army and it had nothing to do with the draft, drafted or volunteer, the men were interchangeable, unlike today’s females who can never be a man.
We had the draft for 33 years and it served us well, the volunteer military isn’t working, as we learned after 9/11, when the military had to start accepting grandmothers in their 40s in an effort to make up for the lack of enlistments, although our manpower needs were small, and our population huge.
Better a drafted 18 year old Marine who grows up in basic training than a teen girl or his mom being hired in his place, a girl who will never be a man.
After 40 years and 2 wars and in the face of a China buildup, we have learned that an all volunteer military doesn’t work, it is too weak and tiny to do much, our dealings with China and hostile alliances will become based on the cold fact that we cant meet and defeat them on the battlefield, and the social engineering and clamor for ever increasing pay, benefits, and quality of life issues, will eventually turn our military into merely another federal job, either unionized, or the same as unionized.
In time our military will be half female, liberal, isolated from citizens and they will all be career people, and patriotism and sacrifice will be replaced by the usual government employee demands for more goodies and an easier life that is less risky and less demanding, and that is absolutely about social equality and job fairness.
The military will eventually become hostile to the people and a democratic voting block.
Really it is probably too late to use a draft to save the military, even a draft will be corrupted to hire females.
I think the left has won their war against the military.
Man....CAT IVs and VOLAR.....that brings back memories. At one time, all three Soldiers working in the Supply Room of my Troop had to have weekday afternoons off to go to Basic Skills Education Program (BSEP), which was basically a GED program to acquire a high school diploma equivalency. I think that only two of the Soldiers in my last platoon weren’t using drugs. They were an awful lot......undisciplined.....poorly educated......raggedy-looking.........and I loved almost all of them and miss them to this day.
“After 40 years and 2 wars and in the face of a China buildup, we have learned that an all volunteer military doesnt work,”
I didn't realize Free Republic had that kind of reach, because you must be living in some parallel life dimension. Both of the above statements are untrue and ludicrous.
And part of why zero and his minions make such an effort to keep the military from voting is because THE ALL VOLUNTEER MILITARY IS OVERWHELMINGLY CONSERVATIVE! That's why liberals like Rangel keep trying to bring back the draft.
The WWII American Army was 93% slaves then.
Both statements are facts, and the military has always been conservative, today it is becoming more liberal, and in the future it will become another branch of federal employment security and 50% female, and very unwilling to fight, focusing on quality of life issues for it’s employees, and only having a small percentage of combat troops usable for small interventions and policing actions.
The 2030 military will not come anywhere close to the conservative military of 1970.
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