Selective Training and Service Act of 1940

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Selective Training and Service Act of 1940
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titles
  • Burke-Wadsworth Selective Training and Service Act
  • Selective Service Act of 1940
Long title An Act to provide for the common defense by increasing the personnel of the armed forces of the United States and providing for its training.
Nicknames Burke-Wadsworth Act
Enacted by the 76th United States Congress
Effective September 16, 1940
Citations
Public law 76-783
Statutes at Large 54 Stat. 885, Chapter 720
Codification
Titles amended 50 U.S.C.: War and National Defense
U.S.C. sections created 50 U.S.C. Appendix § 301 et seq.
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Senate as S. 4164 by Edward R. Burke (DNE), James W. Wadsworth Jr. (RNY)
  • Passed the Senate on August 28, 1940 (58-31)
  • Passed the House on September 7, 1940 (263-149, in lieu of H.R. 10132)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee on September 14, 1940; agreed to by the House on September 14, 1940 (233-124) and by the Senate on September 14, 1940 (47-25)
  • Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on September 16, 1940
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Selective Training and Service Act

The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, also known as the Burke-Wadsworth Act, Pub.L. 76–783, 54 Stat. 885, enacted September 16, 1940,[1] was the first peacetime conscription in United States history. This Selective Service Act required that men who had reached their 21st birthday but had not yet reached their 36th birthday register with local draft boards. Later, when the U.S. entered World War II, all men from their 18th birthday until the day before their 45th birthday were made subject to military service, and all men from their 18th birthday until the day before their 65th birthday were required to register.[2]

Effects of the Act

The act required all American men between the ages of 21 and 35 to register for the draft. Draftees were selected by national lottery. If drafted, a man served on active duty for 12 months, and then in a reserve component for 10 years or until he reached the age of 45, whichever came first. Inductees had to remain in the Western Hemisphere or in United States possessions or territories located in other parts of the world. The act provided that not more than 900,000 men were to be in training at any one time.

Section 5 (g) of the Act contained a provision for conscientious objection:[3]

Nothing contained in this Act shall be constructed to require any person to be subject to combatant training and service in the land and naval forces of the United States who, by reason of religious training and belief, is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form.
Any such person claiming such exemption from combatant training and service because of such conscientious objections whose claim is sustained by the local draft board shall, if he is inducted into the land or naval forces under this Act, be assigned to noncombatant service as defined by the President, or shall if he is found to be conscientiously opposed to participation in such noncombatant service, in lieu of such induction, be assigned to work of national importance under civilian direction.

World War II draft

The draft began in October 1940, with the first men entering military service on November 18. By the early summer of 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked the U.S. Congress to extend the term of duty for the draftees beyond twelve months to a total of thirty months, plus any additional time that he could deem necessary for national security. On August 12, the United States House of Representatives approved the extension by a single vote.[4] As Under Secretary of the Army Karl R. Bendetsen said in an oral history interview, "Mr. Rayburn banged the gavel at a critical moment and declared the Bill had passed."[5] The Senate approved it by a wider margin, and Roosevelt signed the Service Extension Act of 1941 into law on August 18.

Many of the soldiers drafted in October 1940 threatened to desert once the original twelve months of their service was up. Many of these men painted the letters "O H I O" on the walls of their barracks in protest.[6] These letters were an acronym for "Over the hill in October", which meant that the men intended to desert upon the end of their twelve months of duty. Desertions did occur, but they were not widespread. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, millions of American men entered the United States military's ranks both by volunteering and by conscription.

After the United States entered World War II, amendments to the Selective Training and Service Act on December 20, 1941, made all men between the ages of 20 and 44 liable for military service, and required all men between the ages of 18 and 64 to register. The terminal point of service was extended to six months after the war. Another amendment signed on November 13, 1942, called the registered 18- and 19-year-olds into military service. From October 1940 until March 1947—when the wartime Selective Training and Service Act expired after extensions by Congress—over 10,000,000 men were inducted.

