World War II: The Vietnam War


History of resistance in the Vietnam era


Vietnam War


The Vietnam War against the United States, also known in Chiến tranh Việt Nam in Vietnam, took place in the first of November 1955 until April 30, 1975. The war lasted for nineteen years, five months, four weeks, and a day.


Also dubbed as the Second Indochina War, the involvement of the United States stemmed from the fact that America wanted to prevent a communist insurgency takeover in South Vietnam. They claimed to support the South Vietnamese army against Northern Vietnam and the Viet Cong, who saw the conflict as a way to reunify Vietnam.


US Draft During the Vietnam War


Military conscription was enforced in the United States in several different instances; one instance of this is the Vietnam War draft. The United States Military drafted a total of 2.2 million Americans between the years 1964 and 1973.


The draft resistance during the Vietnam War in the United States grew. Young men who did not want to fight in the war created strategies to escape being drafted. They sought deferment using different tactics such as a.) landing a job related to the Department of Defense of the United States, b.) joining a peace church congregation such as the Quakers, Amish, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, c.) making up health conditions or practicing deliberate unhealthy habits before the screening process, d.) getting into any college, f.) as far as forging military identification, and g.) having a high lottery number. These tactics were called Vietnam War draft evasion or draft avoidance.


Vietnam War Draft System


What does having a high lottery number mean? The Vietnam War draft lottery is how the Selective Service System of the United States chose people to be ordered to serve in the military. Based on a paper by Paul Shauffer, the inductees are classified into the following categories:


Classification of Inductees

  1. Class I
  2. I-A: available for military service
  3. I-A-O: CO available for noncombatant military service
  4. I-C: already in the military
  5. I-D: reserve or ROTC
  6. I-O: CO available for civilian work
  7. I-S: student
  8. I-W: CO performing civilian work
  9. I-Y: other (catch-all classification)
  10. Class II
  11. II-A: occupational deferment
  12. II-C: agricultural deferment
  13. II-S: student deferment
  14. Class III
  15. III-A: extreme hardship, i.e. has a child or children
  16. Class IV
  17. IV-A: prior active service or sole surviving son
  18. IV-B: official deferred by law
  19. IV-C: alien not currently liable for military service
  20. IV-D: minister of religion or divinity student
  21. IV-F: registrant not qualified for military service
  22. Class V
  23. V. registrant over the age of liability for military service


Usually, normal eighteen-year-old boys were automatically classified as I-A. Every boy who turned eighteen was required to register for drafting within five days after his birthday.


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Shauffer, Paul W. “Draft Resistance in the Vietnam Era. An Experimental Paper.” 1994. Accessed October 28, 2017.

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by Rosalie H. Contino, PhD