What Happens If You Dodge the Army Draft?

What Happens If You Dodge the Army Draft?

It’s a cold December night in 1957 and a
young man receives a military draft notice calling him to serve in the United States
Army. At 22 years old he has a promising future
ahead of him, and at such a young age he is already successful, but he knows that his
career will have to be put to the side as this draft notice is not a request to serve,
but an order. It may be hard to imagine, but this young
man was none other than Elvis Presley who served in the U.S. Army for nearly three years
before being honorably discharged and continuing one of the most famous music careers in history. But what would have happened if Elvis stood
up to the U.S. Army in 1957 and threw away his draft notice to continue his music career? What if you received a draft notice today
and didn’t answer the call to duty? In this episode of the Infographics Show we
explore the question, “what happens if you dodge the draft?” Let’s travel back to the 1950s when the
draft was still being implemented, and millions of men like the King of Rock were subject
to being called up. Following a few short years of peace after
the end of World War II, the U.S. found itself embroiled in another international conflict
commonly referred to as the Korean War. While a passive military draft was in effect,
the United States government was on edge as international threats felt closer to home
thanks to nuclear weapons. This is one reason why the United States government
felt it necessary to ramp up their efforts in increasing the size of the military. It is no surprise then that Congress passed
the Universal Military Training and Service Act in 1951 which required all men aged 18
to 26 to register for the draft. For men that didn’t even want to serve in
the military in the first place, being pulled away against their will was incredibly terrifying! Can you imagine leaving home and halting your
life at the demand of the U.S. government? Even someone as famous as Elvis Presley, despite
passionate protests from his fans, could not escape this requirement. As a result, according to the U.S. Justice
Department, over 80,000 men attempted to dodge the draft from 1950 to 1953 during the Korean
War, but it wasn’t until the Vietnam War in the 60’s that dodging the draft became
well documented and increasingly punished. According to global researchers, over 570,000
men were classified as “draft offenders” by the U.S. Justice Department during the
1960s when the Vietnam War became increasingly unpopular. To put that number into perspective, that’s
basically the entire population of Wyoming! It’s important to keep in mind though that
of those 570,000 men, only 210,000 were formally accused of “dodging the draft” and of
those 210,000, only 3,250 men were jailed. That means that less than 2% of accused “draft
dodgers” were significantly punished according to these statistics. That seems like an awfully low percentage
when you consider that “dodging the draft” is classified as a felony crime. In fact, you have better odds of being asked
to “come on down!” on the Price is Right. So why does it seem like the consequences
of “dodging the draft” are so low? It turns out that there are many creative
ways to “dodge the draft” and avoid doing the time for the crime. According to researchers, some of those men
drafted to serve the U.S. military in the Vietnam War avoided service through a number
of outrageous, but perfectly legal means including emigrating to Canada, purposefully failing
their physicals, and even becoming missionaries. In fact, in what was possibly a regrettable
interview for the Free Press, American singer, Ted Nugent, allegedly admitted that he stopped
all personal hygiene and made sure to urinate and defecate on himself before his physical
just to avoid serving in the Vietnam War. Can you imagine being the physician that had
to examine him?! Perhaps unsurprisingly, his stunt allegedly
worked! According to Nugent in this interview, he
was successfully able to defer his service. While he probably made a physician second-guess
their career choices, perhaps it was for the best that Nugent did not serve in the Vietnam
War as he is reported to have said, “The men who went should be applauded, but if I
would have gone over there, I’d have been killed, or I’d have killed all the hippies
in the foxholes…I would have killed everybody.” It is worth noting that the facts behind this
story are extremely controversial, but if true, this would definitely make for one of
the most interesting draft dodging stories in U.S. history! Like Ted Nugent’s story, we will never truly
know the full extent to which men “dodged the draft,” but needless to say, men were
highly motivated to do just about anything to avoid serving in the military or serving
time in jail. Flash forward to present day, some may be
surprised to know that while a draft does not exist in the United States today, young
men are still required to register as if one existed or could exist in the future. Men between the ages of 18 and 25 are still
required to register into what is called the Selective Service System which is essentially
a backup plan in case a draft needs to take place, and not registering can have some pretty
big consequences including lack of access to federal loans, not being able to apply
for government jobs, and in some states – they even forbid you from getting a driver’s
license! The reality today is that dodging the draft
is not the issue, but dodging the registration for the draft is, and it’s a harsh reality
that many young men are living with. One young man in particular, Danieldevel Davis,
found himself in a situation where he did not register for the Selective Service between
the ages of 18 and 25. He was in various foster homes and prisons
when he was younger and didn’t even know that he had to register for the Selective
Service until he came face-to-face with an opportunity to turn his life around. Tragically, when he finally had the opportunity
to go to college, he found out that he was unable to because he could not apply for a
federal student loan due to his lack of registration into the Selective Service. He said quote, “as far as the Selective
Service goes, I don’t feel as though I should be punished. I am someone trying to rehabilitate myself
and go to school.” Davis is currently trying to build a legal
case, but it’s quite clear that not registering for the Selective Service has already taken
a toll on his life. We imagine that some of our fans may be double
checking their Selective Service registrations right now. Beyond punishing young men for not registering
into a military draft system that does not actively exist, there is significant controversy
surrounding if women should have to register into the Selective Service System. As recent as February 2019, a federal judge
ruled that banning women from Selective Service registration is unconstitutional. This is not a new thought though as even President
Eisenhower was quoted in 1948 on the issue of women being drafted saying, “I am convinced
that in another war they have got to be drafted just like men. I am convinced of that.” Will we see young women have to register for
the Selective Service just like men in our lifetime? Or could involuntary military service be abandoned
altogether because of the negative impact it has on people like Danieldevel Davis? These are questions that may have to be answered
soon as global politics seemingly become more tense. Let us know in the comments what you think
about the draft! What would you do to “dodge the draft?” Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!


