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Tally sheet for the House vote on H.J. Res. 222, August 12, 1941

Due to intense public opposition to the draft in 1940, Congress required the peacetime draftees to serve just 12 months. A year later the House narrowly approved a joint resolution to extend the length of service by another 18 months. This tally sheet records the House’s vote, 203–202. After the Pearl Harbor attack, Congress prolonged military duty for the duration of the war.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

Tally sheet for the House vote on H.J. Res. 222

Serving the Nation: The Draft

Less than six weeks after the United States entered World War I, Congress narrowly passed the Selective Service Act of 1917, giving the president power to draft men for war service. In 1940, after the German defeat of France and amid growing concerns about a possible German attack on the United States, Congress approved the country’s first-ever peacetime draft. The combined wartime drafts required nearly 13 million American men to register for wartime service.

If it were possible to raise a sufficient number of men by voluntary enlistment and they would come from all sections in equal percentages the selective service might not be necessary.

Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn of Texas, Constituent Correspondence, August 22, 1940