Draft classifications

Class I: Acceptable for military service

Class Description Date established Date abolished
I-A Acceptable for general military service. 10-4-40 3-31-47
I-A (B) Acceptable for limited military service, below standards for general military service (applicable to ages 18-25 only). 5-26-45 11-27-46
I-A (H) Acceptable for general military service, deferred because of age (38 to 44 years old). 3-6-43 10-5-44
I-A (L) Acceptable for limited military service. 7-15-43 10-5-44
I-A rem. Remediable. Acceptable for general military service after correction of defects. 2-26-42 8-18-42
I-A-O Acceptable for general noncombatant military service (conscientious objector). 10-4-40 3-31-47
I-A-O (B) Acceptable for limited military service, below standards for general military service (applicable to ages 18-25 only). 5-26-45 11-27-46
I-A-O (H) Conscientious objector acceptable for general noncombatant military service, deferred because of age (38 to 44 years old). 3-6-43 10-5-44
I-A-O (L) Conscientious objector acceptable for limited noncombatant military service. 7-15-43 10-5-44
I-A-O rem. Remediable. Conscientious objector acceptable for general noncombatant military service after correction of defects. 2-26-42 8-18-42
I-B Acceptable for limited military service. 10-4-40 8-18-42
I-B rem. Remediable. Acceptable for limited military service after correction of defects. 10-4-40 8-18-42
I-B-O Conscientious objector available for limited noncombatant military service. 10-4-40 8-18-42
I-B-O rem. Remediable. Conscientious objector available for limited noncombatant military service after correction of defects. 10-4-40 8-18-42
I-C Ind. Inducted. Inducted member of armed forces. 10-4-40 3-31-47
I-C Enl. Enlisted. Enlisted member of armed forces. 10-4-40 3-31-47
I-C Disc. Discharged. Discharged honorably from the armed forces. 10-5-44 3-31-47
I-C Dec. Deceased. Deceased while in class I-C. 4-21-44 3-31-47
I-C (H) Enlisted or inducted member of armed forces 38 to 44 years old. 3-6-44 3-31-47
I-D Deferred student, fit for general military service. 10-4-40 8-31-41
I-D-O Deferred student, fit for general noncombatant military service (conscientious objector). 10-4-40 8-31-41
I-E Deferred student, fit for limited military service. 10-4-40 8-31-41
I-E-O Deferred student, fit for limited noncombatant military service (conscientious objector). 10-4-40 8-31-41
I-G Member of or honorably separated from armed forces of cobelligerent nation, later extended to include registrants separated from American Field Service or Merchant Marine, and persons interned by an enemy nation. 5-23-45 3-31-47
I-H Acceptable for military service, deferred because of age (28 and older). 8-31-41 11-18-42

Class II: Deferred because of occupation

Class Description Date established Date abolished
II-A Engaged in essential civilian activity. Merged into class II-B effective 8-31-45. 10-4-40 8-31-45
II-A (F) Rejected for military service, but engaged in essential civilian activity. 4-21-44 11-27-46
II-A (H) Engaged in essential civilian activity, deferred because of age (38 to 44 years old). 3-6-43 10-5-44
II-A (L) Acceptable for limited military service, but engaged in essential civilian activity. 4-21-44 2-15-46
II-B Engaged in essential war production. 10-4-40 3-31-47
II-B (F) Rejected for military service, but engaged in essential war production. 4-21-44 8-31-45
II-B (H) Engaged in essential civilian activity, deferred because of age (38 to 44 years old). 3-6-43 10-5-44
II-B (L) Acceptable for limited military service, but engaged in essential war production. 4-21-44 8-31-45
II-C Engaged in essential agriculture. 11-18-42 3-31-47
II-C (F) Rejected for military service, but engaged in essential agriculture. 4-21-44 11-27-46
II-C (H) Engaged in essential agriculture, 38 to 44 years old. 3-6-43 10-5-44
II-C (L) Acceptable for limited military service, but engaged in essential agriculture. 4-21-44 2-15-46

Class III: Deferred because of dependency

Class Description Date established Date abolished
III-A Registrant deferred because of dependents. 10-4-40 12-11-43
III-A (H) Registrant deferred because of dependents and age (38 to 44 years old). 3-6-43 12-11-43
III-B Registrant deferred because of dependents and engagement in essential war production. 10-4-40 4-12-43
III-B (H) Registrant deferred because of dependents, engagement in essential war production, and age (38 to 44 years old). 3-6-43 4-12-43
III-C Registrant deferred because of dependents and engagement in essential agriculture 11-18-42 2-17-44
III-C (H) Registrant deferred because of dependents, engagement in essential agriculture, and age (38 to 44 years old). 3-6-43 10-5-44
III-D Registrant deferred because of extreme hardship and privation to dependents. 4-12-43 3-31-47
III-D (H) Registrant deferred because of extreme hardship and privation to dependents and age (38 to 44 years old). 4-12-43 10-5-44

