H.D. Herrick

Machinery for Dragooning U.S. People
into the War Is All Ready

Knowing That The People Do Not Want War, That They Will Not Volunteer
to Lay Down Their Lives for Boss Profits, The War Deal Government
Has Readied Its Draft Machinery

(September 1939)

Source: Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 71, 18 September 1939, p. 4.
Transcription/HTML Markup: 2016 by Einde O’Callaghan.
Public Domain: Joseph Hansen Internet Archive 2016; This work is completely free. In any reproduction, we ask that you cite this Internet address and the publishing information above.

The machinery for drafting you into European trenches is all ready – right now.

The forms for draft registration cards are on file in every state capitol, ready to be rushed to the printer and run off in millions of copies on a moment’s notice.

The draft administration is in existence right now, in skeleton form. At the top is the Joint Army and Navy Selective Service Committee. “Selective service” is the official name for the draft or conscription – words which are never used officially.

This committee is a six-man board consisting of military and naval officers. Its agent in each state is the adjutant general. Under each state adjutant general are four to sixteen Army men who have gone through special training for draft administration.

These men hold regional conferences every year, in New Orleans, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington. These conferences last two weeks. Here is the N.Y. Times report of one of them (October 12, 1938): “Army officers rehearsed on paper today the national set-up of a civilian-operated selective service act, and estimated that it would cost between $6,000,000 and $10,000,000 to mobilize 300,000 men in the first month of a war.” They expect to draft four million men in 12 months.

Just as an example, here is one of the questions they discuss: “Where are men on forest reserves to register?” No, you won’t be overlooked.

In each town or section of a city, there will be a local draft board. The men who will sit on them have already been tentatively selected and are listed. According to the mobilization plan, they are to be “outstanding citizens.”

They Expect Us to Be Unwilling

Why this feverish preparation for prodding us to the trenches at the point of a bayonet? Don’t they think we’ll WANT to fight the war they will declare?

Not on your life, for all their talk of a “just cause” or a “people’s war.” That’s why Roosevelt and his war-birds foam at the mouth at the very idea of letting the people have the right to decide on going to war. They KNOW what to expect: the American masses will put on a uniform just as willingly as they would a prison suit.

The preparation of the draft is the government’s way of confessing that IT WILL NOT BE OUR WAR.

Up to 1917 all of America’s wars with other nations were fought by volunteers only. They tried that in 1917 too. Here was the result, as sorrowfully told in a book called America’s Part in the World War: A History of the Full Greatness of Our Country’s Achievement – a patrioteering flag-waver published in 1919 with an introduction by Generalissimo Pershing:

“Enlistments were opened almost immediately. Every possible means to attract a recruit to the service was used. Women pleaded with noon-hour crowds at recruiting meetings, and the entire country was plastered with posters urging men to enlist. Volunteer recruiting was not a success in the United States. It was as flat a failure as it had been in England. We later profited by England’s example and drafted men into the army, but it was not until we had experienced some of the same symptoms which had marked England’s entry into the war and a few subsequent months thereafter.”

And who were the “patriots” who volunteered? The authors continue:

“Far from satisfactory were the recruits obtained by volunteer enlistment. Many gave fictitious names or addresses when they enlisted. Others failed to report to the stations to which they had been assigned.”

General Peyton C. March, war Chief of Staff, lamented:

“It was the poorest showing America had ever made in all her history and marked the beginning of the downfall of the volunteer method of raising armies in major wars in this country.”

That was the people’s way of voting on war in 1917. For the swivel-chair militarists in Washington, the draft naturally goes hand in hand with their opposition to a national vote of the people on entrance into the war.

If you can still laugh, read this: “It is in no sense a conscription of the unwilling; it is rather selection from a nation which has volunteered in mass.”

President Wilson said this in his draft proclamation.

They Will Dragoon All of Us

How about exemptions from the draft?

The draft bill is all written and is waiting in Roosevelt’s file to be introduced in Congress on M-Day. The only exemption it authorizes – besides the Vice-President, Congressmen and the highest federal and state officials – is for members of pacifist religious sects “IF the conscientious holding of such belief by such person shall be established under such regulations as the President may prescribe; but no such person shall be relieved from service in such capacity as the President may declare to be non-combattant.”

No one else can be exempted, even mayors, inferior federal and state officials, ministers of religion, etc., not to speak of ordinary workingmen. At best, if the draft board decides that they are needed at home at least at the moment, their military service can only be DEFERRED. This is a separate classification, and can be revoked by decision of the same draft board. The board need not assign any reason for any decision to anyone but the President.


Last updated on: 13 March 2016