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Conscription, sometimes called the draft in the United States, is the mandatory enlistment of people in a
national service National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government service, usually military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia A militia () is generally an army or some ot ...

national service
, most often a
military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia A militia () is generally an army or some other Military organization, fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a country, or subject ...
. Conscription dates back to
antiquity Antiquity or Antiquities may refer to Historical objects or periods Artifacts * Antiquities, objects or artifacts surviving from ancient cultures Eras Any period before the European Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages ...

antiquity
and it continues in some countries to the present day under various names. The modern system of near-universal national conscription for young men dates to the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
in the 1790s, where it became the basis of a very large and powerful
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...

military
. Most
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

Europe
an nations later copied the system in peacetime, so that men at a certain age would serve 1–8 years on
active duty Active duty is a full-time occupation as part of a military force, as opposed to reserve duty. In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is ...
and then transfer to the
reserve force A military reserve force is a military organization composed of citizen-soldiers of a country who combine a military role or career with a civilian career. They are not normally kept under arms and their main role is to be available to fight w ...
. Conscription is controversial for a range of reasons, including
conscientious objection A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, or religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated ...
to military engagements on religious or philosophical grounds; political objection, for example to service for a disliked government or unpopular war;
sexism Sexism is prejudice Prejudice can be an affective feeling towards a person based on their perceived group membership. The word is often used to refer to a preconceived (usually unfavourable) evaluation or classification of another per ...
, in that historically only men have been subject to the draft; and ideological objection, for example, to a perceived violation of individual rights. Those conscripted may evade service, sometimes by leaving the country, and seeking asylum in another country. Some selection systems accommodate these attitudes by providing
alternative service Alternative civilian service, also called alternative service, civilian service, non-military service, and substitute service, is a form of national service performed in lieu of military conscription for various reasons, such as conscientious obj ...
outside
combat Combat (French language, French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violence, violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapons) or unarmed (Hand-to-hand combat, not using weapons). Combat is sometim ...

combat
-operations roles or even outside the military, such as ''
Siviilipalvelus ' (in Finnish; sv, civiltjänst; "civilian service"), is an alternative service in Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland , ), officially the Republic of Finland (, ), is a Nordic country located in Northern Europe. It shares land bor ...
'' (alternative civil service) in Finland, ''
Zivildienst Zivildienst is the German denomination for the alternative civilian service for conscripted persons who are conscientious objectors to fulfill their national service National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government serv ...
'' (compulsory community service) in Austria and Switzerland. Several countries conscript male soldiers not only for armed forces, but also for paramilitary agencies, which are dedicated to
police The police are a constituted body of persons A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic by Logical consequence, drawing con ...

police
-like ''domestic only'' service like
internal troops The Internal Troops, full name Internal Troops of the Ministry for Internal Affairs (MVD) (russian: Внутренние войска Министерства внутренних дел, Vnutrenniye Voiska Ministerstva Vnutrennikh Del; abbreviated ...
,
border guards A border guard of a country is a national security agency that performs border security. Some of the national border guard agencies also perform coast guard (as in Federal Police (Germany), Germany or State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, Ukrain ...
or ''non-
combat Combat (French language, French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violence, violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapons) or unarmed (Hand-to-hand combat, not using weapons). Combat is sometim ...

combat
''
rescue duties
rescue duties
like
civil defence Civil defense (civil defence in UK English) or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state (generally non-combatants) from military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organ ...

civil defence
. As of the early 21st century, many states no longer conscript soldiers, relying instead upon professional militaries with volunteers. The ability to rely on such an arrangement, however, presupposes some degree of predictability with regard to both war-fighting requirements and the scope of hostilities. Many states that have abolished conscription still, therefore, reserve the power to resume conscription during wartime or times of crisis. States involved in wars or interstate rivalries are most likely to implement conscription, and democracies are less likely than autocracies to implement conscription. With a few exceptions, such as Singapore and Egypt, former British colonies are less likely to have conscription, as they are influenced by British anti-conscription norms that can be traced back to the English Civil War; the United Kingdom abolished conscription in 1960.


History


In pre-modern times


Ilkum

Around the reign of
Hammurabi Hammurabi () was the sixth king of the First Babylonian dynasty The First Babylonian Empire, or Old Babylonian Empire, is dated to BC – BC, and comes after the end of Sumerian power with the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur The ...

Hammurabi
(1791–1750 BC), the
Babylonian Empire Babylonia () was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in central-southern Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Syriac language, Classical Syriac: ...
used a system of conscription called ''Ilkum''. Under that system those eligible were required to serve in the royal army in time of war. During times of peace they were instead required to provide labour for other activities of the state. In return for this service, people subject to it gained the right to hold land. It is possible that this right was not to hold land ''per se'' but specific land supplied by the state. Various forms of avoiding military service are recorded. While it was outlawed by the
Code of Hammurabi The Code of Hammurabi is a Babylonian legal text composed 1755–1750 BC. It is the longest, best-organised, and best-preserved legal text from the ancient Near East. It is written in the Old Babylonian dialect of Akkadian, purportedly by Ham ...

Code of Hammurabi
, the hiring of substitutes appears to have been practiced both before and after the creation of the code. Later records show that Ilkum commitments could become regularly traded. In other places, people simply left their towns to avoid their Ilkum service. Another option was to sell Ilkum lands and the commitments along with them. With the exception of a few exempted classes, this was forbidden by the Code of Hammurabi.


Medieval levies

Under the
feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring society ...
laws on the European continent, landowners in the medieval period enforced a system whereby all
peasants A peasant is a pre-industrial Pre-industrial society refers to social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the tra ...

peasants
, freemen commoners and
noblemen Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, estate of the realm that p ...
aged 15 to 60 living in the countryside or in urban centers, were summoned for military duty when required by either the king or the local lord, bringing along the weapons and armor according to their wealth. These levies fought as footmen, sergeants, and men at arms under local superiors appointed by the king or the local lord such as the
arrière-banIn medieval and early modern France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and Overseas France, several overseas ...
in France. Arrière-ban denoted a general levy, where all able-bodied males age 15 to 60 living in the Kingdom of France were summoned to go to war by the King (or the constable and the marshals). Men were summoned by the bailiff (or the sénéchal in the south).
Bailiff A bailiff (from baillif, ''baillis'', ''bail'' "custody, charge, office"; , based on the adjectival form, baiulivus, of Latin ''bajulus'', carrier, manager) is a manager, overseer or custodian; a legal officer to whom some degree of authority ...
s were military and political administrators installed by the King to steward and govern a specific area of a province following the king's commands and orders. The men summoned in this way were then summoned by the lieutenant who was the King's representative and military governor over an entire province comprising many
bailiwick A bailiwick () is usually the area of jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area a ...
s, seneschalties and castellanies. All men from the richest noble to the poorest commoner were summoned under the arrière-ban and they were supposed to present themselves to the King or his officials. In medieval
Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sa ...

Scandinavia
the ''leiðangr'' (
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skades ...
), ''leidang'' (
Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway *Demographics of Norway *The Norwegian language, including the t ...
), ''leding'', (
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity * Danis ...
), ''ledung'' (
Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used by the Swedish langua ...
), ''lichting'' (
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
), ''expeditio'' (
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
) or sometimes ''leþing'' (
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...

