Nothing was more divisive than the conscription debate in Australia during the First World War. The highly debated issue of conscription - compulsory enlistment for military service, particularly overseas - had a significant effect on Australian society.
Conscription, or more boldly the draft, has not been in place for some thirty years. While some people cringe at the thought of reinstating the draft, others have different views. This short paper will speak of those different views and the reasons why conscription of military service may not be such a bad idea after all.
Conscription was so controversial because was that it was very normal for two people from within the same social group and who would normally share a similar opinion on something, to have two completely opposing views on the topic of conscription. For example, many of the ANZACs who had fought on the Western Front and returned home to Australia. Some ANZACS strongly agreed with conscription because they knew that more reinforcements were needed on the
“Ideas about human rights have evolved over many centuries. But they achieved strong international support following the Holocaust and World War II. To protect future generations from a repeat of these horrors, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948 and invited states to sign and ratify it”
The topic of mandatory national service has been around for years now, and there will always be arguments on whether it should be enforced or not. Some may say that it takes away our freedom, but is it not what gives us freedom in the first place? The United States’ military, national service, as well as community service is based on volunteers. That is what makes this country great, but there are less volunteers as years go by. Crime increases, streets are not safe anymore, Americans are oblivious to what is happening around the world. There are so many opportunities to give back to the country, yet, not many care. Today’s generation is based on social trends, and self-gratification. There is also the fact that many young people do not know what to do with their life after high school, some continue to college or focus on work, others do not work nor study. Therefore, all young men and women should be required to give two years to national service because it can help solve problems as well as build the community back together.
During the Vietnamese war, conscription sparked a fierce debate that lasted for years, and split the Australian public into two. When Australia agreed to help the South Vietnamese, at the hands of the communist Vietcong, very few Australians questioned the judgement of the Australian leaders. However, in November, 1964 - when the Australian Government brought conscription into the Vietnamese war, with plans to increase the Australian army to 37,500 within the next three years, in the form of ‘National Service’, the Australian population began to disagree with the Governments judgement. There are two sides to this debate, the people who were all for the conscription of men, and the people who were against conscription.
Conscription is the idea of compulsory enlistment for a state service, typically into the armed forces. The controversy between pro and anti-conscription divided the Australian population during the course of the war. Conscription was mainly supported by those who had never stepped foot near a battlefield. Propaganda played a large role in pressuring men into enlisting. An example of where propaganda pressured men into volunteering for the Australian Imperial Force, is Appendix 1. The motive of this poster is successful as it implies that fathers would be shameful to ignore the plight of women as well as, promoting a sense of guilt. Anti-conscription propaganda also depicted or appealed to women. For instance, anti-conscriptionists would call a vote for conscription, a blood vote, reminding women they were possibly sending men to their deaths. This strategy of manipulating people’s emotions proved to work as in Dec 1917, the 2nd referendum on conscription rejected it. This debate influenced the entirety of Australian society as citizens were bombarded with propaganda and the opinions of others. At the beginning of the war the Federal Government gained great jurisdiction through the War Precautions Act. This was was introduced as commonwealth would need to increase its authority to prosecute war effectively. Along with this, the Constitution was also
It was first introduced in 1909. However, after being re-introduced in 1964 it played a major role in Australia’s involvement of the Vietnam War. This is known as the Menzies scheme and involves compulsory overseas national service. Men aged of twenty were required to register with the department of labour and national service (DLNS). The number of men enlisted exceeded the numbers for service. There was basically a lottery draw. A anti conscription group was formed in 1965 called ‘save our sons’ which began in Sydney. “The Menzies government has made a reckless decision on Vietnam which this nation may live to regret. It has decided to send Australian soldiers into a savage, revolutionary war in which the Americans are grievously involved, so that America may shelve a tiny part of her embarrassment… It could be that our historians will recall this day with tears.” (THE AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER, APRIL 1965) Therefore conscription had a major impact on
Conscription was first used in the United States during the American Civil War. The Union sought troops by offering cash rewards to enlistees. Support for conscription was not widespread in the North, and public resistance culminated in the Draft Riot of 1863. Afterward the draft was suspended with the end of the war in 1865, and it would not return until the beginning of world war I. The restitution of the draft was the result of U.S. entry into World War I in April 1917. The Selective Service Act, signed by President Woodrow Wilson on May 18, 1917, created the Selective Service System. In the beginning it targeting male citizens age 21 to 30, the draft was eventually expanded to include all able-bodied men age 18 to 45. After the armistice
Throughout human history, war has permeated the lives of billions of people. From early conflicts such as conquests to control vast swaths of land by Alexander the Great and Cyrus the Great to modern, global wars such as the World Wars, the concept of war has been at the forefront of humanity’s mind for centuries. However, in recent years, opposition to war and lack of participation in the military has become a common theme in many countries, including the United States. To help alleviate the troubles caused by lack of participation, the United States instituted a law allowing for the conscription of its citizens. Conscription, which can also be referred to as a draft, is defined as the compulsory drafting of citizens into military service (What). The Draft has been utilized throughout US History in a couple of prominent wars; however, opposition has manifested against the Vietnam War and the draft, rightfully stemming from ethical opposition to the war and hatred for what the war and the draft stood for.
However, these are two completely different grounds for accommodation. Accommodation to conscription is based on the body while accommodation to taxes is based on monetary value. Resistance to conscriptions is based on a moral and religious obligation against actual violence to oneself or another person. While taxes, simply deal with monetary value regarding ones made up moral conscience, in not supporting a certain legislative or program. These are two separate platforms for accommodation. A government may choose to accommodate conscription through self-skepticism then it becomes the citizen’s job to use self-reflection to realize that they are wrong and they should pay their taxes to participate in everything the government has to
Mandatory conscription has left a bad taste in the mouths of Americans since the Vietnam War. In modern day society, it can be seen as slavery and Americans today have become accustomed to the voluntary army system we currently have. For some, the perceived loss of freedom also means not being able to achieve educational and occupational goals, but that is definitely not the case.
Mandatory military service, or conscription, may be as old as mankind itself. Conscription says that during a time of war all able bodied men and women must
Making military service mandatory sound like it would be a good idea. This can give discipline, makes stronger citizens, but the reality is doing this takes away freedom and goes against the very foundations of what America is supposed to be. Mandatory military service should not be required for American citizens.