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Volunteer Military

Format: DVD | Streaming | Download
Length: 14:00
Grade Level: 7-12+ | Price: $ 15.00
Closed Captioned:

Streaming/DVD: English

Who gets to choose?

Historically, the rights of citizenship and the obligations of military service have often been linked, from the city-states of ancient Greece to the nation-states of 19th century Europe. A significant exception to this rule was the United States, until the Civil War, when military conscription was used by both the Union and the Confederacy. Contrary to popular mythology, opposition to the draft did not begin with the Vietnam War, nor did the nation volunteer en masse for the world wars. An estimated 300,000 men evaded the draft during WWI. Most of the 16 million American soldiers in WWII were drafted.

In the 1960s, the draft became the focal point for opposition to the Vietnam War. After much debate, a presidential commission recommended ending the draft, and in 1973 the All-Volunteer Army became a reality. But the debate over military conscription continues today: Does having a draft make war more or less likely? Should citizenship be linked to compulsory military service? Or is the individual's right to choose paramount?

EMPixx Award Winner
Telly Award Winner
Subject Areas

U.S. History / Government & Civics




United States





Military History


Very well done. Presents both sides of the argument concisely and fairly, and in a way which interests students, e.g. input from various people including youths, soldiers, politicians; short applicable historical lessons. Long enough to generate thought and debate, but short enough to keep their attention which is increasingly challenging in the age of instant gratification and constant entertainment. Thanks so much!

Robert Calhoun
El Dorado, KS

This was a very appropriate film for my classes in that many students are thinking of joining the military. It also plays an important part in learning about the Vietnam War and looking at the difference between a draft and a volunteer military. I think it helps young students understand the cost of citizenship - and the cost of war.

Catherine Wiles
Stanwood, WA

This was a great video for all students who wish to know more about the draft and the motivations for joining the military.

Sheila Mandock
Escondido, CA

I served 21 years in the US Army, and deployed three times. I am retired now, and enjoy teaching. I thought this video was extremely well done, and shows a balanced point of view from both sides of the issue. It will spark excellent discussion in class.

Jack Erwin
Wheaton, IL

This video was a great way to begin a class discussion. The topic was perfect for a middle school class. My students were engaged throughout the video and we continued disussing the topic for the rest of the class period. Students were able to see both sides of arguement. Most were able to choose which side they agreed with more.

Kris Winkle
Portage, MI

I liked the short quick history of how we acquired a volunteer military. It is good to see what the fears were and the actual result. I have many students contemplating going into the military, it is wise for them to understand various aspects of their choices. I feel this video caused the students to think, which is a benefit for all.

Shannon Urhausen
Harrisburg, OR

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