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Conscription (also known as the draft, call-up or national service) is a general term for involuntary enrollment in the service of a country. It is most often used in the specific sense of requiring citizens to serve in the armed forces. It is known by various names — for example, the most recent conscription program in the United States was known colloquially as "the draft". Many nations do not maintain conscription forces, instead relying on a volunteer or professional military most of the time, although many of these countries still reserve the possibility of conscription for wartime and during times of crises.

Referring to compulsory service in the armed forces, the term "conscription" has two main meanings:

  • compulsory service, usually of young men of a given age, e.g., 17–18, for a set period of time, commonly one-to-two years. In the United Kingdom and Singapore this was commonly known as "national service"; in New Zealand, at first compulsory military training and later national service.
  • compulsory service, for an indefinite period of time, in the context of a widespread mobilisation of forces for fighting war, including on the home territory, usually imposed on men in a much wider age group (e.g., 18–55). (In the United Kingdom this was commonly known as "call-up").

The term "conscription" refers only to the mandatory service; thus, those undergoing conscription are known as "conscripts" or, in the United States, "selectees" (from the Selective Service System).

     No armed forces      No conscription      Plan to abolish conscription in the near future      Conscription      No information




Around the reign of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE), the Babylonian Empire used a system of conscription called Ilkum. Under the system those eligible were required to serve in the royal army in time of war.[1] During times of peace they were instead required to provide labour for other activities of the state.[1] In return for this service, those subject to it gained the right to hold land.[1] It is possible that this right was not to hold land per se but specific land supplied by the state.[1]

Various forms of avoiding military service are recorded. While it was outlawed by the Code of Hammurabi, the hiring of substitutes appears to have been practiced both before and after the creation of the code.[2] Later records show that Ilkum commitments could become regularly traded.[2] In other places, people simply left their towns to avoid their Ilkum service.[2] Another option was to sell Ilkum lands and the commitments along with them. With the exception of a few exempted classes, this was forbidden by the Code of Hammurabi.[2]

Feudal levies

Under the feudal conditions for holding land in the medieval period, most peasants and freemen were liable to provide one man of suitable age per family for military duty when required by either the king or the local lord. Those who refused became outlaws. The levies raised in this way fought as infantry under local superiors. This was essentially an early form of conscription. Although the exact laws varied greatly depending on the country and the period, generally these levies were only obliged to fight for one to three months. Most were subsistence farmers, and it was in every lord's interest to send the men home for harvest-time.

Military slavery

The system of military slaves was widely used in the Middle East, beginning with the Egyptians training Mamluks from the 9th century, to the Turks and Ottoman Empire through the 19th century.

In the middle of the 14th century, Ottoman Sultan Murad I developed personal troops to be loyal to him, with a slave army called the Kapıkulu. The new force was built by kidnapping Christian children, especially from the far areas of his empire, in a system known as the devşirme (translated "blood tax" or "child collection"). The captive children were persuaded to convert to Islam. The Sultans had the young boys trained over several years. Those who showed special promise in fighting skills were trained in advanced warrior skills, put into the sultan's personal service, and turned into the Janissaries, the elite branch of the Kapıkulu. This soldier class became a decisive factor in the Ottoman invasions of Europe.[citation needed]

Most of the military commanders of the Ottoman forces, imperial administrators and upper-level officials of the Ottoman Empire, such as Pargalı İbrahim Pasha and Sokollu Mehmet Paşa, were recruited in this way.[3] By 1609 the Sultan's Kapıkulu forces increased to about 100,000.[4] As European Christian states increased in military power, they were able to stem and eventually repel most of the Islamic riazzas (invasions) into the European heartland.

The Sultan began turning to the Barbary Pirates. Their attacks on ships off the coast of Africa or in the Mediterranean , and capture of people for ransom or sale provided some captives for the Sultan's system. Eventually the Sultan turned to foreign volunteers from the warrior clans of Circassians in southern Russia to fill his Janissary armies. As a whole the system began to break down. The loyalty of the Jannissaries became increasingly suspect. Mahmud II forcibly disbanded the Janissary corps in 1826.[5][6]

Similar to the Janissaries in origin and means of development were the Mamluks of Egypt in the Middle Ages. The Mamluks were iusually captive non-Muslim Iranian and Turkish children who had been kidnapped or bought as slaves from the Barbary coasts. The Egyptians assimilated and trained the boys and young men to become Islamic soldiers who served the Muslim caliphs and the Ayyubid sultans during the Middle Ages. The first mamluks served the Abbasid caliphs in 9th century Baghdad. Over time they became a powerful military caste. On more than one occasion, they seized power, for example, ruling Egypt from 1250–1517.

From 1250 Egypt had been ruled by the Bahri dynasty of Kipchak origin. Slaves from the Caucasus served in the army and formed an elite corp of troops. They eventually revolted in Egypt to form the Burgi dynasty. The Mamluks' excellent fighting abilities, massed Islamic armies, and overwhelming numbers succeeded in overcoming the Christian Crusader fortresses in the Holy Land. The Mamluks were the most successful defense against the Mongol Ilkhanate of Persia and Iraq from entering Egypt.[7]

On the western coast of Africa, Berber Muslims captured non-Muslims to put to work as laborers. They generally converted the younger people to Islam and many became quite assimilated. In Morocco, the Berber looked south rather than north. The Moroccan Sultan Moulay Ismail, called "the Bloodthirsty" (1672–1727), employed a corps of 150,000 black slaves, called his Black Guard. He used them to coerce the country into submission.[8]

Invention of modern conscription

The Swedish allotment system of the 17th century predates most conscription policies. The official layout of the system differs from the French and modern ones, but the effect was the same though on a lesser scale.

Modern conscription, the massed military enlistment of national citizens (today recognized in the USA as "the draft"), was devised during the French Revolution, to enable the Republic to defend itself from the attacks of European monarchies. Deputy Jean-Baptiste Jourdan gave its name to the September 5, 1798 Act, whose first article stated: "Any Frenchman is a soldier and owes himself to the defense of the nation." It enabled the creation of the Grande Armée, what Napoleon Bonaparte called "the nation in arms," which successfully battled European professional armies. More than 2.6 million men were inducted into the French military in this way between the years 1800 and 1813.[9]

The defeat of the Prussian Army shocked the Prussian establishment, which had believed it was invincible after the Frederician victories. Scharnhorst advocated adopting the levée en masse, the military conscription used by France. The Krümpersystem was the beginning of short-term compulsory service in Prussia, as opposed to the long-term conscription previously used.[10]

In the Russian Empire, the military service time "owed" by serfs was 25 years at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1834 it was decreased to 20 years. The recruits were to be not younger than 17 and not older than 35.[11] In 1874 Russia introduced universal conscription on the modern pattern was introduced, an innovation only made possible by the abolition of serfdom in 1861. New military law decreed that all male Russian subjects, when they reached the age of 20, were eligible to serve in the military for six years.[12]

The Union Army introduced conscription in the American Civil War. The 1863 Enrollment Act permitted draftees to hire paid substitutes to fight in their place. This, and the bounty system, led to widespread dislike of conscription by the public at large; the New York Draft Riots were one symptom. In addition, draftees were viewed with disdain by volunteer soldiers and their officers. In the end, the draft provided only 6% of the Union Army's manpower. The US did not use conscription again until 1917 in preparation for war in Europe.[13]

Louis Althusser has underlined how Machiavelli was one of the first modern theorists to consider the relationship between conscription and the creation of a nation, or successfully bolstering patriotism. Machiavelli despised the use of mercenaries and professional armies, which at that time were ravaging the divided Italian states.

