January 28, 2013

Pop Quiz: Conscription

What U.S. policy ended with the Vietnam War?

Julian: The Vietnam War was a long and deadly conflict. More than three million people were killed, and more than half of those were Vietnamese civilians.

The U.S. first got involved in Vietnam in the 1950s in an effort to try to stop the spread of Communism. America backed South Vietnam as it fought against the north, which wanted Vietnam to be under communist rule. Our biggest rival, and another communist nation, the Soviet Union, supported the north.

Vietnam was a tough war fought in a region of the world the U.S. knew very little about. But as the conflict spread, battles were fought not just in Vietnam, but in neighboring Cambodia and Laos.

By the late 1960s, the Vietnam War grew more unpopular among Americans and there began to be protests around the country.

Though the U.S. pulled out in 1973 with heavy losses, the war continued until 1975 when North Vietnam took over the south. The next year, the country became one communist nation.

In all, 58,000 Americans were killed, and more than 150,000 were injured in Vietnam.

More than nine million Americans served on active duty during the Vietnam conflict. But in early 1973, the U.S. ended a controversial policy – one that had been in place for more than 30 years. Let’s see if you can figure out what we are referring to.

What U.S. policy ended with the Vietnam War? Is it:

A. Geneva Convention

B. Military draft

C. Cold War

D. Kyoto Protocol

You have got ten seconds!

Times up!

The right answer is “B.” The military draft ended after the U.S. signed a peace agreement with Vietnam.

The U.S. draft, also called conscription, required young men to serve in the military during war and peacetime. Women have not been a part of the draft in the U.S.

More than 10 million men entered mandatory service in World War II alone.

During the early ‘70s, as the Vietnam War dragged on, the backlash against the draft gained momentum with protests and the burning of draft cards. And some young men avoided the draft by leaving the country.

By 1973, it was announced that there would be no more draft orders and the U.S. started moving to an all volunteer military.

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