Old English
), was a levy of free farmers conscripted into coastal fleets for seasonal excursions and in defence of the realm. The bulk of the Anglo-Saxon English army, called the ''
fyrd A fyrd () was a type of early Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a who inhabited . They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the coastlands of . However, the of the Angl ...
'', was composed of part-time English soldiers drawn from the freemen of each county. In the 690s laws of
Ine of Wessex Ine, also rendered Ini or Ina, ( la, Inus; c. AD 670 – after 726) was King of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title ...
, three levels of fines are imposed on different social classes for neglecting military service. Some modern writers claim military service in Europe was restricted to the landowning minor nobility. These
thegnThe term ''thegn'', also thane, or thayn in Shakespearean English Early Modern English or Early New English (sometimes abbreviated EModE, EMnE, or EME) is the stage of the English language from the beginning of the Tudor period to the English Int ...
s were the land-holding aristocracy of the time and were required to serve with their own armour and weapons for a certain number of days each year. The historian David Sturdy has cautioned about regarding the ''fyrd'' as a precursor to a modern national army composed of all ranks of society, describing it as a "ridiculous fantasy":
The persistent old belief that peasants and small farmers gathered to form a national army or ''fyrd'' is a strange delusion dreamt up by antiquarians in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries to justify universal military conscription.
In
feudal Japan The first human inhabitants of the Japanese archipelago have been traced to prehistoric times Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the descrip ...
the
shogun , officially , was the title of the military dictators of Japan during most of the period spanning from 1185 to 1868. Nominally appointed by the Emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem o ...
degree of 1393 exempted
money lender In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial system. It is concerned with the creation and management of money and investments. Savers and investors have money avail ...
s from religious or military levies, in return for a yearly tax. The
Ōnin War The , also known as the Upheaval of Ōnin and Ōnin-Bunmei war, was a civil war that lasted from 1467 to 1477, during the Muromachi period in Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered ...
weakened the shogun and levies were imposed again on money lenders. This
overlord {{Feudal status An overlord in the English feudal system Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was a combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centurie ...

overlord
ism was arbitrary and unpredictable for commoners. While the money lenders were not poor, several overlords tapped them for income. Levies became necessary for the survival of the overlord, allowing the lord to impose taxes at will. These levies included ''tansen'' tax on
agricultural land Agricultural land is typically land ''devoted to'' agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whe ...

agricultural land
for ceremonial expenses. Y''akubu takumai'' tax was raised on all land to rebuild the
Ise Grand Shrine The , located in Ise, Mie, Ise, Mie Prefecture of Japan, is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu. Officially known simply as , Ise Jingū is a shrine complex composed of many Shinto shrines centered on two main shrines, and . T ...
, and ''munabechisen'' tax was imposed on all
house A house is a single-unit residential building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functio ...

house
s. At the time, land in
Kyoto Kyoto (; Japanese language, Japanese: , ''Kyōto'' ), officially , is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture in Japan. Located in the Kansai region on the island of Honshu, Kyoto forms a part of the Keihanshin, Keihanshin metropolitan area along w ...

Kyoto
was acquired by commoners through
usury Usury () is the practice of making unethical or immoral monetary loan In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial system. It is concerned with the creation and ...
and in 1422 the shogun threatened to reposes the land of those commoners who failed to pay their levies.


Military slavery

The system of military
slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
was widely used in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
, beginning with the creation of the corps of
Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disambiguation) ** Turkish language, the most widely spoken Turkic language * T ...
slave-soldiers (''
ghulam Ghulam ( ar, غلام) is an Arabic word meaning ''servant'', ''assistant'', ''boy'', or ''youth''. It is used to describe young servants in paradise. It is also used to refer to slave-soldiers in the Abbasid Caliphate, Abbasid, Ottoman Empire, ...
s'' or ''
mamluk Mamluk ( ar, مملوك, mamlūk (singular), , ''mamālīk'' (plural), translated as "one who is owned", meaning "", also as ''Mameluke'', ''mamluq'', ''mamluke'', ''mameluk'', ''mameluke'', ''mamaluke'', or ''marmeluke'') is a term most commo ...

mamluk
s'') by the
Abbasid caliph The Abbasid caliphs were the holders of the Islamic title of caliph who were members of the Abbasid dynasty, a branch of the Quraysh tribe descended from the uncle of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib. The family came to p ...
al-Mu'tasim Abū Isḥāq Muḥammad ibn Hārūn al-Rashīd ( ar, أبو إسحاق محمد بن هارون الرشيد; October 796 – 5 January 842), better known by his laqab, regnal name al-Muʿtaṣim biʾllāh (, "he who seeks refuge in God"), was ...
in the 820s and 830s. The Turkish troops soon came to dominate the government, establishing a pattern throughout the Islamic world of a ruling military class, often separated by ethnicity, culture and even religion by the mass of the population, a paradigm that found its apogee in the
Mamluks of Egypt The Mamluk Sultanate ( ar, سلطنة المماليك, translit=Salṭanat al-Mamālīk) was a medieval realm spanning Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the N ...
and the
Janissary A Janissary ( ota, يڭيچرى ' , meaning "new soldier") was a member of the elite infantry at the Battle of the Somme (July–November 1916) during the First World War Infantry is an army specialization whose military personnel, perso ...

Janissary
corps of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
, institutions that survived until the early 19th century. In the middle of the 14th century, Ottoman Sultan
Murad I Murad I ( ota, مراد اول; tr, I. Murad, Murad-ı Hüdavendigâr (nicknamed ''Hüdavendigâr'', from fa, خداوندگار, translit=Khodāvandgār, lit=the devotee of God – meaning "sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied ...

Murad I
developed personal troops to be loyal to him, with a slave army called the '' Kapıkulu''. The new force was built by taking Christian children from newly conquered lands, especially from the far areas of his empire, in a system known as the ''
devşirme Devshirme ( ota, دوشيرمه, ; usually translated as "child levy" or "blood tax") was the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman practice of forcibly recruiting soldiers and bureaucrats from among the children of their Balkan Christian subjects. Those comi ...
'' (translated "gathering" or "converting"). The captive children were forced to convert to
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
. The Sultans had the young boys trained over several years. Those who showed special promise in fighting skills were trained in advanced warrior skills, put into the sultan's personal service, and turned into the
Janissaries A Janissary ( ota, يڭيچرى, yeŋiçeri, , ) was a member of the elite infantry Infantry is an army specialization whose military personnel, personnel engage in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and ar ...

Janissaries
, the elite branch of the ''Kapıkulu''. A number of distinguished military commanders of the Ottomans, and most of the imperial administrators and upper-level officials of the Empire, such as Pargalı İbrahim Pasha and Sokollu Mehmet Paşa, were recruited in this way. By 1609, the Sultan's ''Kapıkulu'' forces increased to about 100,000. In later years, Sultans turned to the
Barbary Pirates 1650 The Barbary pirates, or Barbary corsairs or Ottoman corsairs, were Muslims, Muslim privateers who operated from North Africa, based primarily in the ports of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. This area was known in Europe as the Barbary Coast ...
to supply their Jannissaries corps. Their attacks on ships off the coast of Africa or in the Mediterranean, and subsequent capture of able-bodied men for ransom or sale provided some captives for the Sultan's system. Starting in the 17th century, Christian families living under the Ottoman rule began to submit their sons into the Kapikulu system willingly, as they saw this as a potentially invaluable career opportunity for their children. Eventually the Sultan turned to foreign volunteers from the warrior clans of
Circassians The Circassians (also referred to as Cherkess or Adyghe; ; ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish th ...

Circassians
in southern Russia to fill his Janissary armies. As a whole the system began to break down, the loyalty of the Jannissaries became increasingly suspect.
Mahmud II Mahmud II ( ota, محمود ثانى, Mahmud-u s̠ānī, tr, II. Mahmud; 20 July 1785 – 1 July 1839) was the 30th of the from 1808 until his death in 1839. His reign is recognized for the extensive administrative, military, and fiscal ref ...

Mahmud II
forcibly disbanded the Janissary corps in 1826. Similar to the Janissaries in origin and means of development were the Mamluks of Egypt in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
. The
Mamluks Mamluk (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Stre ...
were usually captive non-Muslim Iranian and Turkish children who had been kidnapped or bought as slaves from the Barbary coasts. The Egyptians assimilated and trained the boys and young men to become Islamic soldiers who served the Muslim
caliph A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state {{Infobox war faction , name = Islamic State , anthem = '' Dawlat al-Islam Qamat'' {{small, ("My Ummah ' ( ar, أمة ) is an Arabic Arabic (, ' ...
s and the
Ayyubid The Ayyubid dynasty ( ar, الأيوبيون '; Kurdish: ئەیووبیەکان Eyûbiyan) was a Sunni Muslim Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch of Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, diffe ...

Ayyubid
sultans during the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
. The first mamluks served the
Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلْعَبَّاسِيَّةُ, ') was the third caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islam Islam (;There ar ...
caliphs in 9th-century
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, ...