  1. not for the black man no why would you fight a war for people who don't care about you you'd be a fool they called you a criminal they have a problem with the color off your skin so why would you go fight a war

  2. Feminists: "We want equality!"
    Others: "Okay, let's make it a requirement for women to also register with the Selective Service or let's abandon the Selective Service altogether."
    Feminists: "Wait, that's illegal…"

  3. The smartest thing the government ever did to ensure men signed up for Selective Service was to tie Federal college financial aid to registration status. (They could probably tie other things to it, too.) The smartest thing Carter ever did was grant draft dodgers a blanket pardon. Half a million extra people in jail would have been a bit of a concern….

  4. Funny that the judge thought that not allowing women to register was unconstitutional but failed to see that forcing ANYONE to register is unconstitutional.

  5. Muhammad ali dodged the draft at the time of the Vietnam war and was punished by not allowed to step inside the ring for 3 years instead of jail time

  6. We do nat have a military draft in Belgium anymore. The last draft was in 1997. I was studying in College a that time and my draft was postponed with 1 year. When I graduated in 1998 obligated military draft had ended, due to the enormous cost for the taxpayers. We only have 30.000 military personnel, who our fully paid. At this moment it would be a peace of cake for a foreign nation to invade Belgium. Lucky we are member of the Nato and we have American Uncle Sam watching our back. To be honest Trump is right, when he is saying, that the other members of the Nato should invest more in their military, rather then always depending on the USA. What our your thoughts on this matter?

  7. So the one that did go but didn't want to came back messed up and with severe PTSD or were outright killed. That's a pretty evil government to make someone go through with that

  8. Trump dodged so anyone can.. all you need is a medical condition or pretend to suffer from sort of depression. . Vietnam War was a fake war and so has been almost all of the rest. No need to die for lies that politicians make up . The military industrial complex has us in never ending wars only so they can keep collecting more and more tax money. . Your life isn't worth a dollar..

  9. Bone Spurs? It did work for Trump 5 times.
    If Trump was a Draft Dodger and became president, pretty much anyone can be a draft dodger without consequences.
    That is the message everyone is getting.

    BTW why did this channel took months to talk about draft dodging? The right time was when Trump was calling himself a Veteran and insulting McCain. That is when the people needed to know about draft dodging.

  10. ahh yes, telling 18 year olds that they have to go out and very possibly die because of a war they know nothing about.

    and if they don't go, you fine and jail them.
    because reason.

    but like really jesus Christ 18 to 25 ? you're a child at 18. I don't even think you're fully developed yet. as in mentally. at least 23 to 25 I would say. oh yea AND WHY JAIL TIME? the most you should ever get for dodging the draft is a small fine.

  11. If your so much of a COWARD that you don’t want to fight for the freedom that we have. Then leave this country and don’t come back losers.

  12. In my country it just gotten into the law that women are available for the draft as well. Every teen gets a card around their 17th birthday from the Department of Defence which states that they are hereby drafted. However, it is not active at the moment, so you don't actually have to go to your nearby army base.

  13. Its like you're born to fight. I hate this planet. There is no such thing as freedom, the reason for so many suicides in the world.

  14. I'm in my 30s I don't think they would take me even if I volunteered. Even though I am very fit and in excellent health. Pretty sure you have to be under 34 or something.

  15. Ya the draft and selective service is unconstitutional its bs to force people to go and die for something they dont believe in and to make just men sign up for something is flucked they should get rid of it entirely or make everyone sign up not just one group

  16. If you’re rich you can fake doctor notes to not serve. I would move to a different country. I ain’t gonna be forced to serve while rich people sit back.

  17. How can you make this episode with out mentioning the most famous heavy weight champion of the world of boxing, Muhammad Ali, who refused to go to war .

  18. I'm born in Singapore and it's well known that in Singapore and South Korea , it is mandatory for every men in the country have to serve the army. But seeing how the Americans react to this, I guess they are lucky they are not born in these countries then.

  19. Enlisted 1968..turned 18, 5 months later and still had to register for the draft. Was given a 1D classification (already in).

  20. And then what happens? You steal my uncle's identity (who did die during his Vietnam service) and then start making money off of him, well US? My entire family.

  21. should start the american foreign legion an army of soldiers who do service for an opportunity to be a citizen

  22. Women want equal rights as men.. Therefore they should be required to sign for selective service too. I guess they only pick & choose which things should be equal.

  23. In 1980, I registered for Selective Service after Jimmy Carter signed the bill (my father saw to it that I did such). I was unable to go in the military because of a neurological disorder (I was an epileptic).

  24. WW3 about happen. So draft ready. My family hates me, so they comitted forgery and registered me anyways.

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