Citizen-Civilians: Masculinity, Citizenship, and American Military Manpower Policy, 1945-1975

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"Citizen-Civilians" argues that military manpower policies between the end of World War II in 1945 and the shift to the All-Volunteer Force in 1973 separated military service from ideals of masculine citizenship in the United States. Manpower policies, especially those that governed deferments, widened the definition of service to the state and encouraged men to meet their responsibilities for national defense as civilians. They emphasized men's breadwinner role and responsible fatherhood over military service and defined economic independence as a contribution to national defense.

These policies, therefore, militarized the civilian sector, as fatherhood and certain civilian occupations were defined as national defense initiatives. But these policies also, ironically, weakened the citizen-soldier ideal by ensuring that fewer men would serve in the military and equating these civilian pursuits with military service. The Defense establishment unintentionally weakened its own manpower procurement system.

These findings provide context for the anti-war and anti-draft protest of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Vietnam exacerbated points of friction that already existed. The war highlighted assumptions about masculinity and citizenship as well as inequities in the draft system that had existed for a generation. This dissertation, therefore, explains the growth of the mechanisms that allowed men to avoid military service, as such avoidance became relatively simple to accomplish and easy to justify. Thus, when draft calls rose in order to support a war that many Americans did not agree with, men used the channels that the Defense establishment had already created for them to avoid serving in the armed forces.

This work also demonstrates how policies and ideas about masculine citizenship affected one another. Competing visions of manhood as well as debates over the rights and responsibilities of citizenship influenced policy debates. Moreover, policies took on a social engineering function, as the Selective Service and Department of Defense actively encouraged men to enter particular occupational fields, marry, and become fathers. In this way, this project is an example of the "lived Cold War." It suggests that individual men made career, school, and marriage decisions in response to Cold War policies.