Baghdad
. Over time they became a powerful military
caste Caste is a form of social stratification Social stratification refers to a society's categorization of its people into groups based on Socioeconomic status, socioeconomic factors like wealth, income, Race (human categorization), race, educati ...
. On more than one occasion, they seized power, for example, ruling
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
from 1250 to 1517. From 1250
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
had been ruled by the
Bahri dynasty The Bahri dynasty or Bahriyya Mamluks ( ar, المماليك البحرية, translit=al-Mamalik al-Baḥariyya) was a Mamluk Mamluk ( ar, مملوك, mamlūk (singular), , ''mamālīk'' (plural), translated as "one who is owned", meaning "His ...
of Kipchak origin. Slaves from the
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
served in the army and formed an elite corps of troops. They eventually revolted in Egypt to form the Burgi dynasty. The Mamluks' excellent fighting abilities, massed Islamic armies, and overwhelming numbers succeeded in overcoming the Christian
Crusader Crusader or Crusaders may refer to: Military * Crusader, a participant in one of the Crusades * Convair NB-36H Crusader, an experimental nuclear-powered bomber * Crusader tank, a British cruiser tank of World War II * Crusaders (guerrilla), a Cr ...

Crusader
fortresses in the Holy Land. The Mamluks were the most successful defence against the of Persia and Iraq from entering Egypt. On the western coast of Africa, Berber Muslims captured non-Muslims to put to work as laborers. They generally converted the younger people to Islam and many became quite assimilated. In Morocco, the Berber looked south rather than north. The Moroccan Sultan
Moulay Ismail Moulay Ismail Ben Sharif ( ar, مولاي إسماعيل بن الشريف ابن النصر), born around 1645 in Sijilmassa and died on 22 March 1727 at Meknes Meknes ( ar, مكناس, maknās; ber, ⴰⵎⴽⵏⴰⵙ, amknas) is one of the fo ...

Moulay Ismail
, called "the Bloodthirsty" (1672–1727), employed a corps of 150,000 black slaves, called his
Black Guard ''The sultan of Morocco with the Black Guard'', 1862 painting by Eugène Delacroix The Black Guard ( ar, عبيد البوخاري "Slaves of Muhammad al-Bukhari, al-Būkhārī"; also known as ''‘Abīd al-Dīwān'' "slaves of the divan", ''Jays ...
. He used them to coerce the country into submission.


In modern times

Modern conscription, the massed military enlistment of national citizens (
Levée en masse ''Levée en masse'' ( or, in English, "mass levy") is a French term used for a policy of mass national conscription, often in the face of invasion. The concept originated during the French Revolutionary Wars, particularly for the period followin ...
), was devised during the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
, to enable the
Republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...
to defend itself from the attacks of European monarchies. Deputy
Jean-Baptiste Jourdan Jean-Baptiste Jourdan (29 April 1762 – 23 November 1833), 1st Count Jourdan, was a French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french ...

Jean-Baptiste Jourdan
gave its name to the 5 September 1798 Act, whose first article stated: "Any Frenchman is a soldier and owes himself to the defense of the nation." It enabled the creation of the ''
Grande Armée ''La Grande Armée'' (; French language, French for The Great Army) was the imperial army commanded by Napoleon, Napoleon Bonaparte during the Napoleonic Wars. From 1804 to 1809, it won a series of military victories that allowed the First Fre ...
'', what
Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) r ...
called "the nation in arms", which overwhelmed European professional armies that often numbered only into the low tens of thousands. More than 2.6 million men were inducted into the French military in this way between the years 1800 and 1813. The defeat of the
Prussian Army The Royal Prussian Army (1701–1919, german: Königlich Preußische Armee) served as the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It became vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power. The Prussian Army had its roots in the cor ...
in particular shocked the Prussian establishment, which had believed it was invincible after the victories of
Frederick the Great Frederick II (german: Friedrich II.; 24 January 171217 August 1786) was King in Prussia King ''in'' Prussia ( German: ''König in Preußen'') was a title used by the Prussian kings (also in personal union Electors of Brandenburg) from 1701 t ...

Frederick the Great
. The Prussians were used to relying on superior organization and tactical factors such as order of battle to focus superior troops against inferior ones. Given approximately equivalent forces, as was generally the case with professional armies, these factors showed considerable importance. However, they became considerably less important when the Prussian armies faced Napoleon's forces that outnumbered their own in some cases by more than ten to one. advocated adopting the ''
levée en masse ''Levée en masse'' ( or, in English, "mass levy") is a French term used for a policy of mass national conscription, often in the face of invasion. The concept originated during the French Revolutionary Wars, particularly for the period followin ...
'', the military conscription used by France. The ''Krümpersystem'' was the beginning of short-term compulsory service in Prussia, as opposed to the long-term conscription previously used. In the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire, . commonly referred to as Imperial Russia, was a historical empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, succeeding the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad that ended the Great Northern War. ...
, the military service time "owed" by serfs was 25 years at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1834 it was decreased to 20 years. The recruits were to be not younger than 17 and not older than 35. In 1874 Russia introduced universal conscription in the modern pattern, an innovation only made possible by the abolition of
serfdom Serfdom was the status of many peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to manorialism, and similar systems. It was a condition of debt bondage and indentured servitude with similarities to and differences from slavery, which developed ...
in 1861. New military law decreed that all male Russian subjects, when they reached the age of 20, were eligible to serve in the military for six years. In the decades prior to World War I universal conscription along broadly Prussian lines became the norm for European armies, and those modeled on them. By 1914 the only substantial armies still completely dependent on voluntary enlistment were those of Britain and the United States. Some colonial powers such as France reserved their conscript armies for home service while maintaining professional units for overseas duties.


World Wars

The range of eligible ages for conscripting was expanded to meet national demand during the World Wars. In the United States, the
Selective Service System The Selective Service System (SSS) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the Federal government of the United States, United States government that maintains information on those potentially subject to c ...
drafted men for World War I initially in an age range from 21 to 30 but expanded its eligibility in 1918 to an age range of 18 to 45. In the case of a widespread
mobilization Mobilization is the act of assembling and readying military troops and supplies for war. The word ''mobilization'' was first used in a military context in the 1850s to describe the preparation of the Prussian Army. Mobilization theories and ta ...

mobilization
of forces where service includes homefront defense, ages of conscripts may range much higher, with the oldest conscripts serving in roles requiring lesser mobility. Expanded-age conscription was common during the Second World War: in Britain, it was commonly known as "call-up" and extended to age 51.
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
termed it ''
Volkssturm The ''Volkssturm'' (, "people's storm") was a national militia established by Nazi Germany during the last months of World War II. It was not set up by the German Army (1935–1945), German Army, the ground component of the combined German ''Wehr ...

Volkssturm
'' ("People's Storm") and included children as young as 16 and men as old as 60. During the Second World War, both Britain and the Soviet Union conscripted women. The United States was on the verge of drafting women into the Nurse Corps because it anticipated it would need the extra personnel for its planned invasion of Japan. However, the Japanese surrendered and the idea was abandoned.


Arguments against conscription


Sexism

Men's rights activists The men's rights movement (MRM) is a branch of the men's movement. The MRM in particular consists of a variety of groups and individuals who focus on general social issues and specific government services which adversely impact, or in some case ...
,
feminists Feminism is a range of social movements and ideology, ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social gender equality, equality of the sexes. Feminism incorporates the position that societies priori ...

feminists
, and opponents of discrimination against men have criticized military conscription, or compulsory military service, as
sexist Sexism is prejudice Prejudice can be an affective feeling towards a person based on their perceived group membership. The word is often used to refer to a preconceived (usually unfavourable) evaluation or classification of another per ...
. The National Coalition for Men, a men's rights group,
sued A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil ...
the US
Selective Service System The Selective Service System (SSS) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the Federal government of the United States, United States government that maintains information on those potentially subject to c ...
in 2019, leading to it being declared unconstitutional by a US Federal Judge. The federal district judge's opinion was unanimously overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. In September 2021, the House of Representatives passed the annual Defence Authorization Act, which included an amendment that states that "all Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 must register for selective service." This struck off the word "Male" which extends a potential draft to women; the bill passed the Senate with bipartisan support. The measure will go in effect one year after enactment of the new law if it survives. Feminists have argued that military conscription is sexist because wars serve the interests of what they view as the
patriarchy Patriarchy is a social system In , social system is the patterned network of relationships constituting a coherent whole that exist between individuals, groups, and institutions. It is the formal of role and status that can form in a smal ...

patriarchy
, the military is a sexist institution, conscripts are therefore indoctrinated in sexism, and conscription of men normalizes violence by men as socially acceptable. Feminists have been organizers and participants in resistance to conscription in several countries. Conscription has also been criticized as, historically, only men have been subjected to conscription. Men who opt out or are deemed unfit for military service must often perform alternative service, such as
Zivildienst Zivildienst is the German denomination for the alternative civilian service for conscripted persons who are conscientious objectors to fulfill their national service National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government serv ...
in
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
and
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
, or pay extra taxes, whereas women do not have these obligations. Men who do not sign up for Selective Service in the US, are prohibited from eligibility for citizenship, financial aid, admissions to public colleges or universities, federal grants and loans, federal employment, and in some states, driving licenses.


