64 Vietnam War Primary Sources A young man burning his draft card Reproduced by

64 vietnam war primary sources a young man burning

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64 Vietnam War: Primary Sources A young man burning his draft card. Reproduced by permission of AP/Wide World Photos.
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Although tens of thousands of young men relocated to Canada and elsewhere to avoid military service, this strategy was commonly seen as a last resort. It was usually chosen only after other possible “draft dodging” alternatives had been exhausted. After all, men who fled to Canada knew that they might never be able to return home to America to see their family and friends without risking arrest. Draft resisters. Another popular strategy for avoiding military induction was outright defiance. Hundreds of thou- sands of young American men openly resisted the Selective Service System during the war. Some refused to register for the Tim O’Brien 65 Some North Vietnamese men tried to evade their own country’s military draft during the Vietnam War. Many families supported their sons in this effort. Important officials in the government often arranged to keep their sons out of the military by sending them overseas to study. Ordinary families, meanwhile, hid their sons or bribed doctors to disqualify them from service. “Many parents tried to keep their sons out of the army,” recalled one North Vietnamese man in Vietnam: A Portrait of Its People at War. “They would hide them when they were called up by the recruiting center. Anyone who didn’t show up automatically had his rice ration cut off. But families would buy food on the black market or just get along by sharing whatever they had. They would survive that way while they tried to scrape up enough to bribe a recruiting official to fix up the files. Other draftees mutilated themselves or managed to find other ways to fail the physical. People with money were able to pay doctors to disqualify their children. These kinds of things were easier to do in the three big cities—Hanoi, Haiphong, and Nam Dinh . . . where the government officials and Party leaders lived. Many of them were looking for ways to keep their children out too. . . . And people had more money in these places, so corruption was more a normal thing. Also, it was simply easier to hide in the cities and there was more information about how to stay out. The result was that the big majority of the Northern army was made up of young people from the countryside. They were just more naive. They believed the propaganda more easily. They didn’t have the same chances to get out of it.” Avoiding the Draft in North Vietnam
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66 Vietnam War: Primary Sources Draft card burning in New York City’s Central Park. Reproduced by permission of AP/Wide World Photos.
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draft. Others burned their draft cards to protest the war. “Hell no, we won’t go!” became a popular rallying cry within the antiwar movement. Active resistance to the draft became particularly com- monplace during the mid- and late 1960s, when the American public became divided about supporting the war. “The growth in public opposition to the war . . . enhanced draft resistance’s appeal,” confirmed Tom Wells in The War Within. “Resisters
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