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 titleAn Act to provide for the common defense by increasing the personnel of the armed forces of the United States and providing for its training.
NicknamesBurke-Wadsworth Act
Enacted bythe 76th United States Congress
EffectiveSeptember 16, 1940
Citations
Public Law76-783
Statutes at Large54 Stat. 885, Chapter 720
Codification
Titles amended50 U.S.C.: War and National Defense
U.S.C. sections created50 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
 
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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 titleAn Act to provide for the common defense by increasing the personnel of the armed forces of the United States and providing for its training.
NicknamesBurke-Wadsworth Act
Enacted bythe 76th United States Congress
EffectiveSeptember 16, 1940
Citations
Public Law76-783
Statutes at Large54 Stat. 885, Chapter 720
Codification
Titles amended50 U.S.C.: War and National Defense
U.S.C. sections created50 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 Service Training 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 between the ages of 21 and 35 register with local draft boards. Later, when the U.S. entered World War II, all men aged 18 to 45 were made subject to military service, and all men aged 18 to 65 were required to register.[2]

Effects of the Act[edit]

Signed into law by Franklin Roosevelt in 1940, the Act established the first peace-time draft in United States history.[3] Under the Selective Training and Service Act, all American males between twenty-one and thirty-six years of age registered for the draft. The government selected men through a lottery system. If drafted, a man served for twelve months. According to the Selective Training and Service Act's provisions, drafted soldiers 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, and it limited service to 12 months.

Section 5(g) of the Act contained a provision for conscientious objection:[4]

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[edit]

The draft began in October 1940. 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. On August 12, the United States House of Representatives approved the extension by a single vote.[5] As Under Secretary of the Army Karl R. Bendetson said in an oral history interview, "Mr. Rayburn banged the gavel at a critical moment and declared the Bill had passed."[6] The Senate approved it by a wider margin, and Roosevelt signed the bill 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.[3] 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 7 December 1941, thousands of American men and women swelled the United States' military's ranks by volunteering for service, and thousands more by conscription.

After the United States entered World War II, a new selective service act made men between 18 and 45 liable for military service and required all men between 18 and 65 to register. The terminal point of service was extended to six months after the war. From 1940 until 1947—when the wartime selective service act expired after extensions by Congress—over 10,000,000 men were inducted.

Draft Classifications[edit]

ClassCategories (October, 1940 – January, 1947)
I-AAvailable for unrestricted military service.
I-A (L)Available for limited military service.
I-A (B)Acceptable for limited military service, below standards for general military service.
I-A (rem.)Remanded. Available for unrestricted military service after correction of defects. (Examples: eyeglasses or false teeth)
I-A-OConscientious objector available for noncombatant military service.
I-A-O (L)Conscientious objector available for limited noncombatant military service.
I-A-O (B)Conscientious objector acceptable for limited noncombatant military service,
below standards for general noncombatant military service.
I-A-O (rem.)Remanded. Conscientious objector available for noncombatant military service after correction of defects.(Examples: eyeglasses or false teeth)
I-BAvailable for limited military service.
I-B (rem.)Remanded. Available for limited military service after correction of defects.
I-B-OConscientious objector available for limited noncombatant military service.
I-B-O (rem.)Remanded. Conscientious objector available for limited noncombatant military service after correction of defects.
I-C (Ind.)Inducted. Member of the Armed Forces of the United States who was conscripted into service.
I-C (Enl.)Enlisted. Member of the Armed Forces of the United States who volunteered for service.
I-C (Disc.)Discharged. Member of the Armed Forces of the United States who was released after completing their service.
I-C (Sep.)Separated. Member of the Armed Forces of the United States who was released before completing service.
I-C (Dec.)Deceased. Member of the Armed Forces of the United States who died while in service.
I-DDeferred Student, fit for general military service.
I-D-ODeferred Student (Conscientious objector), fit for general non-combatant military service.
I-EDeferred Student, fit for limited military service.
I-E-ODeferred Student (Conscientious objector), fit for limited non-combatant military service.
I-GRegistrant who has been honorably separated from the armed forces of a co-belligerent nation.
Later extended to include registrants separated from the American Field Service or Merchant Marine, and persons interned by an enemy nation.
I-HDeferred due to age, fit for general military service.