Involuntary servitude

American libertarian Libertarianism in the United States is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships ...
s oppose conscription and call for the abolition of the
Selective Service System The Selective Service System (SSS) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the Federal government of the United States, United States government that maintains information on those potentially subject to c ...
, believing that impressment of individuals into the armed forces is
involuntary servitude Involuntary servitude or involuntary slavery is a legal and constitutional term for a person laboring against that person's will to benefit another, under some form of coercion other than the worker's financial needs, to which it may constitute s ...
.
Ron Paul Ronald Ernest Paul (born August 20, 1935) is an American author, activist, physician, and retired politician who served as the U.S. representative The United States House of Representatives is the lower house A lower house is one of ...

Ron Paul
, a former presidential nominee of the U.S.
Libertarian Party Many countries and subnational political entities have libertarian parties. Although these parties may describe themselves as libertarian, their ideologies differ considerably and not all of them support all elements of libertarianism Liber ...
has said that conscription "is wrongly associated with
patriotism Patriotism or national pride is the feeling of love, devotion, and sense of attachment to a homeland A homeland is the concept of the place where a cultural, national, or racial identity had formed. The definition can also mean simply on ...

patriotism
, when it really represents slavery and involuntary servitude". The philosopher
Ayn Rand Ayn Rand (; born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum;,  – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American writer and philosopher. She is known for her two best-selling novels, '' The Fountainhead'' and '' Atlas Shrugged'', and for developing a philosoph ...

Ayn Rand
opposed conscription, suggesting that "of all the statist violations of individual rights in a mixed economy, the military draft is the worst. It is an abrogation of rights. It negates man's fundamental right—the right to life—and establishes the fundamental principle of statism: that a man's life belongs to the state, and the state may claim it by compelling him to sacrifice it in battle." In 1917, a number of radicals and anarchists, including
Emma Goldman Emma Goldman (, 1869May 14, 1940) was an anarchism, anarchist political activist and writer. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Bo ...

Emma Goldman
, challenged the new draft law in federal court arguing that it was a direct violation of the Thirteenth Amendment's prohibition against slavery and involuntary servitude. However, the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...

Supreme Court
unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the draft act in the case of '' Arver v. United States'' on 7 January 1918. The decision said the
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
gave
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...

Congress
the power to
declare war ''Declare'' ( 2000) is a supernatural spy novel by American author Tim Powers. The novel presents a secret history of the Cold War, and earned several major fantasy fiction awards. Plot summary The non-linear plot, shifting back and forth in time ...
and to raise and support armies. The Court emphasized the principle of the reciprocal rights and duties of citizens: :"It may not be doubted that the very conception of a just government in its duty to the citizen includes the reciprocal obligation of the citizen to render military service in case of need and the right to compel."


Economic

It can be argued that in a cost-to-benefit ratio, conscription during peacetime is not worthwhile. Months or years of service performed by the most fit and capable subtract from the productivity of the economy; add to this the cost of training them, and in some countries paying them. Compared to these extensive costs, some would argue there is very little benefit; if there ever was a war then conscription and basic training could be completed quickly, and in any case there is little threat of a war in most countries with conscription. In the United States, every male resident is required by law to register with the
Selective Service System The Selective Service System (SSS) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the Federal government of the United States, United States government that maintains information on those potentially subject to c ...
within 30 days following his 18th birthday and be available for a draft; this is often accomplished automatically by a motor vehicle department during licensing or by voter registration. According to
Milton Friedman Milton Friedman (; July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American economist An economist is a practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and c ...

Milton Friedman
the cost of conscription can be related to the
parable of the broken window The parable of the broken window was introduced by French economist Frédéric Bastiat in his 1850 essay "Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas" (" That Which We See and That Which We Do Not See") to illustrate why destruction, and the money spen ...
in anti-draft arguments. The cost of the work, military service, does not disappear even if no salary is paid. The work effort of the conscripts is effectively wasted, as an unwilling workforce is extremely inefficient. The impact is especially severe in wartime, when civilian professionals are forced to fight as amateur soldiers. Not only is the work effort of the conscripts wasted and productivity lost, but professionally skilled conscripts are also difficult to replace in the civilian workforce. Every soldier conscripted in the army is taken away from his civilian work, and away from contributing to the economy which funds the military. This may be less a problem in an agrarian or pre-industrialized state where the level of education is generally low, and where a worker is easily replaced by another. However, this is potentially more costly in a
post-industrial society In sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empirical method, e ...
where educational levels are high and where the workforce is sophisticated and a replacement for a conscripted specialist is difficult to find. Even direr economic consequences result if the professional conscripted as an amateur soldier is killed or maimed for life; his work effort and productivity are lost.


Arguments for conscription


Political and moral motives

Jean Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, , ; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, sco ...
argued vehemently against professional armies since he believed that it was the right and privilege of every citizen to participate to the defense of the whole society and that it was a mark of moral decline to leave the business to professionals. He based his belief upon the development of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
, which came to an end at the same time as the
Roman Army The Roman army (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...

Roman Army
changed from a conscript to a professional force. Similarly,
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
linked the division of armed service among the populace intimately with the political order of the state.
Niccolò Machiavelli Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (, ; ; 3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian Renaissance diplomat, philosopher and writer, best known for ''The Prince'' (''Il Principe''), written in 1513. He has often been called the father of modern ...
argued strongly for conscription and saw the professional armies as the cause of the failure of societal unity in Italy. Other proponents, such as
William James William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States ** Americans, citi ...
, consider both mandatory military and
national service National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government service, usually military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia A militia () is generally an army or some ot ...

national service
as ways of instilling maturity in young adults. Some proponents, such as
Jonathan Alter Jonathan H. Alter (born October 6, 1957) is a Modern liberalism in the United States, liberal Americans, American journalist, best-selling author, Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker and television producer who was a columnist and senior editing, e ...
and
Mickey Kaus Robert Michael "Mickey" Kaus (; born July 6, 1951) is an American journalist, pundit, and author, known for writing Kausfiles, a "mostly political" blog which was featured on ''Slate Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphi ...
, support a draft in order to reinforce social equality, create social consciousness, break down class divisions and allow young adults to immerse themselves in public enterprise.
Charles Rangel Charles Bernard Rangel (; born June 11, 1930) is an American politician who was a U.S. representative for districts in New York from 1971 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the second-longest serving incumbent member of the Ho ...
called for the reinstatement of the draft during the
Iraq War The Iraq WarThe conflict is also known as the Second Gulf War or the Third Gulf War by those who consider the Iran–Iraq War the first Gulf War. The war was also called the Second Iraq War referring to the Gulf War as the first Iraq war. The p ...
not because he seriously expected it to be adopted but to stress how the socioeconomic restratification meant that very few children of upper-class Americans served in the all-volunteer American armed forces.


Economic and resource efficiency

It is estimated by the British military that in a professional military, a company deployed for active duty in peacekeeping corresponds to three inactive companies at home. Salaries for each are paid from the military budget. In contrast, volunteers from a trained reserve are in their civilian jobs when they are not deployed. It was more financially beneficial for less-educated young Portuguese men born in 1967 to participate in conscription than to participate in the highly-competitive job market with men of the same age who continued to higher education.


Drafting of women

Throughout history, women have only been conscripted to join armed forces in a few countries, in contrast to the universal practice of conscription from among the male population. The traditional view has been that military service is a test of manhood and a
rite of passage A rite of passage is a ceremony or ritual of the passage which occurs when an individual leaves one group to enter another. It involves a significant change of social status, status in society. In cultural anthropology the term is the Anglicisat ...
from boyhood into manhood. In recent years, this position has been challenged on the basis that it violates
gender equality Gender equality, also known as sexual equality or equality of the sexes, is the state of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing d ...

gender equality
, and some countries, especially in
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

Europe
, have extended conscription obligations to women. Nations that in present-day actively draft women into military service are
Bolivia Bolivia ; ay, Wuliwya ; Quechuan languages, Quechua: ''Puliwya'' , officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. The constitutional capital is Sucre, while the seat of g ...