Sending conscripts to foreign wars that do not directly affect the home nation's security has historically been politically contentious in democracies. For instance, during World War I, bitter disputes broke out in Canada (see Conscription Crisis of 1917), Australia and New Zealand (see Compulsory Military Training) over conscription. Canada also had a political dispute over conscription during World War II (see Conscription Crisis of 1944). Similarly, mass protests against conscription to fight the Vietnam War occurred in the United States and allied countries in the late 1960s. (See also: Conscription Crisis)

Drafting of women

As of 2006, countries that were drafting women into military service included China, Eritrea, Israel, Libya, Malaysia, North Korea, Peru, Taiwan, Egypt and Tunisia[14][15]. In the United Kingdom during World War II, beginning in 1941, women were brought into the scope of conscription but, as all women with dependent children were exempt and many women were informally left in occupations such as nursing or teaching, the number conscripted was relatively few.[16]. In the USSR, there was no systematic conscription of women for the armed forces, but the severe disruption of normal life and the high proportion of civilians affected by World War II after the German invasion attracted many volunteers for what was termed "The Great Patriotic War".[17] The United States came close to drafting women into the Nurse Corps in preparation for a planned invasion of Japan.[18][19]

In 1981 in the United States, several men filed lawsuit in the case Rostker v. Goldberg, alleging that the Military Selective Service Act violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment by requiring that men only register with the Selective Service System (SSS). The Supreme Court eventually upheld the Act, stating that "the argument for registering women was based on considerations of equity, but Congress was entitled, in the exercise of its constitutional powers, to focus on the question of military need, rather than 'equity.'"[20]

On October 1, 1999 in the Taiwan Area, the Judicial Yuan of the Republic of China in its Interpretation 490 considered that the physical differences between males and females and the derived role differentiation in their respective social functions and lives would not make drafting males only violating the Constitution of the Republic of China.[21] Though women are conscripted in Taiwan, transsexual persons are exempt.[22]

Conscientious objection

A conscientious objector is an individual whose personal beliefs are incompatible with military service, or sometimes with any role in the armed forces. In some countries, conscientious objectors have special legal status, which augments their conscription duties. For example, Sweden allows conscientious objectors to choose a service in the "weapons-free" branch, such as an airport fireman, nurse or telecommunications technician. Some may also refuse such service as they feel that they still are a part of the military complex. The reasons for refusing to serve are varied. Some conscientious objectors are so for religious reasons — notably, the members of the historic peace churches are pacifist by doctrine, and Jehovah's Witnesses, while not strictly speaking pacifists, refuse to participate in the armed services on the grounds that they believe Christians should be neutral in worldly conflicts.

Evading the draft

Historically, there has been resistance to conscription in almost every country and situation where it has been imposed.[citation needed] The New York Draft Riots (July 11 to July 16, 1863; known at the time as Draft Week), were violent disturbances in New York City that were the culmination of discontent with new laws passed by Congress to draft men to fight in the ongoing American Civil War. The Central Asian Revolt started in the summer of 1916, when the Russian Empire government ended its exemption of Muslims from military service.

In the USA and some other countries, the Vietnam War saw new levels of opposition to conscription and the Selective Service System. Many people opposed to and facing conscription chose to either apply for classification and assignment to civilian alternative service or noncombatant service within the military as conscientious objectors, or to evade the draft by fleeing to a neutral country. A small proportion, like Muhammad Ali, chose to resist the draft by publicly and politically fighting conscription. Some people resist at the point of registration for the draft. In the USA since 1980, for example, the draft resistance movement has focused on mandatory draft registration. Others resist at the point of induction, when they are ordered to put on a uniform, when they are ordered to carry or use a weapon, or when they are ordered into combat.

In the United States, especially during the Vietnam Era, some used political connections to ensure that they were placed well away from any potential harm, serving in what was termed a Champagne unit. Many would avoid military service altogether through college deferments, by becoming fathers, or serving in various exempt jobs (teaching was one possibility). Others used educational exemptions, became conscientious objectors or pretended to be conscientious objectors, although they might then be drafted for non-combat work, such as serving as a combat medic. It was also possible they could be asked to do similar civilian work, such as being a hospital orderly.

It was, in fact, quite easy for those with some knowledge of the system to avoid being drafted. A simple route, widely publicized, was to get a medical rejection. While a person could claim to have symptoms (or feign homosexuality) if enough physicians sent letters that a person had a problem, he might well be rejected. It often wasn't worth the Army's time to dispute this claim. Such an approach worked best in a larger city where there was no stigma to not serving, and the potential draftee was not known to those reviewing him.

For others, the most common method of avoiding the draft was to cross the border into another country. People who have been "called up" for military service and who attempted to avoid it in some way were known as "draft-dodgers". Particularly during the Vietnam War, US draft-dodgers usually made their way to Canada, Mexico or Sweden.

Many people looked upon draft-dodgers with scorn as being "cowards", but some supported them in their efforts. In the late years of the Vietnam War, objections against it and support for draft-dodgers was much more outspoken, because of the casualties suffered by American troops, and the actual cause and purpose of the war being heavily questioned.

Toward the end of the US draft, an attempt was made to make the system somewhat fairer by turning it into a lottery, with each of the year's calendar dates randomly assigned a number. Men born on lower numbered dates were called up for review. For the reasons given above, this did not make the system any fairer, and the entire system ended in 1973. Today, American men 18-25 are required to register with the government, but there has not been a callup since the Vietnam Era.

There are those who are immune to the draft in certain countries; these people include anyone[citation needed] who works for the government (teachers, police officers, lawmakers, etc), people who work for government contractors, and those who work in jobs essential to the operation of the country (waste management, power plants, etc). In the United Kingdom this is known as a reserved occupation which is deemed necessary to the survival of the nation.

