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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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“To Rub Smooth the Sharp Edges”

“To Rub Smooth the Sharp Edges”

Universal Military Training, 1943–1951

(p.38) Chapter 2 “To Rub Smooth the Sharp Edges”
Rough Draft

Amy J. Rutenberg

Cornell University Press

This chapter contends that members of Congress were reluctant to draft students and fathers during the Korean War because they believed the conflict was just the opening salvo of a much longer Cold War. America was entering an indeterminate period of militarized peace, during which conscription would remain necessary. Therefore, the nation’s economic and domestic future depended on careful and reasoned deliberation over who to draft and who to defer. The draft law that emerged during the Korean War, the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1951, militarized fatherhood and civilian occupations defined as in the national health, safety, or interest by making them eligible for deferments. Yet, by keeping certain groups of men out of the armed forces in the name of national security, the law broadened the definition of service to the state and limited the reach of the military itself.

Keywords:   Cold War, deferments, Korean War, militarization, national security, student, Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1951

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