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Why We Refused to Register for the Draft

Donald Benedict et al.


Introduction: The Selective Service and Training Act of 1940, the first peacetime conscription in the nation's history, established Civilian Public Service camps as an alternative to military service. Persons who opposed participation in war as conscientious objectors were assigned work on various public projects, such as land reclamation, forest-fire fighting, and hospital work. It has been estimated that over 12,000 conscientious objectors performed noncombatant service in these camps during World War II. In October 1940, eight students in New York City refused even to register for the draft, claiming that civilian public service was but another aspect of a government policy of which they disapproved. The group, which had been l...

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