11-18-1942: age 45 and over
10-05-1944: age 38 and over
08-31-1945: age 26 and over
07-17-1946: age 30 and over

II-ARegistrant deferred in support of national health, safety, or interest (Civilian Occupation). Fit for unrestricted military service.
II-A (L)Registrant deferred in support of national health, safety, or interest (Civilian Occupation). Fit for limited military service.
II-A (F)Registrant deferred in support of national health, safety, or interest (Civilian Occupation). Unfit for military service.
II-BRegistrant deferred in support of war production (War Industry Occupation). Fit for unrestricted military service.
II-B (L)Registrant deferred in support of war production (War Industry Occupation). Fit for limited military service.
II-B (F)Registrant deferred in support of war production (War Industry Occupation). Unfit for military service.
II-CRegistrant deferred in support of agriculture (Agricultural Occupation). Fit for unrestricted military service.
II-C (L)Registrant deferred in support of agriculture (Agricultural Occupation). Fit for limited military service.
II-C (F)Registrant deferred in support of agriculture (Agricultural Occupation). Unfit for military service.
III-ARegistrant deferred because of dependent parents, spouse, and / or children (reestablished 11-15-45).
III-BRegistrant deferred because of dependents and employment in an occupation essential to the war effort.
III-CRegistrant deferred because of dependents and employment in an agricultural occupation.
III-DRegistrant deferred because of extreme hardship and privation to dependents.
IV-ADeferred due to age, unfit for military service (Wartime)

11-18-1942: age 45 and over
10-05-1944: age 38 and over
08-31-1945: age 26 and over

IV-ARegistrant who has completed military service (Peacetime).
IV-BOfficial deferred by law.
IV-CAlien or dual national.
IV-DMinister of religion or divinity student.
IV-EConscientious objector opposed to both combatant and noncombatant training and service.
Available for assignment to general "work of national importance" (Alternative Service).
IV-E (L)Conscientious objector opposed to both combatant and noncombatant training and service.
Available for assignment to limited "work of national importance" (Alternative Service).
IV-E (B)Conscientious objector opposed to both combatant and noncombatant training and service.
Acceptable for assignment to limited "work of national importance" (Alternative Service)
Below standards for assignment to general "work of national importance" (Alternative Service).
IV-E (Disc.)Discharged. Conscientious objector assigned to work of national importance who has been released after completing their service and been granted a Certificate of Release.
IV-E (Sep.)Separated. Conscientious objector assigned to work of national importance who has been released before completing their service.
IV-E (Dec.)Deceased. Conscientious objector assigned to work of national importance who died while in service.
IV-E-HConscientious objector opposed to both combatant and noncombatant training and service. Deferred due to age (27 and above).
IV-E-SDeferred Student (Conscientious objector) opposed to both combatant and noncombatant training and service.
Available for assignment to general "work of national importance" (Alternative Service).
IV-E-LSDeferred Student (Conscientious objector) opposed to both combatant and noncombatant training and service.
Available for assignment to limited "work of national importance" (Alternative Service).
IV-FRegistrant not acceptable for military service due to physical, mental, or moral defect.
IV-HDeferred due to age, unfit for military service (Peacetime)

08-31-1945: age 26 and over
07-17-1946: age 30 and over

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  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. ^ a b Holbrook, Heber A. The Crisis Years: 1940 and 1941, The Pacific Ship and Shore Historical Review, 4 July 2001. p. 2.
  4. ^ Keim, Albert N. (1990). The CPS Story. Good Books. p. 24. ISBN 1-56148-002-9. 
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ http://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/bendet1.htm

External links[edit]