Class IV: Unacceptable for military service

Class Description Date established Date abolished
IV-A Rejected for military service because of age. From 11-18-42 to 10-5-44, men 45 and older were classified in class IV-A. Men 38 to 44 years old were classified in class IV-H. The latter class was eliminated on 3-6-43 with the introduction of the "(H)" identifier. On 10-5-44, the "(H)" identifier was eliminated, except for men already in the armed forces, and these men so classified were ordered reclassified into class IV-A. On 7-6-45, the regulations governing class IV-A were simplified to include all men 38 and older. 11-18-42 3-31-47
IV-B Official deferred by law. 10-4-40 3-31-47
IV-B (H) Official deferred by law and because of age (38 to 44 years old). 3-6-43 10-5-44
IV-C Alien or dual national. 10-4-40 3-31-47
IV-C (H) Alien or dual national deferred because of age (38 to 44 years old). 3-6-43 10-5-44
IV-D Minister of religion or divinity student. 10-4-40 3-31-47
IV-D (H) Minister of religion or divinity student deferred because of age (38 to 44 years old). 3-6-43 10-5-44
IV-E Conscientious objector acceptable for civilian work of national importance. 10-4-40 3-31-47
IV-E (B) Conscientious objector, under 26 years of age, acceptable under lowered physical standards for civilian work of national importance. 5-26-45 11-27-46
IV-E-H Conscientious objector available for or assigned to work of national importance, deferred because of age (28 and older). 8-31-41 11-18-42
IV-E (H) Conscientious objector acceptable for civilian work of national importance, deferred because of age (38 to 44 years old). 3-6-43 10-5-44
IV-E (L) Conscientious objector acceptable for limited service in civilian work of national importance. 7-6-44 10-5-44
IV-E Disc. Discharged. Conscientious objector separated from civilian work of national importance. 11-4-44 3-31-47
IV-E Dec. Deceased. Deceased while in class IV-E 4-21-44 3-31-47
IV-E-H Conscientious objector acceptable for civilian work of national importance deferred because of age (28 and older). 8-31-41 11-18-42
IV-E-S Conscientious objector acceptable for civilian work of national importance who would otherwise be in class I-D or I-E. 10-4-40 8-31-41
IV-E-LS Conscientious objector who would otherwise be in class I-D or I-E acceptable for limited service in civilian work of national importance. 8-31-41 8-18-42
IV-F Rejected for military service; physical, mental, or moral reasons. 10-4-40 3-31-47
IV-F (H) Rejected for military service; physical, mental, or moral reasons, and age (38 to 44 years old). 3-6-43 10-5-44
IV-H Deferred because of age (38 to 44 years old). 1-1-43 3-6-43

See also

Note

  1. ^ 232-124 in the House, with 186 Democrats and 46 Republicans in favor, 32 Democrats, 88 Republicans, and 4 others against. 47-25 in the Senate, with 40 Democrats and 7 Republicans in favor, 13 Democrats, 10 Republicans, and 2 others against. "Final Roll-Calls on Draft Bill", The New York Times, September 15, 1940
  2. ^ United States v. Groupp, 459 F.2d 178, at para 4 (1st Cir. 26 April 1972).
  3. ^ Keim, Albert N. (1990). The CPS Story. Good Books. p. 24. ISBN 1-56148-002-9. 
  4. ^ 203-202, with 182 Democrats and 21 Republicans in favor, 65 Democrats, 133 Republicans, and 4 others against. "House Vote on Draft Bill", The New York Times, August 13, 1941
  5. ^ Truman Library - Karl R. Bendetsen Oral History, October 24, 1972
  6. ^ Holbrook, Heber A. The Crisis Years: 1940 and 1941, The Pacific Ship and Shore Historical Review, 4 July vxcvcxvzvzxcvzvvz2001. p. 2. Archived February 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

External links

  • Integration Fact Sheet
  • Selective Service System
  • Selective Service System Classifications for WWI, WWII, and Post-WWII through 1976
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