Registering For The Draft During World War II
Though the United States wouldn’t enter World War II until December of 1941, it issued its first peacetime draft in 1940, which required all men between 21 and 45 to register for military service. From farmlands, cities, and small towns alike, millions headed to basic training to become soldiers, sailors, and pilots. More than 70 percent of Americans supported the draft, believing the country would soon join Britain’s fight against Germany. And the United States did declare war on December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. While the majority of American men were proud to do battle against the Axis Powers, some protested on religious grounds—72,000 registered as conscientious objectors. Others emphasized the hypocrisy of fighting for democracy abroad, when the military remained racially segregated. Despite protests, by the war’s end, 16 million Americans, including 1.2 million African Americans, had served their country.