Bolivia
,
Chad Chad (; ar, تشاد , ; french: Tchad, ), officially known as the Republic of Chad ( ar, جمهورية تْشَاد, link=no '; ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an oce ...

Chad
,
Eritrea Eritrea ( ), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a ...

Eritrea
, (see footnote 3)
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
,
Mozambique Mozambique (), officially the Republic of Mozambique ( pt, Moçambique or , ; ny, Mozambiki; sw, Msumbiji; ts, Muzambhiki), is a country located in Southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-lar ...

Mozambique
,
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
,
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

North Korea
and
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
.
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
introduced voluntary female conscription in 1995, giving women between the ages of 18-29 an option to complete their military service alongside men.
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
introduced female conscription in 2015, making it the first
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 27 European ...
member to have a legally compulsory national service for both men and women. In practice only motivated volunteers are selected to join the army in Norway.
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...
introduced female conscription in 2010, but it was not activated until 2017. This made Sweden the second nation in Europe to draft women, and the second in the world to draft women on the same formal terms as men. Israel has universal female conscription, although in practice women can avoid service by claiming a religious exemption and over a third of Israeli women do so. Sudanese law allows for conscription of women, but this is not implemented in practice. In the United Kingdom during World War II, beginning in 1941, women were brought into the scope of conscription but, as all women with dependent children were exempt and many women were informally left in occupations such as nursing or teaching, the number conscripted was relatively few. In the
USSR The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state that spanned Eurasia during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a Federation, federal union of multiple national Republics of ...

USSR
, there was never conscription of women for the armed forces, but the severe disruption of normal life and the high proportion of civilians affected by World War II after the German invasion attracted many volunteers for what was termed "
The Great Patriotic War The Great Patriotic War (russian: Вели́кая Оте́чественная война́, translit=Velikaya Otechestvennaya voyna; uk, Велика Вітчизняна війна, translit=Velyka Vitchyzniana viyna; be, Вялікая А ...
". Medical doctors of both sexes could and would be conscripted (as officers). Also, the Soviet university education system required Department of Chemistry students of both sexes to complete an
ROTC The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) is a group of college- and university-based officer training programs for training commissioned officers of the United States Armed Forces. Overview While ROTC graduate officers serve in all branches ...

ROTC
course in NBC defense, and such female reservist officers could be conscripted in times of war. The United States came close to drafting women into the
Nurse Corps Most professional military, militaries employ specialised military nurses. They are often organised as a distinct nurse, nursing corps. Florence Nightingale formed the first nucleus of a recognised Nursing Service for the British Army during the Cri ...
in preparation for a planned invasion of Japan. In 1981 in the United States, several men filed lawsuit in the case '' Rostker v. Goldberg'', alleging that the
Selective Service Act of 1948 The Selective Service Act of 1948, also known as the Elston Act, was a major revision of the Articles of War of the United States enacted June 24, 1948 that established the current implementation of the Selective Service System. History The previ ...
violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment by requiring that only men register with the
Selective Service System The Selective Service System (SSS) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the Federal government of the United States, United States government that maintains information on those potentially subject to c ...
(SSS). The
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...

Supreme Court
eventually upheld the Act, stating that "the argument for registering women was based on considerations of equity, but Congress was entitled, in the exercise of its constitutional powers, to focus on the question of military need, rather than 'equity.'" In 2013 Judge Gray H. Miller of the
United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas (in case citations, S.D. Tex.) is the federal district court with jurisdiction over the southeastern part of Texas. The court's headquarters is in Houston, Houston, Texas and ha ...
ruled that the Service's men-only requirement was unconstitutional, as while at the time ''Rostker'' was decided, women were banned from serving in combat, the situation had since changed with the 2013 and 2015 restriction removals. Miller's opinion was reversed by the
Fifth Circuit The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (in case citations, 5th Cir.) is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction Appellate jurisdiction is the power of an appellate court to review, amend and overrule decisions of a trial ...
, stating that only the Supreme Court could overturn the Supreme Court precedence from ''Rostker''. The Supreme Court considered but declined to review the Fifth Circuit's ruling in June 2021. In an opinion authored by Justice
Sonia Sotomayor Sonia Maria Sotomayor (; born June 25, 1954) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court nomination, nominated by Preside ...

Sonia Sotomayor
and joined by Justices
Stephen Breyer Stephen Gerald Breyer ( ; born August 15, 1938) is an American lawyer, jurist, and legal scholar who is serving as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United Stat ...

Stephen Breyer
and
Brett Kavanaugh Brett Michael Kavanaugh ( ; born February 12, 1965) is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is any member of the Supreme Court of the United States ...
, the three justices agreed that the male-only draft was likely unconstitutional given the changes in the military's stance on the roles, but because Congress had been reviewing and evaluating legislation to eliminate its male-only draft requirement via the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (NCMNPS) since 2016, it would have been inappropriate for the Court to act at that time. On October 1, 1999 in Taiwan, the
Judicial Yuan The Judicial Yuan () is the judicial branch of the government of the Republic of China The Government of the Republic of China, also known retroactively as the Government of Nationalist China, is the unitary government that exercises con ...
of the Republic of China in its Interpretation 490 considered that the physical differences between males and females and the derived role differentiation in their respective social functions and lives would not make drafting only males a violation of the
Constitution of the Republic of China The Constitution of the Republic of China () is the fifth and current constitution of the Taiwan, Republic of China, ratified by the Kuomintang during the session on December 25, 1946, in Nanjing, and adopted on December 25, 1947. The constitut ...
. Though women are not conscripted in Taiwan,
transsexual Transsexuals are people who experience a gender identity that is inconsistent with their Sex assignment, assigned sex and desire to permanently Transitioning (transgender), transition to the sex or gender with which they identify, usually seeki ...

transsexual
persons are exempt. In 2018 the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
started including women in its draft registration system, although conscription is not currently enforced for either sex.


Conscientious objection

A
conscientious objector A conscientious objector (often shortened to conchie) is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia A militia () is ...
is an individual whose personal beliefs are incompatible with
military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In th ...
, or, more often, with any role in the armed forces. In some countries, conscientious objectors have special legal status, which augments their conscription duties. For example, Sweden used to allow (and once again, with the re-introduction of conscription, allows) conscientious objectors to choose a service in the "weapons-free" branch, such as an airport fireman, nurse, or telecommunications technician. The reasons for refusing to serve in the military are varied. Some people are conscientious objectors for religious reasons. In particular, the members of the historic
peace churches Peace churches are Christian churches, groups or communities advocating Christian pacifism or Biblical nonresistance. The term historic peace churches refers specifically only to three church groups among pacifist churches— Church of the Brethr ...
are
pacifist Pacifism is the opposition or resistance to war War is an intense armed conflict between states, government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. ...
by doctrine, and
Jehovah's Witnesses Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian Millenarianism (also millenarism), from Latin ''mīllēnārius'' "containing a thousand", is the belief by a religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious ...
, while not strictly pacifists, refuse to participate in the armed forces on the ground that they believe that Christians should be neutral in international conflicts.


By country


Austria

Every male citizen of the Republic of Austria from the age of 17 up to 50, specialists up to 65 years is liable to military service. however besides mobilization conscription calls to a six-month long basic military training in the
Bundesheer in Rossauer Kaserne, Vienna en, Viennese , iso_code = AT-9 , registration_plate = Vehicle registration plates of Austria, W , postal_code_type = Postal code , postal_code ...
can be done up to the age of 35. For men refusing to undergo this training, a nine-month lasting
community service Volunteers complete a cleanup of litter and trash Community service is unpaid work performed by a person or group of people for the benefit and betterment of their community without any form of compensation. Community service can be distinct fr ...
is mandatory.


Belgium

Belgium abolished the conscription in 1994. The last conscripts left active service in February 1995. To this day (2019), a small minority of the Belgian citizens supports the idea of reintroducing military conscription, for both men and women.