In Israel, the Muslim and Christian Arab minority are exempt from mandatory service, as are permanent residents such as the Druze of the Golan Heights. Ultra-Orthodox Jews may apply for a deferment of draft to study in Yeshiva, but once they are finished studying, they are required to do national or army service. Druze and Circassian Israeli citizens are liable, by agreement with their community leaders. Members of the exempted groups can still volunteer, but very few do, except for the Bedouin where a relatively large number have tended to volunteer.

Countries with and without mandatory military service

See: Military service
Conscription by country — Examples
Country Land area (km2) [23] GDP nominal (US$M)[24] Per capita
GDP (US$)[25]
Population[26] Government[27] Conscription[28]
Albania 27,398 $10,620 $2,949.57 3,619,778 emerging democracy Yes
Algeria 2,381,740 $90,000 $2,700.01 33,333,216 republic Yes
Angola 1,246,700 $28,610 $2,332.92 12,263,596 republic; multiparty presidential regime Yes
Argentina 2,736,690 $210,000 $5,210.67 40,301,927 republic Legal, not practiced
Australia 7,617,930 $644,700 $31,550.09 20,434,176 federal parliamentary democracy No (abolished by parliament in 1972)[29]
Austria 82,444 $310,100 $37,818.07 8,233,300 federal republic Yes
Bahamas 10,070 $6,586, $21,547.17 307,451 constitutional parliamentary democracy No
Bangladesh 133,910 $72,420 $481.36 153,546,896 parliamentary democracy No
Belgium 30,528 $316,200 $31,400 10,584,534 federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy No (conscription suspended since 1994)
Belize 22,806 $1,274 $4,327.67 301,270 parliamentary democracy Military service is voluntary
Bhutan 47,000 $1,308 $561.89 682,321 in transition to constitutional monarchy; special treaty relationship with India Yes (selective)
Bolivia 1,084,390 $13,190 $1,446.41 9,247,816 republic Yes (when annual number of volunteers falls short of goal[30])
Bosnia and Herzegovina 51,197 $14,780 $3,246.78 4,590,310 emerging federal democratic republic Yes
Brazil 8,456,510 $967,000 $6,915.40 196,342,592 federal republic Yes
Bulgaria 110,550 $39,610 $5,409.09 7,262,675 parliamentary democracy No (abolished by law on January 1, 2008[31])
Burma 657,740 $13,530 $285.60 47,758,180 military junta No[28]

Officially prohibited, de facto still practiced[32][33][34][35]

China, People's Republic of 9,326,410 $3,251,000 $2,459.43 1,330,044,544 Communist state Yes (selective[28]) (Legalized by law, but have not yet been practiced[citation needed])
Croatia 56,414 $51,360 $11,430.32 4,491,543 presidential/parliamentary democracy No (abolished by law in 2008)[36]
Cuba 110,860 $45,580 $4,000.34 11,423,952 Communist state Yes (both sexes[citation needed])
Denmark 42,394 $311,900 $57,039.71 5,484,723 constitutional monarchy Yes
Djibouti 22,980 $841 $1,694.29 506,221 republic No
El Salvador 20,720 $20,370 $2,931.75 7,066,403 republic Legal, not practiced
Finland 304,473 $245,000 $46,769.47 5,244,749 republic Yes (Alternative service available)
France 640,053[37] $2,560,000 $35,240.62 61,037,510 republic No (suspended in 2001)[38]
Gambia, The 10,000 $653 $386.77 1,735,464 republic No
Germany 349,223 $3,322,000 $40,315.05 82,369,552 federal republic Yes (Alternative service available[39])
Greece 130,800 $314,600 $29,384.60 10,722,816 parliamentary republic Yes
Grenada 344 $590 $6,557.67 90,343 parliamentary democracy No (no military service)
Hungary 92,340 $138,400 $13,901.01 9,930,915 parliamentary democracy No (Peacetime conscription abolished in 2004[40])
Iran 1,636,000 $193,500 $2,958.83 68,251,090 theocratic republic Yes
India 2,973,190 $1,099,000 $972.68 1,147,995,904 federal republic No
Indonesia 1,826,440 $432 $3,980 237,512,352 republic selective
Israel 20,330 $161,900 $25,191.86 7,112,359 parliamentary democracy Yes
Jamaica 10,831 $11,210 $4,032.18 2,804,332 constitutional parliamentary democracy No
Japan 374,744 $4,384,000 $34,402.26 127,288,416 constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government No
Jordan 91,971 $16,010 $2,644.89 6,198,677 constitutional monarchy Uncertain[41]
Korea, North 120,410 $40,000[42] $1,800[42] 23,479,088[42] Communist state one-man dictatorship[42] Yes[43]
Korea, South 98,190 $957,100 $19,514.81 48,379,392 republic Yes
Kuwait 17,820 $60,720 $24,234.11 2,505,559 constitutional emirate Yes
Lebanon 10,230 $24,640 $6,276.90 3,971,941 republic No (abolished in 2007)[44]
Libya 1,759,540 $57,060 $9,451.85 6,173,579 jamahiriya (a state of the masses) in theory, governed by the populace through local councils; in practice, an authoritarian state Yes
Lithuania 65,300 $38,350 $10,725.96 3,565,205 parliamentary democracy No (Suspended on September 15, 2008)[45]
Luxembourg 2,586 $50,160 $104,451.69 486,006 constitutional monarchy No
Macedonia, Republic of 24,856 $7,497 $3,646.55 2,061,315 parliamentary democracy No (abolished in 2006)[46]
Malaysia 328,550 $186,500 $7,513.71 25,274,132 constitutional elective monarchy No
Maldives 300 $1,049 $2,842.58 385,925 republic No
Malta 316 $7,419 $18,460.73 403,532 republic No
Mexico 1,972,550 $893,400 $8,218.88 109,955,400 republic Yes
Moldova 33,371 $4,227 $978.36 4,324,450 republic Yes
Netherlands 33,883 $768,700 $46,389.35 16,645,313 constitutional monarchy Legal, suspended since 1997 [47]
New Zealand 268,021 $128,100 $31,124.18 4,173,460 parliamentary democracy No
Pakistan 778,720 $143,800 $872.88 172,800,048 federal republic No
Philippines 298,170 $144,100 $2,582.17 96,061,680 republic Legal[48]. Practiced selectively and only rarely[49]
Poland 304,459 $420,300 $10,911.71 38,500,696 republic No[50]
Qatar 11,437 $67,760 $74,688.97 824,789 emirate No
Romania 230,340 $166,000 $7,451.95 22,246,862 republic No (ended in 2007)[51]
Russia 16,995,800 $1,290,000 $9,124.49 140,702,096 federation Yes (Alternative service available)
Rwanda 24,948 $3,320 $335.10 10,186,063 republic; presidential, multiparty system No
Saudi Arabia 376,000 $276,900 $13,622.68 28,146,656 monarchy No
Seychelles 455 $710 $8,669.64 82,247 republic Yes
Singapore 682.7 $161,300 $35,427.12 4,608,167 parliamentary republic Yes
Slovenia 20,151 $46,080 $22,933.99 2,007,711 parliamentary republic No[52]
South Africa 1,219,912 $282,600 $6,423.04 48,782,756 republic No
Spain 499,542 $1,439,000 $35,576.37 40,491,052 parliamentary monarchy No
Syria 184,050 $37,760 $1,954.98 19,747,586 republic under an authoritarian military-dominated regime Yes
Swaziland 17,203 $2,936 $2,591.20 1,128,814 monarchy No
Switzerland 39,770 $423,900 $56,111.06 7,581,520 formally a confederation but similar in structure to a federal republic Yes
(Republic of China)
32,260 $383,300 $16,768.11 22,920,946 multiparty democracy Yes (alternative service available[54])

