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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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“Choice or Chance”

“Choice or Chance”

The Vietnam War, 1965–1973

(p.157) Chapter 6 “Choice or Chance”
Rough Draft

Amy J. Rutenberg

Cornell University Press

Chapter six argues that in working to avoid the draft, men during the Vietnam War did not behave terribly differently from men during World War II or the Korean War. Rather, it was the context of their actions that changed. This chapter affirms that the historical conditions of the Vietnam War, particularly the advent of draft counseling, made it easier for men to engage in draft avoidance behavior. But it also argues that the military manpower policies of the previous decades influenced their choices. Because policies and practices privileged men with the resources to attend college, gain admittance to the National Guard or Reserves, find sympathetic doctors, or write reasoned belief statements in conscientious objector applications, white, middle-class men were the most successful at avoiding the draft. For them, military service was a decision more than a fait accompli. Working-class and minority men had fewer tools for draft avoidance.

Keywords:   choice, draft, draft counseling, manpower channeling, Vietnam War

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