Bulgaria

Bulgaria had mandatory military service for males above 18 until conscription was ended in 2008. Due to a shortfall in the army of some 5500 soldiers, parts of the former ruling coalition have expressed their support for the return of mandatory military service, most notably
Krasimir Karakachanov Krasimir Donchev Karakachanov ( bg, Красимир Дончев Каракачанов ; born 29 March 1965) is a Bulgarian politician. He is currently the leader of the IMRO – Bulgarian National Movement and Ministry of Defence (Bulgaria), M ...
. Opposition towards this idea from the main coalition partner,
GERB GERB ( bg, ГЕРБ, translation=coat of arms) is a conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to ...
, saw a compromise in 2018, where instead of mandatory military service, Bulgaria could have possibly introduced a voluntary military service by 2019 where young citizens can volunteer for a period of 6 to 9 months, receiving a basic wage. However this has not gone forward.


Cambodia

Since the signing of the Peace Accord in 1993, there has been no official conscription in the country. Also the National Assembly has repeatedly rejected to reintroduce it due to popular resentment. However, in November 2006, it was reintroduced. Although mandatory for all males between the ages of 18 and 30 (with some sources stating up to age 35), less than 20% of those in the age group are recruited amidst a downsizing of the armed forces.


China

Universal conscription in China dates back to the State of Qin, which eventually became the Qin Empire of 221 BC. Following unification, historical records show that a total of 300,000 conscript soldiers and 500,000 conscript labourers constructed the
Great Wall of China The Great Wall of China () is a series of fortifications that were built across the historical northern borders of ancient Chinese states and Imperial China as protection against Eurasian nomads, various nomadic groups from the Eurasian Step ...

Great Wall of China
. In the following dynasties, universal conscription was abolished and reintroduced on numerous occasions. , universal military conscription is theoretically mandatory in the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

People's Republic of China
, and reinforced by law. However, due to the large population of China and large pool of candidates available for recruitment, the
People's Liberation Army The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between St ...
has always had sufficient volunteers, so conscription has not been required in practice at all.


Cyprus

Military service in Cyprus has a deep rooted history entangled with the Cyprus problem. Military service in the
Cypriot National Guard , name2 = National Guard General Staff , image = Emblem of the Cypriot National Guard.svg , image_size = 100px , caption = Emblem of the National Guard of Cyprus , image2 = Flag of the ...
is mandatory for all male citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as any male non-citizens born of a parent of
Greek Cypriot Greek Cypriots ( el, Ελληνοκύπριοι, tr, Kıbrıs Rumları or Kıbrıs Yunanları) are the ethnic Greeks, Greek population of Cyprus, forming the island's largest Ethnolinguistic group, ethnolinguistic community. According to the 20 ...
descent, lasting from the January 1 of the year in which they turn 18 years of age to December 31, of the year in which they turn 50. (Efthymiou, 2016). All male residents of Cyprus who are of military age (16 and over) are required to obtain an
exit visa A visa (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the R ...
from the Ministry of Defense. Currently, military conscription in Cyprus lasts 14 months.


Denmark

Conscription is known in Denmark since the
Viking Age The Viking Age (793–1066 AD) was the period during the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation o ...
, where one man out of every 10 had to serve the king.
Frederick IV of Denmark Frederick IV (Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or e ...
changed the law in 1710 to every 4th man. The men were chosen by the landowner and it was seen as a penalty. Since 12 February 1849, every physically fit man must do military service. According to §81 in the
Constitution of Denmark The Constitutional Act of the Realm of Denmark ( da, Danmarks Riges Grundlov), also known as the Constitutional Act of the Kingdom of Denmark, or simply the Constitution ( da, Grundloven, fo, Grundlógin, kl, Tunngaviusumik inatsit), is the con ...
, which was promulgated in 1849:
Every male person able to carry arms shall be liable with his person to contribute to the defence of his country under such rules as are laid down by Statute. — Constitution of Denmark
The legislation about compulsory military service is articulated in the Danish Law of Conscription. National service takes 4–12 months. It is possible to postpone the duty when one is still in full-time education. Every male turning 18 will be drafted to the 'Day of Defence', where they will be introduced to the Danish military and their health will be tested. Physically unfit persons are not required to do military service. It is only compulsory for men, while women are free to choose to join the Danish army. Almost all of the men have been volunteers in recent years, 96.9% of the total number of recruits having been volunteers in the 2015 draft. After lottery, one can become a conscientious objector. Total objection (refusal from alternative civilian service) results in up to 4 months jailtime according to the law. However, in 2014 a Danish man, who signed up for the service and objected later, got only 14 days of home arrest. In many countries the act of
desertion Desertion is the abandonment of a military duty or post without permission (a pass, liberty Broadly speaking, liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It ...
(objection after signing up) is punished harder than objecting the compulsory service.


Finland

Conscription in Finland is part of a general compulsion for for all adult males ( fi, maanpuolustusvelvollisuus; sv, totalförsvarsplikt) defined in the 127§ of the
Constitution of Finland :''For the constitution of the Grand Duchy of Finland, see Swedish Constitution of 1772.'' The Constitution of Finland ( fi, Suomen perustuslaki or sv, Finlands grundlag) is the supreme source of national law of Finland Finland ( fi, Suom ...
. Conscription can take the form of military or of civilian service. According to
Finnish Defence Forces The Finnish Defence Forces ( fi, Puolustusvoimat, sv, Försvarsmakten) are responsible for the defence of Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland , ), officially the Republic of Finland (, ), is a Nordic country located in Northern Eur ...
2011 data slightly under 80% of Finnish males turned 30 had entered and finished the military service. The number of female volunteers to annually enter armed service had stabilised at approximately 300. The service period is 165, 255 or 347 days for the rank and file conscripts and 347 days for conscripts trained as NCOs or reserve officers. The length of civilian service is always twelve months. Those electing to serve unarmed in duties where unarmed service is possible serve either nine or twelve months, depending on their training. Any Finnish male citizen who refuses to perform both military and civilian service faces a penalty of 173 days in prison, minus any served days. Such sentences are usually served fully in prison, with no
parole Parole is the early release of a prisoner who agrees to abide by certain conditions, originating from the French word ''parole'' ("speech, spoken words" but also "promise"). The term became associated during the Middle Ages with the release of ...

parole
. Jehovah's Witnesses are no longer exempted from service as of February 27, 2019. The inhabitants of demilitarized Åland are exempt from military service. By the Conscription Act of 1951, they are, however, required to serve a time at a local institution, like the coast guard. However, until such service has been arranged, they are freed from service obligation. The non-military service of Åland has not been arranged since the introduction of the act, and there are no plans to institute it. The inhabitants of Åland can also volunteer for military service on the mainland. As of 1995, women to serve on a voluntary basis and pursue careers in the military after their initial voluntary military service. The military service takes place in
Finnish Defence Forces The Finnish Defence Forces ( fi, Puolustusvoimat, sv, Försvarsmakten) are responsible for the defence of Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland , ), officially the Republic of Finland (, ), is a Nordic country located in Northern Eur ...
or in the
Finnish Border Guard The Finnish Border Guard (; ) is the national security National security or national defence is the security and Defence (military), defence of a sovereign state, nation state, including its Citizenship, citizens, economy, and instit ...
. All services of the Finnish Defence Forces train conscripts. However, the Border Guard trains conscripts only in land-based units, not in coast guard detachments or in the Border Guard Air Wing. Civilian service may take place in the Civilian Service Center in Lapinjärvi or in an accepted non-profit organization of educational, social or medical nature.


Germany

Between 1956 and 2011 conscription was mandatory for all male citizens in the German federal armed forces (German: ''Bundeswehr''), as well as for the Federal Border Guard (German: ''Bundesgrenzschutz'') in the 1970s (see Border Guard Service). With the end of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
the
German government The Federal Cabinet or Federal Government (german: Bundeskabinett or ') is the chief executive body of the Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , large ...
drastically reduced the size of its armed forces. The low demand for conscripts led to the suspension of compulsory conscription in 2011. Since then, only volunteer professionals serve in the ''Bundeswehr''.


Greece

Since 1914
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
has been enforcing mandatory
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...

military
service, currenty lasting 12 months (but historically up to 36 months) for all adult men. Citizens discharged from active service are normally placed in the reserve and are subject to periodic recalls of 1–10 days at irregular intervals. Universal conscription was introduced in Greece during the military reforms of 1909, although various forms of selective conscription had been in place earlier. In more recent years, conscription was associated with the state of general mobilisation declared on July 20, 1974 due to the crisis in
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
(the mobilisation was formally ended on December 18, 2002). The duration of military service has historically ranged between 12 and 36 months depending on various factors either particular to the conscript or the political situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Although women are employed by the Greek army as officers and soldiers, they are not obliged to enlist. Soldiers receive no health insurance, but they are provided with medical support during their army service, including hospitalization costs.
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
enforces conscription for all male citizens aged between 19 and 45. In August 2009, duration of the mandatory service was reduced from 12 months as it was before to 9 months for the army, but remained at 12 months for the navy and the air force. The number of conscripts allocated to the latter two has been greatly reduced aiming at full professionalization. Nevertheless, mandatory military service at the army was once again raised to 12 months in March 2021, unless served in units in Evros or the North Aegean islands where duration was kept at 9 months. Although full professionalization is under consideration, severe financial difficulties and mismanagement, including delays and reduced rates in the hiring of professional soldiers, as well as widespread abuse of the deferrment process, has resulted in the postponement of such a plan.


