Today in AFJ History

December 8, 2013  

1944: Proposals for a post-war draft

John J. McCloy served as Assistant Secretary of Warfrom 1941 to 1945. Here, he arrives in Berlin for the 1945 Potsdam Conference.

From the archive:  December 2, 1944

Editor’s note: “As World War II was coming to an end, the House, on March 28, 1944, established the Select Committee on Post-War Military Policy composed of seven members each from the committees on military and naval affairs and nine additional members. The select committee was directed to study postwar military requirements and report the findings periodically. Clifton A. Woodrum of Virginia served as chairman.” —

Peacetime Draft

From many sources this week came endorsement of a system of peacetime compulsory military training, while the House Select Post-War Military Policy Committee, in a formal report to the House declared that if the committee is continued in the 79th Congress “there are most important items of its agenda, including the subject of universal military training.”

“This important subject should be most carefully explored at an early date,” the committee said.

Speaking in Chicago, 26 Nov., Assistant Secretary of War [John J.] McCloy declared that our military leaders are unanimous in the belief that only through a sound system of universal military training can the nation achieve national security. If war comes again, he said, the aggressors will strike first and fast. Mr. McCloy said that an informal poll of soldiers throughout the world in late 1943 and 1944 disclosed that two-thirds of American soldiers favor military training for all young men in peacetime.

Mrs. Roosevelt declared that, if compulsory military training is adopted, it would be a good idea to send volunteers overseas to serve part of their year with the armies of occupation.