An all-volunteer force is planned by the end of 2014, but conscription will remain in practice thereafter.[55]

Thailand 511,770 $245,700 $3,776.0 65,493,296 constitutional monarchy Yes
Tonga 718 $219 $1,873.06 119,009 constitutional monarchy No
Trinidad and Tobago 5,128 $20,700 $19,590.99 1,047,366 parliamentary democracy No
Turkey 770,760 $663,400 $9,322.83 71,892,808 republican parliamentary democracy Yes
Venezuela 882,050 $236,400 $9,084.09 26,414,816 federal republic Yes[56][57]
United Kingdom 241,590 $2,773,000, $45,626.38 60,943,912 constitutional monarchy No (except Bermuda Regiment )
United States 9,161,923 $13,840,000 $45,958.70 303,824,640 Constitution-based federal republic No[58] Registration remains required.
Vanuatu 12,200 $455 $2,146.52 215,446 parliamentary republic No

Arguments against conscription


Some groups, such as libertarians, say that the draft constitutes slavery, since it involves the State taking ownership of the subject's life and labor.[59]


Traditionally conscription has been limited to the male population, as males have been warriors. Women and handicapped males have been exempted from conscription. Many societies have traditionally considered military service as a test of manhood and a rite of passage from boyhood into manhood.[60][61] Pacifist feminists oppose conscription of women as well as men, arguing that it would have women become their own enemy by taking part in a patriarchal oppressive construct of the military. Israel is one country that does draft women, with exceptions for marriage and pregnancy reasons.


It can be argued that in a cost-to-benefit ratio, conscription during peace time is not worthwhile.[62] Months or years of service amongst the most fit and capable subtracts from the productivity of the economy; add to this the cost of training them, and in some countries paying them. Compared to these extensive costs, some would argue there is very little benefit; if there ever was a war then conscription and basic training could be completed quickly, and in any case there is little threat of a war in most countries with conscription. In the United States, every male resident must register with the Selective Service System on his 18th birthday, so he is available for a draft.

The cost of conscription can be related to the parable of the broken window. Military service can be related to any other work, such as that of policemen. The costs of work do not disappear anywhere even if no salary is paid. The work effort of the conscripts is effectively wasted; unwilling work force is extremely inefficient and the conscripts also lose their the costs of all-volunteer paid force. The impact is especially severe in wartime, when civilian professionals are forced to fight as amateur soldiers. Not only is the work effort of the conscripts wasted and productivity is lost, but professionally-skilled conscripts are also difficult to replace in the civilian work force. Every soldier conscripted in the army is taken away from his civilian work, and away from contributing to the economy which funds the military. This is not a problem in an agrarian or pre-industrialized state where the level of education is universally low, and where a worker is easily replaced by another. However, this proves extremely problematic in a post-industrial society where educational levels are high and where the work force is highly sophisticated and a replacement for a conscripted specialist is difficult to find. Even direr economic consequences result if the professional conscripted as an amateur soldier is killed or maimed for life; his work effort and productivity is irrevocably lost.[63]

Arguments for conscription

Political and moral motives

Jean Jacques Rousseau argued vehemently against professional armies, feeling it was the right and privilege of every citizen to participate to the defense of the whole society and a mark of moral decline to leave this business to professionals. He based this view on the development of the Roman republic, which came to an end at the same time as the Roman army changed from a conscript to professional force.[64] Similarly, Aristotle linked the division of armed service among the populace intimately with the political order of the state.[65] Niccolò Machiavelli argued strongly for conscription, seeing the professional armies as the cause of the failure of societal unity in Italy.

Some ideologies and cultures, and those based on collectivism or statism, such as Fascism, value the society and common good above the life of an individual. Those ideologies and world-views justify the state to force its members to protect itself and risk their lives for the common good. In states based on society-centered ideologies, world-views and religions, such as in all Communist countries, conscription is seen as the natural way of raising the army.[citation needed] Other proponents such as the late William James consider both mandatory military and national service as ways of instilling maturity in young adults.[66]

Economic & resource efficiency

In a very large war, (such as World War II) raising a large enough volunteer military would require dramatic increases in taxes or budget deficits.[citation needed] In such cases conscription can have lower negative impact than the impact of these higher taxes and possibly be more equitable (higher taxes would penalize those out of service much more than those in service).[citation needed]

It is estimated by the British military that in a professional military, one company deployed for active duty in peacekeeping corresponds to three inactive companies at home. Salaries for each are paid from the military budget. In contrast, volunteers from a trained reserve are in their civilian jobs when they are not deployed.[67]