Israel

There is a mandatory military service for all men and women in Israel who are fit and 18 years old. Men must serve 30 months while women serve 24 months, with the vast majority of conscripts being Jewish. Some Israeli citizens are exempt from mandatory service: * Non-Jewish Arab citizens * permanent residents (non-civilian) such as the
Druze Druze (; ar, درزي ' or ', plural ') are members of an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Mi ...
of the Golan Heights * Male Ultra-Orthodox Jews can apply for deferment to study in
Yeshiva A yeshiva (; he, ישיבה, , sitting; pl. , or ) is a Jewish education, Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and the Torah, and halacha (Jewish law). The studyin ...
and the deferment tends to become an exemption, although some do opt to serve in the military * Female religious Jews, as long as they declare they are unable to serve due to religious grounds. Most of whom opt for the alternative of volunteering in the national service Sherut Leumi All of the exempt above are eligible to volunteer to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), as long as they declare so. Male
Druze Druze (; ar, درزي ' or ', plural ') are members of an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Mi ...
and male
CircassianCircassian may refer to: * Pertaining to Circassia, a formerly independent country located in present-day European Russia ** Circassian coast, on the Black Sea * Circassians, also known as Adyghe people ** Circassian beauties, an idealized image of ...

Circassian
Israeli citizens are liable for conscription, in accordance with agreement set by their community leaders (their community leaders however signed a clause in which all female Druze and female Circassian are exempt from service). A few male
Bedouin The Bedouin, Beduin or Bedu (; , singular ; , singular ) are nomadic Arab Tribes who have historically inhabited the desert regions in the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, Upper Mesopotamia, and North Africa. However, the Arabian Peninsula is th ...

Bedouin
Israeli citizens choose to enlist to the Israeli military in every draft (despite their Muslim-Arab background that exempt them from conscription).


South Korea


Lithuania

Lithuania abolished its conscription in 2008. In May 2015, the Lithuanian parliament voted to reintroduce conscription and the conscripts started their training in August 2015. From 2015 to 2017 there was enough volunteers to avoid drafting civilians.


Luxembourg

Luxembourg practiced military conscription from 1948 until 1967.


Moldova

Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to ...

Moldova
, which currently has male conscription, has announced plans to abolish the practice. Moldova's Defense Ministry announced that a plan which stipulates the gradual elimination of military conscription will be implemented starting from the autumn of 2018.


Netherlands

Conscription, which was called "Service Duty" ( nl, dienstplicht) in the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
, was first employed in 1810 by French occupying forces.
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
's brother
Louis Bonaparte Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (born Luigi Buonaparte; 2 September 1778 – 25 July 1846) was a younger brother of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French Emperor of the French ( French: ''Empereur des Français'') was the title of the monarch A monarch ...

Louis Bonaparte
, who was
King of Holland The monarchy of the Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and ...
from 1806 to 1810, had tried to introduce conscription a few years earlier, unsuccessfully. Every man aged 20 years or older had to enlist. By means of drawing lots it was decided who had to undertake service in the French army. It was possible to arrange a substitute against payment. Later on, conscription was used for all men over the age of 18. Postponement was possible, due to study, for example. Conscientious objectors could perform an alternative civilian service instead of military service. For various reasons, this forced military service was criticized at the end of the twentieth century. Since the Cold War was over, so was the direct threat of a war. Instead, the Dutch army was employed in more and more peacekeeping operations. The complexity and danger of these missions made the use of conscripts controversial. Furthermore, the conscription system was thought to be unfair as only men were drafted. In the European part of Netherlands, compulsory attendance has been officially suspended since 1 May 1997. Between 1991 and 1996, the Dutch armed forces phased out their conscript personnel and converted to an all-professional force. The last conscript troops were inducted in 1995, and demobilized in 1996. The suspension means that citizens are no longer forced to serve in the armed forces, as long as it is not required for the safety of the country. Since then, the Dutch army has become an all-professional force. However, to this day, every male and – from January 2020 onward – female citizen aged 17 gets a letter in which they are told that they have been registered but do not have to present themselves for service.


Norway

, Norway currently employs a weak form of mandatory military service for men and women. In practice recruits are not forced to serve, instead only those who are motivated are selected. About 60,000 Norwegians are available for conscription every year, but only 8,000 to 10,000 are conscripted. Since 1985, women have been able to enlist for voluntary service as regular recruits. On 14 June 2013 the
Norwegian Parliament Storting ( no, Stortinget , "the great assembly") is the supreme legislature of Norway, established in 1814 by the Constitution of Norway. It is located in Oslo. The Unicameralism, unicameral parliament has 169 members, and is elected every four ...
voted to extend conscription to women, making Norway the first
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 27 European ...
member and first European country to make national service compulsory for both sexes. In earlier times, up until at least the early 2000s, all men aged 19–44 were subject to mandatory service, with good reasons required to avoid becoming drafted. There is a right of
conscientious objection A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, or religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated ...
. In addition to the military service, the Norwegian government draft a total of 8,000 men and women between 18 and 55 to non-military
Civil defence Civil defense (civil defence in UK English) or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state (generally non-combatants) from military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organ ...
duty. (Not to be confused with
Alternative civilian service Alternative civilian service, also called alternative service, civilian service, non-military service, and substitute service, is a form of national service performed in lieu of military conscription for various reasons, such as conscientious ...
.) Former service in the military does not exclude anyone from later being drafted to the Civil defence, but an upper limit of total 19 months of service applies. Neglecting mobilisation orders to training exercises and actual incidents, may impose fines.


Serbia

,
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
no longer practises mandatory military service. Prior to this, mandatory military service lasted 6 months for men.
Conscientious objector A conscientious objector (often shortened to conchie) is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia A militia () is ...
s could however opt for 9 months of
civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leader ...
instead. On 15 December 2010, the
Parliament of Serbia The National Assembly ( sr-Cyr, Народна скупштина, Narodna skupština, ) is the unicameral In government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state ...
voted to suspend mandatory military service. The decision fully came into force on January 1, 2011.


Sweden

Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
had conscription ( sv, värnplikt) for men between 1901 and 2010. During the last few decades it was selective. Since 1980, women have been allowed to sign up by choice, and, if passing the tests, do military training together with male conscripts. Since 1989 women have been allowed to serve in all military positions and units, including combat. In 2010, conscription was made gender-neutral, meaning both women and men would be conscripted –on equal terms. The conscription system was simultaneously deactivated in peacetime. Seven years later, referencing increased military threat, the Swedish Government reactivated military conscription. Beginning in 2018, both men and women are conscripted.


United Kingdom

The
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
introduced conscription to full-time military service for the first time in January 1916 (the eighteenth month of
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
) and abolished it in 1920.
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
, then part of the United Kingdom, was exempted from the original 1916 military service legislation, and although further legislation in 1918 gave power for an extension of conscription to Ireland, the power was never put into effect. Conscription was reintroduced in 1939, in the lead up to
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, and continued in force until 1963.
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
was exempted from conscription legislation throughout the whole period. In all, eight million men were conscripted during both World Wars, as well as several hundred thousand younger single women. The introduction of conscription in May 1939, before the war began, was partly due to pressure from the French, who emphasized the need for a large British army to oppose the Germans. From early 1942 unmarried women age 19–30 were conscripted. Most were sent to the factories, but they could volunteer for the
Auxiliary Territorial Service The Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS; often pronounced as an acronym An acronym is a word or name formed from the initial components of a longer name or phrase, usually using individual initial letters, as in NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Orga ...
(ATS) and other women's services. Some women served in the
Women's Land Army The Women's Land Army (WLA) was a British civilian organisation created in 1917 during World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July ...
: initially volunteers but later conscription was introduced. However, women who were already working in a skilled job considered helpful to the war effort, such as a
General Post Office The General Post Office (GPO) was the state postal system and telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over , radio, , or other systems. It has its origin in the desire of ...

