General Lewis B. Hershey and Conscientious Objection during World War II
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Missouri Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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From 1941 to 1970, the name Lewis Blaine Hershey was synonymous with the U.S. draft. As director of Selective Service, General Hershey was chief administrator of the institution through which the United States conscripted armies for World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Though Hershey’s career in conscription planning and administration...
Chapter 1: An Emphasis on Service: Civilian Public Service and the Citizen Soldier Tradition
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A discussion of Hershey’s importance to conscientious objection during World War II requires a brief examination of both Civilian Public Service and the concept of the citizen soldier. Hershey firmly believed both in the right of the CO to object and in the citizen soldier tradition. Thus, his concept of alternative service melded the...
Chapter 2: Background and Beliefs of Hershey
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Some of Lewis Hershey’s beliefs about and attitudes toward conscientious objection and national service developed well before he became director of the Selective Service. Comparing his early life experiences to his later musings on the nature of the conscientious objector and alternative service reveals that his background and life experiences ...
Chapter 3: History and Demands of Manpower and Conscientious Objection
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The United States has a long-standing history of conscientious objection to military service. Its earliest roots come from the Quakers, who arrived in Britain’s North American colonies in the midseventeenth century. Although conscientious objection has been a part of the American military experience from the colonial era, the lack of...
Chapter 4: The Early Agents of Objection and Conscription: The Historic Peace Churches, the Interwar Years, and the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940
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Prior to the passage of the Selective Service Act in September of 1940, entities involved in provisions for conscientious objection began to mobilize for the possibility of conscription. The efforts of the Historic Peace Churches were the most prevalent during this time as peace and nonresistance were central features of their doctrine and identity. ...
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Chapter 5: Hershey and Conscientious Objection during the Peacetime Draft, September 1940–December 1941
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Though the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 established alternative service for the conscientious objector, there were still more questions than answers about the form that service should take. Lewis Hershey, when serving as acting director, deputy director, and, finally, director of Selective Service, did much during the crucial...
Chapter 6: Hershey and Conscientious Objection in the Time of War, 1941–1944
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The Japanese Navy’s surprise attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7 shocked millions in the United States and thrust the nation into the war as a combatant. It shifted the focus of Hershey and the Selective Service from drafting men for training to drafting them for fighting. Little about the handling of conscientious objection changed...
Chapter 7: Hershey and Congress Examine Conscientious Objection
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Though the Historic Peace Churches and the Selective Service handled most aspects of Civilian Public Service, Congress sometimes became involved and imposed its will on CPS. During the war, Hershey appeared before Congress on numerous occasions to testify about manpower, labor, and conscription. A few times he went to Capitol...
Chapter 8: Hershey and the End of Civilian Public Service, 1945–1946
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As 1944 turned to 1945, much had changed for the U.S. forces fighting in Europe and the Pacific. Having staved off a last-ditch effort by the German Army in the Ardennes Forest, Allied forces advanced across the Rhine into Germany. In the Pacific theater, the Allies recaptured the Philippines and prepared to invade Iwo Jima. However, ...
Chapter 9: Hershey and the Legacy of Alternative Service
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As CPS demobilized, Hershey began to muse on the successes and failures of the alternative service program. In the final days of CPS, Hershey and Kosch discussed with the Peace Churches what they believed had worked and what should be changed in the future. Many people involved in those evaluations concluded that had ...
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As an examination of General Lewis Blaine Hershey’s record and the CPS experience during World War II makes clear, Hershey’s personal belief in a duty of service for all eligible males, plus a tolerance for religious liberty, shaped alternative service during that conflict and beyond. Alternative service thus became the central precedent...
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Page Count: 215
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: American Military Experience