29 Oct 40: For the first time in American history, a peacetime draft begins. A lottery system is used to select men to serve for twelve months. Secretary of War Henry Stimson, blindfolded, reaches into a bowl and pulls out the first capsule. From a nearby podium, FDR announces the number drawn: 158. Across the country, 6,175 young men hold that number
16 Sep 40: US Military Conscription bill is passed, beginning the first peacetime draft in American history. Some ten million men will be pressed into service. Nearly six million others (men and women) will eventually enlist voluntarily into the various branches of the US military. #WWII
Central to the discussion in The First Peacetime Draft is the first important American policy response to Hitler's victory in Europe in the spring of 1940--the Selective Service Act. It marked the effective end of the isolationist tradition in the United States because for the first time while the country remained officially at peace civilians were drafted into the armed forces to face the possible threat of aggression from abroad.
Executive Order 9981 is an executive order issued on July 26, 1948 by President Harry S. Truman. It abolished racial discrimination in the armed forces and eventually led to the end of segregation in the services.
Introduced into Congress two days before the fall of France and signed into law three months later as Luftwaffe bombs set London afire, the Selective Training and Service Act began the process by which fifteen million Americans were inducted into the armed services during the Second World War. Clifford and Spencer recount a neglected but vitally important development in the transformation of American policies prior to Pearl Harbor--
In November 1942, with the United States now a participant in the war, and not merely a neutral bystander, the draft ages expanded; men 18 to 37 were now eligible. Blacks were passed over for the draft because of racist assumptions about their abilities and the viability of a mixed-race military. But this changed in 1943, when a "quota" was imposed, meant to limit the numbers of blacks drafted to reflect their numbers in the overall population, roughly 10.6 percent of the whole.
29 Oct 40: For the first time in American history, a peacetime draft begins. A lottery system is used to select men to serve for twelve months. Secretary of War Henry Stimson, blindfolded, reaches into a bowl and pulls out the first capsule. From a nearby podium, FDR announces the number drawn: 158. Across the country, 6,175 young men hold that number. #WWII
The draft began in October 1940. By the early summer of 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt asked the U.S. Congress to extend the term of duty for the draftees beyond twelve months. On August 12, the United States House of Representatives approved the extension by a single vote. As for Under Secretary of the Army Karl R. Bendetson said in an oral history interview, "Mr. Rayburn banged the gavel at a critical moment and declared the Bill had passed.