Conscription and Democracy: The Draft in France, Great by George Q. Flynn

By George Q. Flynn

Finding the manpower to safeguard democracy has been a ordinary challenge. Russell Weigley writes: The old preoccupation of the Army's proposal in peacetime has been the manpower query: how, in an unmilitary state, to muster enough numbers of able squaddies quick should still warfare ensue. whilst the character of recent conflict made an all-volunteer military insufficient, the key Western democracies faced the difficulty of involuntary army provider in a unfastened society. The middle of this manuscript issues equipment wherein France, nice Britain, and the U.S. solved the matter and why a few recommendations have been extra lasting and potent than others. Flynn demanding situations traditional knowledge that means that conscription was once inefficient and that it promoted inequality of sacrifice.

Sharing comparable yet no longer exact diplomatic outlooks, the 3 international locations mentioned right here have been allies in international wars and within the chilly conflict, and so they faced the matter of utilizing conscripts to shield colonial pursuits in an age of decolonization. those societies relaxation upon democratic ideas, and working a draft in a democracy increases a number of distinct difficulties. a specific pressure develops because of adopting compelled army carrier in a polity in line with options of person rights and freedoms. regardless of the protest and inconsistencies, the feedback and waste, Flynn unearths that conscription served the 3 Western democracies good in an old context, proving powerful in accumulating struggling with males and permitting a flexibility to manage and alter as difficulties arose.

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Extra resources for Conscription and Democracy: The Draft in France, Great Britain, and the United States (Contributions in Military Studies)

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In the United States and Britain conscription was delayed and seen as only a part of a larger mobilization plan. In France conscription preceded mobilization plans for reasons of sentiment and ideology. In France leaders strove to fit mobilization into a military strategy that accepted conscription as a given. In the Anglo-Saxon countries, the reverse was true. Although committed to conscription, the French failed to appreciate the implications of total war on the economy. Both France and Great Britain had to learn by mistakes the connection between military manpower and industrial production.

Products themselves of these new forces, they played an important role in preparedness. Although they supported President Woodrow Wilson’s call for neutrality, they also favored a more aggressive posture by the nation. Largely anglophiles, they promoted a foreign policy in keeping with the new power of the nation. 41 Men such as Teddy Roosevelt, Leonard Wood, Elihu Root, Henry Stimson, and Augustus P. Gardner formed a National Security League to promote the implementation of their ideas. J. P. Morgan, Henry Frick, and Bernard Baruch all contributed to the creation of the Military Training Camps Association to encourage training for the upper class.

In Europe, armies of millions struggled for decision. If the United States expected to play a decisive role, it needed a much bigger army. The preparedness elite called for an immediate draft, but still President Wilson delayed. Strong opposition to con- CONSCRIPTION AND WAR 37 scription remained. Some claimed it violated the tradition of the mythical minuteman, but labor unions, including the Workers of the World and the American Federation of Labor, also opposed the idea. Agrarians, pacifists, women’s organizations, and socialists joined them.

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