Related concepts

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Postgate, J.N. (1992). Early Mesopotamia Society and Economy at the Dawn of History. Routledge. p. 242. ISBN 0415110327. 
  2. ^ a b c d Postgate, J.N. (1992). Early Mesopotamia Society and Economy at the Dawn of History. Routledge. p. 243. ISBN 0415110327. 
  3. ^ Bernard Lewis. Race and Slavery in the Middle East, Chapter readings for class at Fordham University
  4. ^ "In the Service of the State and Military Class"
  5. ^ Janissary corps, or Janizary, or Yeniçeri (Turkish military), Encyclopædia Britannica
  6. ^ Janissaries
  7. ^ The Mamluk (Slave) Dynasty (Timeline), Sunnah Online
  8. ^ Lewis. Race and Slavery in the Middle East, Oxford Univ Press, 1994.
  9. ^ "Conscription". Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. 
  10. ^ Dierk Walter. Preussische Heeresreformen 1807–1870: Militärische Innovation und der Mythos der "Roonschen Reform". 2003, in Citino, p. 130
  11. ^ Military service in Russia Empire
  12. ^ Conscription and Resistance: The Historical Context (archived from the original on 2008-06-03)
  13. ^ Brig. Gen. John S. Brown (August 1, 2007), The Draft, AUSA: Army Magazine,, retrieved 2007-01-15 
  14. ^ CBC News Indepth: International military
  15. ^ The Economic Costs and the Political Allure of Conscription (see footnote 3)
  16. ^ Roger Broad (2006), Conscription in Britain, 1939–1964: the militarisation of a generation, Taylor & Francis, p. 244, ISBN 9780714657011, 
    ^ Conscription into military service, Peace Pledge Union, 
  17. ^ Jack Cassin-Scott; Angus McBride (1980), Women at war, 1939-45, Osprey Publishing, pp. 33-34, ISBN 9780850453492, 
  18. ^ Draft Women?, Time magazine, January 15, 1945,,9171,775362,00.html, retrieved 2008-08-12 
  19. ^ The women's draft. An analysis of the controversy over the nurses' Selective Service Bill of 1945., PubMed, PMID: 4580476,, retrieved 2008-08-12 
  20. ^ Rostker v. Goldberg, Cornell Law School, retrieved 26 December 2006.
  21. ^ Judicial Yuan Interpretation 490 translated by Jiunn-rong Yeh
  22. ^ (Chinese)Attachment of the standard of the class of physical condition of a draftee, Conscription Agency, Ministry of the Interior
  23. ^ Nationmaster: Land area. SOURCE: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008.
  24. ^ Nationmaster: GDP. SOURCE: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008
  25. ^ Nationmaster: Per capita GDP. SOURCE: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008.
  26. ^ Nationmaster: Population. SOURCE: World Development Indicators database and CIA World Factbooks.
  27. ^ Nationmaster: Government type. SOURCE: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008.
  28. ^ a b c Nationmaster: Conscription. SOURCE: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland, 1997. Data collected from the nations concerned, or as otherwise indicated.
  29. ^ Conscription was abolished by law in 1973. But the Defence Act 1903 as amended retained a provision that it could be reintroduced by proclamation of the Governor-General. Potentially all Australian residents between the ages of 18 and 60 could be called up in this way. However, the Defence Legislation Amendment Act 1992 further provided that any such proclamation is of no effect until it is approved by both Houses of Parliament. Though actual legislation is not required, the effect of this provision is to make the introduction of conscription impossible without the approval of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, Gary Brown (October 12, 1999). "Current Issues Brief 7 1999–2000 — Military Conscription: Issues for Australia". Parliamentary library; Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Group. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  30. ^ South America > Bolivia > Military,, 
  31. ^ Country report and updates: Bulgaria22 Oct 2008, War Resisters' International, 22 Octobar 2008, 
  32. ^ Burma: World's Highest Number of Child Soldiers, Human rights Watch, October 15, 2002, 
  33. ^ Six Youths Conscripted into Burmese Army, Narinjara News, August 4, 2009, 
  34. ^ Arakanese Youth Arrested and Conscripted by Burmese Army, War Resisters' International, June 19, 2009, 
  35. ^ Six Youths Conscripted into Burmese Army, Narinjara, August 4, 2009, 
  36. ^ Croatia to abolish conscription military service sooner, Southeast European Times, May 10, 2007,, retrieved 2008-05-30 
  37. ^ Includes the overseas regions of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Reunion. France, CIA World Factbook,, retrieved 2008-04-09 
  38. ^ Country report and updates: France, War Resisters' International, October 23, 2008.
  39. ^ §§ 14 ff. ZDG
  40. ^ Country report and updates: Hungary, War Resisters' International, October 23, 2008, 
  41. ^ Data from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland, 1997 indicates that Conscript Service was suspended indefinitely in 1992 and all members of the armed forces are regular volunteers. The CIA World Factbook entry for Jordan indicates based on 2004 data that conscription at age 18 was suspended in 1999, although all males under age 37 are required to register. The Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 indicates, citing "Mustafa al-Riyalat, Representatives agree flag and reserve la, ad-Dustour, April 2007", that compulsory Military Service Act No. 23 of 1986 put the minimum age limit at 18 and that this would be retained in the 2007 amendments.
  42. ^ a b c d "Korea, North". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 2007-08-12.  (2008 est.)
  43. ^ "North Korea, Military Conscription and Terms of Service". Based on the Country Studies Series by Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-08-12. .
  44. ^ Lebanon, CIA World Factbook,, retrieved 2008-05-30 
  45. ^ Lithuania: conscription suspended, War Resisters' International
  46. ^ Macedonia: Conscription abolished, War Resisters' International, 1 Jun 2006, 
  47. ^ Conscription still exists, but the compulsory attendance was held in abeyance per January 1, 1997 (effective per August 22, 1996), (unknown) (October 12, 1999). "Afschaffing dienstplicht". Tweede Kamer (Dutch House of Representatives) and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Royal Dutch Library). Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  48. ^ Article II Section 4 of The Philippine Constitution reads, "The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal, military or civil service."
  49. ^ Country report and updates: Philippines, War Resisters' international, April 14, 1998,§ military service 
  50. ^ "Poland's defence minister, Bogdan Klich, said the country will move towards a professional army and that from January, only volunteers will join the armed forces.", Matthew Day (5 August 2008), Poland ends army conscription,,, retrieved 2009-02-11 
  51. ^ Background Note: Romania, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, US Department ofState, April 2008,, retrieved 2008-05-30 
  52. ^ Changing the Way Slovenia Sees the Armed Forces, slonews, November 18, 2003,, retrieved 2009-10-13 
  53. ^ "Taiwan". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 2007-12-09.  (estimates based on 2006 data)
  54. ^ Substitute Service Center, Department Of Compulsory Military Service, Taipei City Government,, retrieved July 25, 2008 
  55. ^ Jimmy Chuang (March 10, 2009), Professional military by 2014: MND, Taipei times, .
  56. ^ CONSTITUTION OF THE BOLIVARIAN R E P U B L I C OF VENEZUELA. December 20, 1999 (Promulgation date). Retrieved 2009-11-01. (Articles 134, 135). 
  57. ^ Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (18 December 2003), Venezuela: Military service, including length of service, existence of alternative forms of service and penalties imposed on those who refuse to serve, U.N. Refugee Agency,,,IRBC,,VEN,4562d94e2,403dd226c,0.html, retrieved 2009-11-01 
  58. ^ The United States abandoned the draft in 1973 under President Richard Nixon, ended the Selective Service registration requirement in 1975 under President Gerald Ford, and then re-instated the Selective Service registration requirement in 1980 under President Jimmy Carter. Today the U.S. Selective Service System remains as a contingency, should a military draft be re-introduced. For more information see the U.S. Selective Service System website.
  59. ^ U.S. Representative Ron PaulConscription Is Slavery,, January 14, 2003.
  60. ^ Ben Shephard (2003), A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in the Twentieth Century, Harvard University Press, p. 18, ISBN 9780674011199, 
  61. ^ Carol R. Ember; Melvin Ember (2003), Encyclopedia of sex and gender: men and women in the world's cultures, Volume 2, Springer, pp. 108-109, ISBN 9780306477706, .
  62. ^ Henderson, David R. "The Role of Economists in Ending the Draft" (August 2005).
  63. ^ Milton Friedman (1967). "Why Not a Volunteer Army?". New Individualist Review. Retrieved 9 11 2008. 
  64. ^ Rousseau, J-J. Social Contract. Chapter "The Roman Comitia"
  65. ^ Aristotle, Politics, Book 6 Chapter VII and Book 4 Chapter XIII.
  66. ^ The Moral Equivalent of War - William James, 1906
  67. ^ Gustav Hägglund (2006) (in Finnish), Leijona ja kyyhky, Otava, ISBN 9511211617 

