How the Draft Reshaped America


Women burning the draft cards of their husbands and sons during an anti-war protest in 1968.
“‘Greeting: You are hereby ordered for induction in the Armed Forces of the United States.’ In 1967, more than 300,000 American men opened envelopes with this statement inside. Few pieces of mail ever incited the same combination of panic, anticipation and resignation as a draft notice. The words struck terror in the hearts of many recipients. Others found them comforting after years of waiting for the Selective Service System to come calling. The Vietnam generation came of age with the threat of military service hovering in the background. Although the Selective Service called relatively few men between the end of the Korean War in 1953 and American escalation in Southeast Asia in 1965, the draft had been in almost continuous operation since before the United States joined World War II. During that time Selective Service, under the leadership of Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, faced little public criticism. In fact, Hershey had shaped it into a venerated institution. Although most men may not have wanted to dedicate two years of their life to active military service, draftees generally acquiesced to Uncle Sam’s wishes. After President Lyndon Johnson mobilized ground troops in 1965, draft calls tripled. With each passing year, more men faced conscription to fight a war with whose goals and methods a significant number disagreed. …”
NY Times

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Draft board, John Kennedy, Lyn. Johnson, Rob. Kennedy, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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