Conscription and Democracy: The Draft in France, Great Britain, and the United States (Contributions in Military Studies)

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9780313319129: Conscription and Democracy: The Draft in France, Great Britain, and the United States (Contributions in Military Studies)
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Finding the manpower to defend democracy has been a recurring problem. Russell Weigley writes: The historic preoccupation of the Army's thought in peacetime has been the manpower question: how, in an unmilitary nation, to muster adequate numbers of capable soldiers quickly should war occur. When the nature of modern warfare made an all-volunteer army inadequate, the major Western democracies confronted the dilemma of involuntary military service in a free society. The core of this manuscript concerns methods by which France, Great Britain, and the United States solved the problem and why some solutions were more lasting and effective than others. Flynn challenges conventional wisdom that suggests that conscription was inefficient and that it promoted inequality of sacrifice.

Sharing similar but not identical diplomatic outlooks, the three countries discussed here were allies in world wars and in the Cold War, and they also confronted the problem of using conscripts to defend colonial interests in an age of decolonization. These societies rest upon democratic principles, and operating a draft in a democracy raises several unique problems. A particular tension develops as a result of adopting forced military service in a polity based on concepts of individual rights and freedoms. Despite the protest and inconsistencies, the criticism and waste, Flynn reveals that conscription served the three Western democracies well in an historical context, proving effective in gathering fighting men and allowing a flexibility to cope and change as problems arose.

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About the Author:

GEORGE Q. FLYNN taught at Seattle University, Indiana University, the University of Miami, and Texas Tech University. He is the author of several books dealing with recent American political history. His most recent work is The Draft, 1940-1973 (1993).

Review:

"This thoroughly researched and copiously referenced volume examines conscription in France, Great Britain, and the US from the perspective of the two world wars, limited and colonial struggles, fairness, conscience, political strictures and their manifestations in manning the militaries, how the parameters of conscription were altered and interpreted historically, and the undulating support for conscription. Appropriate as a reference source for advanced students of history, political science, and sociology who are interested in military studies."-Choice

"Despite the manifest effectiveness of current volunteer systems, the issue of how a nation determines "who does the dying" remains vexing in this age of Small Wars, and will likely explode should the nation go to war. Fortunately, Flynn has provided a key referent for those discussions."-The Journal of Military History

?George Flynn masterfully analyzes a complex issue in a very readable way....[A]n exceptionally well-written and researched book.?-On Point

?Despite the manifest effectiveness of current volunteer systems, the issue of how a nation determines "who does the dying" remains vexing in this age of Small Wars, and will likely explode should the nation go to war. Fortunately, Flynn has provided a key referent for those discussions.?-The Journal of Military History

?This thoroughly researched and copiously referenced volume examines conscription in France, Great Britain, and the US from the perspective of the two world wars, limited and colonial struggles, fairness, conscience, political strictures and their manifestations in manning the militaries, how the parameters of conscription were altered and interpreted historically, and the undulating support for conscription. Appropriate as a reference source for advanced students of history, political science, and sociology who are interested in military studies.?-Choice

"George Flynn masterfully analyzes a complex issue in a very readable way....[A]n exceptionally well-written and researched book."-On Point

"A well-researched, insightful, and highly useful comparative history of conscription in three western nations. a splendid addition to our knowledge of the draft and political culture in the twentieth century."-John Whiteclay ChambersII Rutgers University Editor-in-Chief, Oxford Companion to American Military History

"Historians talk a lot about writing comparative studies, but rarely follow through and do them. George Flynn's admirable history of conscription in France, Great Britain, and the United States is therefore doubly welcome. Conscription and Democracy is well written, thoroughly researched, and very intelligently argued."-James T. Patterson Professor of History Brown University

"Conscription and Democracy does what no other book has ever done. We come to a new understanding of modern democracies by looking at the conscription systems of the United States, Great Britain and France. Each of these countries confronted the dilemma of involuntary military service in a free society in both similar and contrasting ways. Combining systematic research with comparative analysis, George Flynn makes a landmark contribution to a critically important, but, heretofore, understudied subject."-Charles Moskos Professor of Sociology Northwestern University

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Book Description ABC-CLIO, United States, 2001. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Finding the manpower to defend democracy has been a recurring problem. Russell Weigley writes: The historic preoccupation of the Army's thought in peacetime has been the manpower question: how, in an unmilitary nation, to muster adequate numbers of capable soldiers quickly should war occur. When the nature of modern warfare made an all-volunteer army inadequate, the major Western democracies confronted the dilemma of involuntary military service in a free society. The core of this manuscript concerns methods by which France, Great Britain, and the United States solved the problem and why some solutions were more lasting and effective than others. Flynn challenges conventional wisdom that suggests that conscription was inefficient and that it promoted inequality of sacrifice. Sharing similar but not identical diplomatic outlooks, the three countries discussed here were allies in world wars and in the Cold War, and they also confronted the problem of using conscripts to defend colonial interests in an age of decolonization. These societies rest upon democratic principles, and operating a draft in a democracy raises several unique problems.A particular tension develops as a result of adopting forced military service in a polity based on concepts of individual rights and freedoms. Despite the protest and inconsistencies, the criticism and waste, Flynn reveals that conscription served the three Western democracies well in an historical context, proving effective in gathering fighting men and allowing a flexibility to cope and change as problems arose. Seller Inventory # LHB9780313319129

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