General Post Office
telephonist, were told to continue working as before. None was assigned to combat roles unless she volunteered. By 1943 women were liable to some form of directed labour up to age 51. During the Second World War, 1.4 million British men volunteered for service and 3.2 million were conscripted. Conscripts comprised 50% of the
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for th ...
, 60% of the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
and 80% of the
British Army The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British Armed Forces. , the British Army comprises 80,040 regular full-time personnel and 30,020 Army Reserve (United Kingdom), reserve personnel ...
. The abolition of conscription in Britain was announced on 4 April 1957, by new prime minister
Harold Macmillan Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, (10 February 1894 – 29 December 1986) was a British Conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nat ...

Harold Macmillan
, with the last conscripts being recruited three years later.


United States

Conscription in the United States ended in 1973, but males aged between 18 and 25 are required to register with the
Selective Service System The Selective Service System (SSS) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the Federal government of the United States, United States government that maintains information on those potentially subject to c ...
to enable a reintroduction of conscription if necessary. President
Gerald Ford Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. ( ; born Leslie Lynch King Jr.; July 14, 1913December 26, 2006) was an American politician who served as the 38th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state an ...

Gerald Ford
had suspended mandatory draft registration in 1975, but President
Jimmy Carter James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician, businessman, and philanthropist who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Par ...

Jimmy Carter
reinstated that requirement when the Soviet Union intervened in Afghanistan five years later. Consequently, Selective Service registration is still required of almost all young men. There have been no prosecutions for violations of the draft registration law since 1986. Males between the ages of 17 and 45, and female members of the
US National Guard The National Guard is part of the reserve components of the United States Armed Forces, reserve components of the United States Army and the United States Air Force. It is a military reserve force composed of National Guard military members or ...
may be conscripted for federal militia service pursuant to 10 U.S. Code § 246 and the Militia Clauses of the
United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first ...

United States Constitution
. In February 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that male-only conscription registration breached the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause. In '' National Coalition for Men v. Selective Service System'', a case brought by non-profit men's rights organisation the National Coalition for Men against the U.S. Selective Service System, judge Gray H. Miller issued a declaratory judgement that the male-only registration requirement is unconstitutional, though did not specify what action the government should take.


Other countries

*
Conscription in Australia Conscription in Australia, or mandatory military service also known as National Service, has a controversial history dating back to the first years of nationhood. Australia currently only has provisions for conscription during times of war when ...
* Conscription in Canada * Conscription in Egypt *
Conscription in France France was the first modern nation state to introduce universal Conscription, military conscription as a condition of citizenship. This was done in order to provide manpower for the country's military at the time of the French Revolution. Conscripti ...
* Conscription in Gibraltar * Conscription in Malaysia *
Conscription in Mexico#REDIRECT Conscription in Mexico 260px, Women of the volunteered National Military Service Military Service in Mexico (in Spanish, Servicio Militar Nacional, or SMN) currently involves all males reaching the age of eighteen years. Selection is made ...
* Conscription in New Zealand *
Conscription in Russia Conscription in Russia (russian: всеобщая воинская обязанность, translit=vseobshchaya voinskaya obyazannost, translated as "''universal military obligation''" or "''liability for military service''") is a 12-month draft, ...
*
Conscription in Singapore National Service (NS) is the national policy in Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the ...
*
Conscription in South Korea Conscription in South Korea has existed since 1957 and requires male citizens between the ages of 18 and 28 to perform Conscription, compulsory military service. Women are not required to perform military service, but they may join the military. ...
*
Conscription in Switzerland Switzerland ,german: Schweizer(in),french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under a multi-party assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republ ...
*
Conscription in the Ottoman Empire Military conscription in the Ottoman Empire varied in the periods of: * the Ottoman army in the 15th–19th centuries , Classical Army (1451–1606) * the Ottoman military reforms , Reform Period (1826–1858) * the Ottoman Army (1861–1922) ...
*
Conscription in the Republic of ChinaThe Republic of China Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern H ...
(
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
) *
Conscription in the Russian EmpireConscription in the Russian Empire was introduced by Peter I of Russia. The system was called "conscript obligation" (russian: рекрутская повинность). Prior to 18th century Russian tsars before Peter maintained professional her ...
* Conscription in Syria


Related concepts

*
Arrière-banIn medieval and early modern France, the arrière-ban (Latin ''retrobannum'') was a general proclamation whereby the King of France, king (or duke) summoned to war all the vassals of his vassals.. The term is a folk-etymological correction of Old Fre ...
*
Civil conscription Civil conscription is the obligation of civilians to perform mandatory labour for the government. This kind of work has to correspond with the exceptions in international agreements, otherwise it could fall under the category of unfree labour. Ther ...
*
Civilian Public Service The Civilian Public Service (CPS) was a program of the United States government that provided conscientious objectors with an alternative to military service during World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviate ...
*
Corvée Corvée () is a form of unpaid, unfree labour, which is intermittent in nature and which lasts limited periods of time: typically only a certain number of days' work each year. Statute labour is a corvée imposed by a state (polity), state for th ...

Corvée
* Economic conscription *
Impressment Impressment, colloquially "the press" or the "press gang", is the taking of men into a military or naval force by compulsion, with or without notice. European navies of several nations used forced recruitment by various means. The large size of ...
and the Quota System * Male expendability *
National service National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government service, usually military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia A militia () is generally an army or some ot ...

National service
*
Pospolite ruszenie 350px, Józef Brandt, ''Pospolite Ruszenie'' at a River Ford'', 1880 ''Pospolite ruszenie'' (, lit. ''mass mobilization''; "Noble Host", lat, motio belli, the French term '' levée en masse'' is also used) is a name for the mobilisation of armed ...
, mass mobilization in Poland *
Zivildienst Zivildienst is the German denomination for the alternative civilian service for conscripted persons who are conscientious objectors to fulfill their national service National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government serv ...


See also

*
Bevin Boys Bevin Boys were young British men conscripted Conscription, sometimes called the draft in the United States, is the mandatory enlistment of people in a national service, most often a military service. Conscription dates back to Ancient histor ...
*
Civil conscription Civil conscription is the obligation of civilians to perform mandatory labour for the government. This kind of work has to correspond with the exceptions in international agreements, otherwise it could fall under the category of unfree labour. Ther ...
* Ephebic Oath *
Home front during World War IThe home front during World War I covers the domestic, economic, social and political histories of countries involved in that conflict. It covers the mobilization of armed forces and war supplies,lives of others, but does not include the military hi ...
*
Home front during World War II The home front covers the activities of the civilians in a nation at war. World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved Worl ...
* List of countries by number of troops * Men's Rights *
Military history Military history is a humanities Humanities are List of academic disciplines, academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture. In the Renaissance, the term contrasted with Divinity (academic discipline), divinity and r ...
*
Military recruitment Military recruitment refers to the activity of attracting people to, and selecting them for, Recruit training, military training and Military service, employment. Demographics Gender Across the world, a large majority of recruits to state ...
* Timeline of women's participation in warfare *
War resister A war resister is a person who resists war. The term can mean several things: resisting participation in all war, or a specific war, either before or after enlisting in, being inducted into, or being conscripted into a military force. History, evo ...


References


Further reading

* Burk, James (April 1989). "Debating the Draft in America",
Armed Forces and Society ''Armed Forces & Society'' is an international, interdisciplinary, quarterly peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of ...
p. vol. 15: pp. 431–48. * Challener, Richard D. ''The French theory of the nation in arms, 1866–1939'' (1955) * Chambers, John Whiteclay. ''To Raise an Army: The Draft Comes to Modern America'' (1987) * * Flynn, George Q. (1998 33(1): 5–20). "Conscription and Equity in Western Democracies, 1940–75", ''Journal of Contemporary History'
in JSTOR
* * * Looks at citizens' responses to military conscription in several democracies since the French Revolution. * * Krueger, Christine, and Sonja Levsen, eds. ''War Volunteering in Modern Times: From the French Revolution to the Second World War'' (Palgrave Macmillan 2011) * * Littlewood, David. "Conscription in Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada during the Second World War", ''History Compass'' 18#4 (2020
online
* * * * * *


External links

* * {{Authority control Political theories