Dear YANK:

We, the undersigned soldiers, feeling deep concern for the security of our country and for the welfare of all who wear its uniform, wish to express our views about the continuation of the draft in the postwar period.

As we analyze the situation to the best of our ability, we can see three possible courses of action, and no more:

1)      To carry out the occupation of Germany and Japan with forces composes solely of volunteers.

2)      To maintain the armies of occupation at a higher numerical level than would be possible on a voluntary basis, and yet at the same time terminate the draft.

3)      To continue the draft until the occupation of Germany and Japan ceases to be necessary.

Here our opinions of the relative merits of these three courses:

1)      If we propose to occupy Germany and Japan with forces composed solely of volunteers, we might as well send one boy to Germany with a water pistol, and one to Japan with a cap gun.

2)      If the draft were immediately terminated, and the armies of occupation were nevertheless maintained at a higher numerical level than would be possible on a voluntary basis, the gravest injustice would be done to large numbers of men who would thus be required to serve overseas for an unforeseeable period of time, and with no prospect of relief. We don’t see how any American can justify to his conscience such a course of action.

3)      If the draft is continued throughout the period of occupation, a force adequate for our security can be maintained in the occupied countries as long as the need exists, and yet each man in the army of occupation will know in advance exactly how long he must serve before being discharged. The period of individual service would not be long. The working out of detailed plans can be best left to those who are in position of responsibility and have the necessary statistics at hand, but we suggest that one year’s service per man should be ample.

National security is one of the many things that cannot be got without paying a price. Continuation of the draft would keep the price low and distribute it evenly. Therefore, we conclude that wisdom and fairness demand the continuation of the draft throughout the entire period of the occupation.

—T-4 Charles R. Sleeth*

—Somewhere on Luzon

*Also signed by 300 others.

wwii victory day celebrations paris wwii draft

Soldiers celebrate the end of WWII in Paris

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Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941

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