Further reading

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CONSCRIPTION (from Lat. con-, together, and scribere, to write), the selection, by lot or otherwise, of a proportion of the men of military age for compulsory service in the naval and military forces of their country; or, more widely, compulsory military service in any form. For a discussion of the military features of conscription and of other forms of recruiting see Army, §§ 40 ff. The present article deals with the economic and social aspects of compulsory military service, for which, generally and non-technically, the word "conscription" is used more commonly than any other. The word occurs for the first time in France in the law of the 19th Fructidor (1798), which prescribes the liability of les defenseurs conscrits to serve if required from their twentieth to twenty-fifth year of age.

There is perhaps no law on the statute-books of any nation which has exercised and is destined in the future to exercise a more far-reaching influence on the future of humanity than this little-known French act of 1798, introduced by General Jourdan to the Council of the Five Hundred, for it was the power thus conferred upon the French government which alone rendered the Napoleonic policy of conquest possible. "I can afford to expend thirty thousand men a month"; this boast of Napoleon's, made to Metternich at SchOnbrunn in 1805, has determined the trend of events from that day forward, not only on the battlefield, but also in the workshops, and forms even at the present day the chief guarantee for peace, stability and economic development upon the continent of Europe.

The idea in itself was not new. The principle that every able-bodied male is liable to be called on for the defence of the state dates from the earliest times. The essential importance of the event lies in this, that at a critical moment this law passed by an obscure body of men - absolutely in defiance of the opinion of the greatest reformer that France at that moment had discovered, Carnot, and of the feelings of a very large proportion of the whole community - became permanent by the action of causes set in motion by Napoleon, which ultimately compelled all Europe to adopt similar legislation.

To understand its full significance we must trace the line of evolution of the then existing armies of Europe.

In almost any state, in proportion as the central executive power prevailed over internal disturbance, the able-bodied males of each country ceased to have opportunities and incentives for training themselves to arms. Trade became more profitable than plunder, and men began to specialize in various directions. Wealth began to accumulate and fortresses sprang into existence for its protection, but the new fortifications required specialists for their reduction, and above all things an abundance of time. Militiayforces (corresponding to the former feudal levies) neither could find the specialized labour nor would afford the time - hence the necessity arose of enlisting men who had made the use of arms their special study and were content to abide by the rules of conduct their maintenance as organized bodies imposed. But wherever Europe happened to enjoy a few years of peace, the supply of men who had trained themselves to arms naturally decreased, and the state itself was compelled to assume the task of training its recruits. This, with the exceedingly complicated nature of the weapons in use, was a very long process, and though even in the 16th century the idea of universal service was put forward by such statesmen as Machiavelli and Maurice of Nassau, practically it could not be put into force, because in the time the male population could economically give to their training, satisfactory results could not be obtained.

As Motley has pointed out in his Rise of the Dutch Republic, in the time of Alva 5000 disciplined Spaniards were a match for 20,000 and more burghers, though the latter were fighting with the courage of desperation, and were of necessity more or less inured to the horrors of warfare. But with every improvement in the nature of hand firearms this ratio of superiority of the trained soldiers tended to disappear, whilst as campaigns became fewer and shorter the difficulty of obtaining war-trained soldiers, accustomed to fighting as the Spaniards had been, always increased.

Moreover, after the peace of Westphalia - the close of the great era of religious wars - wars were made for dynastic reasons and primarily for the acquisition of territory; and since the territory was of no use without inhabitants to pay revenue, the "principle of moderation was introduced into the conduct of hostilities, altogether foreign to their nature" (Clausewitz). Men were no longer allowed to live at free quarters or to pillage towns. On the contrary, even in an enemy's country, they had to submit to the severest restraints, and thus soldiering, being no longer remunerative, ceased to attract the more daring spirits.

Thus in the decade preceding the French Revolution soldiering had reached the very nadir of degradation all over Europe, and, though the Prussians, for instance, still retained a great relative superiority when fighting in closed bodies under the eyes of their leaders, the spirit which had led them to victory when fighting in and for their own country had entirely disappeared from their ranks when they had to face the French in their great struggle for existence.

Amongst the earliest problems of the French Revolution was the question of army reform, and compulsory service was at once proposed, and though for the time the opposition of most of the principal soldiers prevailed, ultimately a proposal was accepted by which voluntary enlistment was retained for the line, all unmarried citizens between eighteen and forty years of age constituted the militia, and the rest of the men the national guards for home defence.

The latter proved so popular that over 2,571,000 names were obtained. At once the militia was given up, and reliance was placed upon the national guard, which was called upon to furnish 169 battalions of volunteers. The result was disappointing. Only 60 incomplete battalions were furnished, and these (except for the few hundreds of enthusiasts amongst them from whom came many of the marshals, generals and colonels of the empire) were recruited from the least trustworthy sections of the community. These were the celebrated Volontaires and proved a positive scourge wherever they were quartered. It was clear that they could not meet the invaders, and the assembly decreed on the 11th of July 1792 "La patrie en danger," and ordered every able-bodied man to consider himself liable for active service, but left it to the communes and districts to select representatives to proceed to the front. These men were called Federes, and seem to have been principally those whom the communes desired to get rid of.

But, though the idea of compulsion was present, the means of enforcing the law at the time were so imperfect that the result of this effort was only 60,000 men, of whom not more than half ever reached the field armies. Further, the law had announced that the liability extended only for the duration of the particular campaign, which in accordance with the prevalent idea of war was considered to terminate when winter quarters were taken up. In December, therefore, most of the men raised during the year took their discharge, and with the new year the work had to begin all over again. To fill the gaps caused by this sudden defection, and in view of the addition of Great Britain to the list of their enemies, the Convention decreed on the 10th of February 1793 a fresh compulsory levy of 500,000 men. Quotas were assigned to each department and commune, and three days' grace was allowed to each to find their contingents by volunteering; failing this recourse was had to compulsion, all unmarried national guards between the ages of eighteen and forty being held liable. Thereupon thousands fled from their homes, and Vendee rose in open revolt.

