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Some of these objectors came to their beliefs on their own; others were members of several The World War I draft law recognized the peace churches, but prosecuted anyone else who objected on the About 6, of these men went to jail.
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Yet, despite this privilege, conscientious objectors COs historically have been persecuted for their pacifist beliefs. During the Civil War, some COs were starved to death and hung by their thumbs. During World War I, COs could be sentenced to death or to prison sentences that stretched from 20 years to life. Rather than make COs prisoners, Roosevelt and the Selective Service offered them legal ways to serve their country.

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More than 72, men applied for conscientious objector status during WWII, but only 37, were accepted. As opposed to the thousands of citizens who initially protested U. At least 25, COs chose noncombatant work, going on to serve as medics or clerics in Asia or Europe. Forest Service, or Bureau of Reclamation or working in one of 41 mental institutions spread throughout the United States.

The first CPS camp opened on May 15, , in Patapsco, Maryland; the program quickly spread to locations across the country. Adorned in spruce green trousers, T-shirts, sack coats, and caps, the men at CPS at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee worked nine-hour days six days a week, repairing roads, fixing telephone lines, planting nurseries, clearing trails, managing fire strikes, and eradicating white pine blister rust, a destructive disease that is lethal if allowed to spread from branch to trunk.

Some COs rose before their a. Before his time with the CPS, Bustin had done some hiking around Whalen, Massachusetts, but nothing prepared him for the rigorous job of swinging double-bit axes and working cross-cut saws to maintain the miles of trails that weave through the Smokies. Birky had a similar experience working—and smoke jumping—in Glacier National Park. Just like the white pine blister rust, many conscientious objectors felt that they, too, were an invasive species in America, sent to the camps to be removed from the public eye lest they compromise the wartime spirit.

Difficulties even arose within the camps themselves—religious tensions, regional rivalries, and more than a few cases of late-night filching of food.

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These objections eventually prompted some COs to enlist in the Army so they could earn a decent wage and support their families; others simply quit working and chose prison over the militaristic CPS camps. But for those who stayed in the camps and were committed to the work, this transitional moment in American history became a catalyst for personal transformations. Along with spiritual progress, the camps also allowed the men to grow socially.

With more than religions represented, the CPS squeezed the diversity of a big city into the small, wooded confines of a camp. You can read this and other stories about history, nature, culture, art, conservation, travel, science and more in National Parks magazine.

U.S. Conscientious Objectors in World War II

Even after WWII came to an end in , the government demanded that some COs continue working in the camps; men were eventually released based on accumulated service, marital status, and family size. This slow process not only kept COs from their families but gave returning servicemen the first shot at post-war jobs and educational opportunities.

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Conscientious objection has a unique place in United States history

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In Good Conscience

They tell what led them to refuse induction and choose to labor for no pay or go to federal prison during the conflict. We discover what influenced them in early life and how they managed during the following decades. By the end of this book we can Men of Peace is written by thirty-two men who refused to become members of the United States armed forces during World War II.

By the end of this book we can look back on social changes that they have made and what impact these intelligent humanitarians have had on our present day society. Get A Copy.

Paperback , pages. Published December 20th by Produccicones de La Hamaca. More Details Other Editions 1.

Conscientious Objectors and Their Role in World War II

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US Women Conscientious Objectors in World War II | War Resisters' International

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