You've Been Drafted!

To join the U.S armed forces

Selective Service System

The Selective Service System (SSS), has been a backup system for armed forces for over 50 years. This was created in 1917 when no men would volunteer to join World War 1. Men aged 21-30 were eligible for the draft, and 2.8 million men were drafted from 1917-1920. From 1948-1973, men were drafted once again when no men would volunteer to join World War 2, or the Vietnam War. The draft was officially terminated by President Ronald Reagan in 1973, after the Vietnam War ended.

Draft of 1969

About two-thirds of American soldiers volunteered to join the army, but the rest were chosen in the Selective Service, also known as a "draft". Most drafted men were from poor or middle class families. This draft took place on December 1st, 1969. The days of the year (including February 29th) were represented by the numbers 1-366 written on slips of paper. The slips were placed in plastic capsules and then dumped in a deep glass jar. Capsules were drawn from the jar one at a time. About 850,000 young men were involved in this. Prominent figures, like Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, OJ Simpson, and Bruce Springsteen were eligible for the Vietnam Draft.
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Who Was Drafted?

- Men that were born between 1944-1950 (18-26 years old)

- Most came from poor or middle class families, very few were rich

- Men who were not in college

- Men who had no physical disabilities

- Men who were in good health

CBS News Lottery Draft -1969

Vietnam War American Troop Levels

1960: 900

1961: 1,200

1962: 11,300

1963: 16,300

1964: 23,300

1965: 184,300

1966: 385,300

1967: 485,600

1968: 536,100

1969: 475,200

1970: 334,600

1971: 156,800

1972: 24,200

Avoiding the Draft

Many tried to avoid the draft, because they believed that it was unfair. They did whatever they could to get out of the draft, and thought of the most creative ways to do so. Some got a deferment, from wealthy people, smoked ink-dipped cigarettes to fake turberculosis, and went countless nights without sleep to give themselves temporary bad health. These were known as "Draft-Dodgers", a term that was extremly popular during the Vietnam War.. A large majority of these draft-dodgers fled to Canada, as well as Sweden, France, and the United Kindgdom. The brave men who did stay were outraged at the thought of going back to war and as a result, anti-war protests and marches began to break out throughout America.

Anti-War Protests

Protests and marches began among peace activists and leftist on college campuses, but soon started to gain attention in the late 60's, after the United States began to bomb North Vietnam. Many were confused, and did not understand why the U.S was once again at war. Anti-war protests began to break out, and conued thoughout the rest of the 60's and into the 70's. Men would burn their draft card, fly abroad, and do whatever it took to get their hate of war across. These marches and protests became big when civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. went public with his opposition of the war, as well as his disproporportinate number of African-American solders killed in relation to other soldiers. As the war continued, tensions continued to grow higher, and more violence was used. This caused young men to flee the country to avoid punishment. These protests came to an end in January of 1973.
1967 Vietnam War protests in New York City and San Francisco - newsreel and archival footage

Works Cited

Hancock, John. "AllGov - Departments." AllGov - Departments. 13 Feb. 1996. Web. 3 June 2015.


Magazine, Vietnam. "What's Your Number?" History Net Where History Comes Alive World US History Online Whats Your Number Comments. 5 Nov. 2009. Web. 3 June 2015.


Schechter, Eric. "Opinion: How I Got out of the Vietnam War Draft." Time. Time, 16 Sept. 2014. Web. 3 June 2015.


"The Military Draft and 1969 Draft Lottery for the Vietnam War." The Military Draft and 1969 Draft Lottery for the Vietnam War. 27 Oct. 2012. Web. 3 June 2015.



Wallechinsky, David. "AllGov - Departments." AllGov - Departments. 2015. Web. 3 June 2015.