Then on the 18th of March came the disaster of Neerwinden, and again the danger of invasion loomed near. In this emergency the Committee of Public Safety replaced the existing recruiting agents by special commissioners with unlimited power, and these ruthlessly hunted down those who attempted to evade their liability. Still the result was inadequate to meet the danger arising from the fall of Valenciennes and Conde. The Jacobins appeared before the Convention on the 12th of August and demanded the Levee en masse, and, using the popular outcry as a fulcrum, Carnot at length succeeded in introducing a workable scheme of compulsion, which limited the liability to service to all able-bodied men between eighteen and twenty-five, but within these limits allowed no exemptions. This became law on the 23rd of August, and it at once began to operate satis factorily, because it was limited to a class who were neither sufficiently numerous, nor sufficiently important politically, to resist coercion. Meanwhile other factors had intervened to render military service more popular. Famine was spreading, political persecution was at its highest, and the ranks of the army became almost the only refuge where men could escape the terrors of secret denunciation. Moreover, experience in the Netherlands and the Palatinate had shown that men could live very comfortably at their enemy's expense. All these causes combined made an immense increase in the yield of the new law, and, according to the careful estimate of the duc d'Aumale (1867), by the 1st of January 1794 there were no less than 770,000 men under arms and available for active service. The tide of success in the north of France now definitely turned against the Allies, for they were powerless against the mobility and numbers produced by hunger and political terrorism. Bonaparte's successes of 1796 were the highest expression of the "new French" method thus developed.

But with the respite which his victories in Italy immediately secured, a reaction against the severity of the conscription soon made itself felt, and the obvious need for internal development gave the discontented a lever for extorting concessions from the government.

To the political economists of the period it seemed a deliberate waste of productive energy to take the young merchant or clerk from his work and force a musket into his hands, whilst other men already trained were willing to renew their contract to defend the state. To regulate this question and also to define more clearly the obligations of the citizen, Jourdan introduced before the Five Hundred a report calling for a reorganization of the army. This ultimately, in the autumn of 1798, became the law of the country and remained practically unaltered as the basis of the French military organization down to 1870. The law definitely laid down the liability of every able-bodied French citizen to serve from his twentieth to his twenty-fifth year, leaving it to circumstances to determine how many classes or what proportion of each should be called up for service. Finally, after much discussion the right of exemption by payment of a substitute was conceded, and therein lay the germ of the disaster of 1870.

Meanwhile, with the assumption of the imperial title by Napoleon, the era of conquest recommenced, and as each fresh slice of territory was absorbed the French law of conscription was immediately enforced. This still further swelled the numerical preponderance against which the other nations had to contend, and each in turn was compelled to follow the French example. Prussia, however, alone pursued the idea to its logical conclusion, and in the law of 1808 definitely affirmed the principle of universal service without distinction of class or right of exemption by purchase.

Under the restrictions as to numbers imposed on Prussia by Napoleon after Tilsit, and also as a consequence of exceeding poverty, this law found only partial fulfilment, and voluntary organization had to be called into existence to meet the demand for numbers during the Wars of Liberation; but when after 1815 peace was at length assured, the system came into full operation, and it is to this that Prussia owed her phenomenal recovery from the depths of exhaustion into which the catastrophe of Jena had plunged her.

Army expenditure became the fly-wheel which steadied her disorganized finance. The troops had to be fed, clothed, equipped and housed; and the several occupations and trades involved in these processes gave profitable employment both to intellect, which was required to invent, devise and control, and to capital, which would have shirked the risks attending any but government contracts, and remained in private hoards, to the detriment of the reproductive power of the nation.

The compulsory intercourse of all ranks compelled the classes to educate the masses - using the term "education" in its broadest sense. Free book-education itself had been forced on the nation as a military necessity of the moment, for without a certain degree of intellectual develo p ment in the recruits it was impossible to make soldiers of them within the short time available. But the practical value and application of the book teaching had, in sheer self-defence, to be imparted by the betterclass recruits to their social inferiors, and, in the unconscious exercise of these functions as teachers of one another, all found themselves strengthened in character and universal sympathies.

The intelligence of the men reacted on the officers, who could no longer exercise authority by mere word of command, but were compelled, if they wished to survive, to teach by intelligent methods; and they were compelled to struggle for survival because outside of the army absolute ruin and destitution awaited them.

The duration of service being limited to three years, it followed that each year brought with it an influx of recruits to each battalion beyond the power of a few specialists to cope with. Hence the work had to be delegated to the captains and subalterns, who thus were compelled to become the teachers as well as the leaders of their men. The results from a military point of view were incalculable.

Perhaps the greatest benefit Prussia derived from her system during the first two generations - i.e. from 1810 to 1860 - of its continuance was the insensible fusion which took place between the aristocracy and the people as a consequence of their enforced co-operation in a common task. Freed from the fear of French oppression, the court and the older men of the nobility would have swung back to the full exercise of their old feudal privileges; for as they still retained the bulk of the executive power, all the legal reforms and restrictions initiated by von Stein would have proved but paper safeguards; but the army compelled the opposing classes to understand and appreciate one another better, and the younger generation, living always with the threat of invasion impending over them, learnt by emulation from their seniors, who had led their men in battle, the true secret of command, the art of awakening the higher instincts of the men entrusted to them. If it seems to British readers that their progress was slow and that much remains to be accomplished, their starting-point at the outbreak of the French Revolution must be recalled and contrasted with that of the British army; indeed, we must go back to the time of Henry VII. to find a fair parallel.

It must be remembered too that we are speaking of Prussia only. In the other states of Germany which retained conscription with paid substitutes progress was far slower. The whole of Bavaria, Wurttemberg, and the districts along the Rhine had been saturated with French socialistic theories, and here the task of regeneration fell into other hands, and freedom, of a relative kind, had to be extorted by revolutionary means. To these reformers - many of them both devoted and enlightened thinkers - the armies of their own little states necessarily appeared as merely authorized oppressors of the people; and they may well be pardoned for failing to appreciate the essential differences involved in the two systems.

