World War II

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16,000,000 TO ENROLL TODAY

Published in 1940, this article informs the public of the enactment of the first peacetime draft as well as further details on the process of enrollment such as reminding aliens they are not exempt from the draft. Using the faint hint of success of WWI, the announcement plays on the heartstrings of many Americans as it references the last fight for freedom America participated in. This draft call shows the level of enthusiasm used as well as the tactics of inciting pride in those registering in order to keep conscription numbers promising.

“16,000,000 to Enroll Today in First Peacetime Draft; 1,107,000 To Register Here.” New York Times, Oct 16, 1940, 17. 

A Soldier Looks at Conscription

Written in March of 1945, a former soldier who served in World War II shares his experience and the  invaluable experiences and taught him the importance of teamwork as well as individuality. He advocates for the continuation of the draft due to its effectiveness in preparing for war, its exemplary display of democracy at work, and the fact that armed services in general allow for the freedom to reign. This article echoes the justification used by the war effort during World War II in conscription is an example of democracy in action. It also highlights the justification that would be used in the Vietnam War effort of fighting for freedom!

Kirkwood, Murray, D. Major. “A Soldier Looks at Conscription.” New York Times, Mar 25, 1945, 44.


Published in April of 1945, a group of writers responded with multiple letters in opposition to Kirkwood’s assertion that military service can function in peacetime as a means of strengthening democracy. Interestingly, two of the response included were from former soldiers as well. Five years after the call to enlist, confidence in the draft has diminshed as people question the intentions behind the draft. The fight for democracy has become less clear and honorable as the hypocrtical, hierarchal system of the army is put under the microscope. Despite the success of the war and the general positive sentiment felt among many Americans, feelings toward conscription were not as consistent.

Cpl Sauer, Edwin H., John D. Balcomb, Beatrice H. Hansen, Milton Ross, “The Issue of Conscription.” New York Times, Apr 15, 1945, 52.