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Rough DraftCold War Military Manpower Policy and the Origins of Vietnam-Era Draft Resistance$
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Amy Rutenberg

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501739361

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501739361.001.0001

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“Digging for Deferments”

“Digging for Deferments”

World War II, 1940–1945

(p.14) Chapter 1 “Digging for Deferments”
Rough Draft

Amy J. Rutenberg

Cornell University Press

This chapter argues that proposals for universal military training (UMT) for all American men failed for several reasons. Opponents of UMT attacked the idea’s efficacy for national defense, but they also questioned the assumptions that military training made men or should be an obligation of citizenship. Despite the support of the War Department, three presidents, and the majority of American citizens, UMT failed to gain legislative traction, in part because Americans did not share a common definition of masculine citizenship. The failure of UMT confirmed that military service in the United States would be selective rather than compulsory and that it would not be directly tied to masculine forms of citizenship. Its failure reinforced the notion that there were alternative acceptable ways of being a man and a citizen in the United States.

Keywords:   citizenship, Congress, defense, manhood, selective military service, Universal Military Training, War Department

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