As the years went by, the Prussian military machine was turning out year by year an ever-increasing number of men, who by reason of the physical and moral training they had undergone were head and shoulders above the class whence they had sprung. These men soon asserted their superiority in the labour market and drove their weaker comrades to the wall. The men thus displaced, being obviously less fitted to maintain wives and families, found themselves supplanted by their stronger rivals in the affections of the women, and jealousy being thus evoked, they became as it were a nidus for revolutionary bacilli. This partly explains the temporary recrudescence of revolutionary tendencies during the 'forties and 'fifties. But the growing wealth-producing power of the nation, due to the higher average physique and power of concentration (the consequence of the military training), began to attract the attention of capitalists, and an era of railway construction set in, distributing wealth and employment about the country. This for a time relieved the congestion of the labour market, and, long before the victories of 1866 and 1870 had definitely removed the last fears of invasion, industries were beginning to spring up around the great trading centres of Germany.

With the treaty of Frankfurt the last fears of the investors vanished, and capital, hitherto dammed back by the uncertainty of land tenure, particularly in the Rhine districts, literally poured into the country, inducing an era of expansion and prosperity for which one can hardly find a parallel, even in America.

That such a period of evolution should have been attended by fluctuations lies in the nature of things. Men accustomed to deal only in hundreds find it difficult to adapt themselves to the business methods requisite to deal securely with millions, and there have been many severe crises due to over-production and speculation, which displaced large masses of workmen and brought misery to thousands of homes.

The remarkable increase of population, the direct consequence of the broader understanding of elementary hygienic principles instilled into the men during their service with the colours, brought a fresh complication into the problem. The strength of the army being definitely fixed by financial considerations, the proportion of men taken for service to the total number annually becoming liable fell off, during the 'eighties, to a very marked degree, and the men who escaped service, being as a consequence of their want of training less fitted for employment in the organized industries which were in process of evolution, swelled the ranks of the unemployed and thus afforded fresh material for the socialist propagandists to work upon. If the proportion of men escaping service rose materially above onehalf of the total yearly contingent of men becoming available for service, the danger lay very near that the socialist vote might soon exceed all other interests put together, thus threatening the stability of all existing institutions. To meet this danger it was determined in 1893 to increase the annual contingent whilst diminishing the duration of colour service, so that approximately two-thirds of the men available should pass through the ranks, it being held that the habit of obedience to constituted authority acquired in the army, together with the silent influence which could be exercised on the ex-soldiers and reservists by the sympathy and example of their former commanders of all ranks, formed the best possible guarantee against the undue spread of socialistic doctrine. It was never anticipated that all men who had served their two years would become partisans of constituted authority, but only that, whilst all would learn the hopelessness of armed resistance against the force which held control of the solid-drawn cartridges and artillery material, the bulk at least would recognize the substantial advantages that accrued to them personally from their previous connexion with the services, and would form a solid bulwark against the spread of subversive doctrines.

To realize the whole situation, the attitude of the leading thinkers amongst the statesmen and soldiers of Germany must be borne in mind. Socialism is to them a necessary lever to extort from capital fairer conditions for labour, capital must be fairly dealt with if the labourers' reasonable demands are to be satisfied, and the army is the compensating lever which secures the necessary adjustments. Capital is attracted by the security of tenure ensured by a strong army, and the working classes are encouraged to put forward reasonable demands by the habits of self-respect and the sense of individuality they acquire in the army, whilst the possible danger of any abuse of the offensive power the army embodies is curbed by the fact, well known and realized by all continental soldiers, that though one may order men on to the battlefield, one cannot guarantee that they will fight when they get there unless the cause they are called on to defend appeals to the hereditary instincts of self-preservation in the race itself. It is unfortunate that sufficient attention has not yet been paid to the statistical side of this question, and concrete figures are not forthcoming to demonstrate the material benefits which have flowed from compulsory service.

Briefly, however, it may be pointed out that under modern conditions of industry the greatest national wealth-producing power resides, not as formerly in the technical skill of the individual, which machinery is gradually superseding, but in the power of continuous collective effort of organized bodies, and that physical health and the power of mental concentration are the principal qualities required by the units of such bodies. Now these are the two essential factors which modern methods of military training aim at developing, and these methods in turn evolved naturally from the conditions of service which compulsion introduced. The men who have undergone this training leave the ranks with bodies steeled to resist disease, and minds capable of prolonged concentrated effort. Hence they not only remain capable of work for a considerably longer period of time, but they also do better work throughout the whole time. It has been estimated that on the average the trained German soldier's expectation of life is about five years better than the normal of his own class. Hence altogether about one million men are still alive and doing good work who without such training would be dead and buried; similarly there are in all some seven millions more, all doing better work day for day than they otherwise would have done.

On the whole the armies of the German states absorbed in taxation some 1500 million sterling from Waterloo (1815) up to 1906; hence if we assume the increment of wealth-producing power due to training as only two shillings a week per man, the net return on the capital invested must be regarded as enormous, and that some such economic process has been in action is sufficiently indicated by the almost incredible growth in national credit during the same period.

At the close of the Napoleonic wars, German (including Prussian) credit was actually nil, and there was hardly a town or hamlet throughout the area swept over by the French armies that was not paying heavy interest on loans raised to satisfy the rapacity of its conquerors. Many of these loans still remained unliquidated at the close of the 1870 campaign. Yet since then the credit, both of the individual states and of the empire as a whole, has risen to a point rivalling that of Great Britain, in spite of the fact that in geographical position and in material resources the country is by no means favourably situated.

These advantages have followed on the introduction of compulsory service in Germany - not because there is any inherent virtue in the principle of compulsion in itself, but because it happened that, at the moment compulsion became necessary, the idea was exactly adapted to its environment, and the driving forces necessary to ensure its permanency remained in full activity. Primarily there existed an aristocracy numerically sufficient to fill the offices of instructorship to the masses, and poverty compelled this aristocracy to accept the new responsibility. In the second place there was the knowledge of what war really means, sufficiently vivid and fresh in the minds of the masses to induce them to submit to the necessary restraints of military discipline. When these causes were no longer in full activity, there remained, as sufficient incentive to those still in the active phase of their training, the knowledge that the nation at large, and more particularly the women, fully appreciated the sacrifices that all ranks were compelled to make.

In other nations these driving forces have been absent. Thus in Russia the aristocracy was both numerically and intellectually inadequate to the tasks compulsion entailed upon it. But generally it can be seen that the success or failure of the system has been in exact proportion to the degree in which these driving forces have been available. The failure of compulsion if applied in the British Isles would be due to the fact that the principal factor of its success - the knowledge of what war must mean and the risk of immediate invasion - cannot be brought home to the people as long as the British navy retains its predominance. If the navy is adequate to prevent invasion, then compulsion is unnecessary; if it is inadequate, then the only way to make good its inadequacy is to bring home to the electors by a course of partial training the consequences which must ensue if they continue to neglect it. (F. N. M.)

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