Segments in this Video

Introduction: The Draft (02:14)


When America goes to war, it historically turned to a draft. Now an all-volunteer military has changed the relationship between the citizenry and war operations.

The Longest War (02:44)

Col. Kevin Farrell speaks about his experiences during the Iraq war. Perpetual combat operations are very difficult without a draft to inflate military numbers.

Origin of the Draft (02:27)

General George Washington calls on congress to provide a national draft for the army. The continental congress denies Washington the right to draft citizens.

Civil War (04:16)

The civil war forces both armies to turn to drafting soldiers to fill their ranks. Hari Jones explains the class injustices in the drafts of this period. Jennifer Mittelstadt speaks about the rising racial animosity being promoted by politicians and press.

Selective Service Act (02:18)

Mittelstadt explains President Woodrow Wilson's creation of a draft to help win World War I. Wilson attempted to fix some of the problems in the draft.

World War II (02:44)

World War II sees the largest mobilization of American troops ever. 50 million men register for the draft. People from all walks of life, even privileged classes, serve with patriotism.

War in Vietnam (04:33)

Tim O'Brien speaks about his experiences in the Vietnam War. Hari Jones speaks about the seeing the gruesome nature of the Vietnam war on television.

Draft Resistance (04:13)

A faction of Americans begins to oppose the Vietnam War and the draft. Tom Hayden speaks about the draft helping to crystallize opposition to the war. Tom Cornell and David McReynolds explain their historic protest of burning draft cards.

Draft Inequality and Racial Injustice (05:48)

Tony Velez speaks about volunteering for the draft, and how it affected his community. Social hierarchy forces the disenfranchised to bear the burden of the draft.

Heavyweight Champion of the World (02:55)

Muhammad Ali refuses to participate in the war in Vietnam and becomes a lightning rod for the draft resistance movement. Donald Rumsfeld speaks about the unrest in Washington D.C. during the Vietnam War.

Still a Subject of Debate (02:15)

Col. Gregory Daddis leads students at Westpoint Military Academy in debate over the draft. Questions of obligation and duty are paramount to officers and cadets at the academy.

Escalating and Unending War (03:27)

The Vietnam War continues to expand and require more troops. Dan Rather speaks about how the war was beginning to affect more Americans.

Nixon Institutes Draft Lottery (02:30)

Farell explains how Nixon tries to end the draft to quiet the anti-war protestors. Hari Jones speaks about the institution of the draft lottery.

End of War (02:10)

Farell talks about experiencing the disintegration of army discipline in Vietnam.

Remembering the Fallen (02:40)

Veterans and family members gather at the Vietnam Memorial to remember those lost in the war. Rep. Seth Moulton speaks about the connection between society and military service.

A Volunteer Military (07:09)

Moulton speaks about the changing relationship between America and its military. Mittlestadt speaks about the lack of discussion surrounding military service and citizenship.

Credits: The Draft (00:24)

Credits: The Draft

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

The Draft

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The question of who serves in America's military continues to shape battle strategy and foreign policy today. Ever since Lincoln imposed a national draft in the Civil War to the conflicts of the Vietnam era, forced military service has torn the nation apart-and sometimes, as in WWII, united Americans in a common purpose. The Draft tells the story of how a single, controversial issue continues to define the United States.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL131287

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.