The Military Training Act 1939 was an Act of Parliament passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom on 26 May 1939, in a period of international tension that led to World War II. The Act applied to males aged 20 and 21 years old who were to be called up for six months full-time military training, and then transferred to the Reserve. There was provision for conscientious objectors. It was the UK's first act of peacetime conscription and was intended to be temporary in nature, continuing for three years unless an Order in Council declared it was no longer necessary.
An act of parliament, also called primary legislation, are statutes passed by a parliament (legislature). Act of the Oireachtas is an equivalent term used in the Republic of Ireland where the legislature is commonly known by its Irish name, Oireachtas. It is also comparable to an Act of Congress in the United States.
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, and domestically simply as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. The two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
On 27 April 1939, Leslie Hore-Belisha, Secretary of State for War, persuaded the cabinet of Neville Chamberlain to introduce a limited form of conscription as a result of the deteriorating international situation and the rise of Nazi Germany.
Leslie Hore-Belisha, 1st Baron Hore-Belisha, PC was a British Liberal, then National Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) and Cabinet Minister. He later joined the Conservative Party. He proved highly successful in modernizing the British road system in 1934–37 as Minister of Transport. As Secretary of War, 1937–1940, he feuded with the commanding generals and was removed in 1940. Anti-semitism played a role in blocking his appointment as Minister of Information. His biographer compares his strong and weak points:
The position of Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, was a British cabinet-level position which existed from 1794 to 1801 and from 1854 to 1964. The Secretary of State for War headed the War Office and was assisted by a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War, a Parliamentary Private Secretary who was also a Member of Parliament, and a Military Secretary, who was a general.
Arthur Neville Chamberlain was a British Conservative Party statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his foreign policy of appeasement, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Germany. When Adolf Hitler invaded Poland, the UK declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, and Chamberlain led Britain through the first eight months of the Second World War.
Men called up were to be known as 'militiamen' to distinguish them from the regular army. To emphasise this distinction, each man was issued with a suit in addition to a uniform. The intention was for the first intake to undergo six months of basic training before being discharged into an active reserve. They would then be recalled for short training periods and attend annual camps.
There was one registration under the Act, of the first cohort of liable males, on Saturday 3 June 1939, and call-up for these men followed. However, the Act was superseded on the outbreak of war in September 1939 by the National Service (Armed Forces) Act 1939.
The National Service Act 1939 was enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom on 3 September 1939, the day the United Kingdom declared war on Germany at the start of the Second World War. It superseded the Military Training Act 1939 and enforced full conscription on all males between 18 and 41 who were residents in the UK. It was continued in a modified form in peacetime by the National Service Act 1948.
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Conscription, sometimes called the draft, is the compulsory enlistment of people in a national service, most often a military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and 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 in the 1790s, where it became the basis of a very large and powerful military. Most European nations later copied the system in peacetime, so that men at a certain age would serve 1–8 years on active duty and then transfer to the reserve force.
The Finnish Defence Forces are responsible for the defence of Finland. A universal male conscription is in place, under which all men above 18 years of age serve for 165, 255, or 347 days. Alternative non-military service and volunteer service by women are possible.
The Selective Service System is an independent agency of the United States government that maintains information on those potentially subject to military conscription. All male-at birth U.S. citizens and male immigrant non-citizens, who are between the ages of 18 and 25 are required by law to have registered within 30 days of their 18th birthdays, and must notify Selective Service within ten days of any changes to any of the information they provided on their registration cards, such as a change of address. In practice, the selective service system has minimal practical effect today since the U.S. military operates on a volunteer basis. Nevertheless, it is seen as a contingency mechanism for the possibility that conscription someday becomes necessary again.
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 provision for conscription during times of war.
Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, whether as a chosen job (volunteer) or as a result of an involuntary draft (conscription).
Conscription in the United States, commonly known as the draft, has been employed by the federal government of the United States in five conflicts: the American Revolution, the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. The third incarnation of the draft came into being in 1940 through the Selective Training and Service Act. It was the country's first peacetime draft. From 1940 until 1973, during both peacetime and periods of conflict, men were drafted to fill vacancies in the United States Armed Forces that could not be filled through voluntary means. The draft came to an end when the United States Armed Forces moved to an all-volunteer military force. However, the Selective Service System remains in place as a contingency plan; all male-at-birth citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 are required to register so that a draft can be readily resumed if needed. United States Federal Law also provides for the compulsory conscription of men between the ages of 17 and 45 and certain women for militia service pursuant to Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution and 10 U.S. Code § 246.
Since 1914, Greece has mandatory military service (conscription) of 9 months in the Army and of 12 months in the Navy and the Air Force for men between the ages of 19 and 45. Citizens discharged from active service are normally placed in the Reserve and are subject to periodic recall of 1–10 days at irregular intervals.
Compulsory military training (CMT), a form of conscription, was practised for males in New Zealand between 1909 and 1972. Prior to and after this period military training in New Zealand has been voluntary.
A reservist is a person who is a member of a military reserve force. They are otherwise civilians, and in peacetime have careers outside the military. Reservists usually go for training on an annual basis to refresh their skills. This person is usually a former active-duty member of the armed forces, and they remain a reservist either voluntarily, or by obligation. In some countries such as Israel, Norway, Singapore, and Switzerland, reservists are conscripted soldiers who are called up for training and service when necessary.
In Turkey, compulsory military service applies to all male citizens from twenty to forty-one years of age. Those who are engaged in higher education or vocational training programs prior to their military drafting are allowed to delay service until they have completed the programs or reach a certain age. The duration of the basic military service varies: for those without 4-year university degrees twelve months as privates; for those with 4-year university degrees or higher either twelve months as reserve officers or six months as short-term privates.
A military reserve force is a military organization composed of citizens 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 when their military requires additional manpower. Reserve forces are generally considered part of a permanent standing body of armed forces. The existence of reserve forces allows a nation to reduce its peacetime military expenditures while maintaining a force prepared for war. It is analogous to the historical model of military recruitment before the era of standing armies.
The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, also known as the Burke–Wadsworth Act, Pub.L. 76–783, 54 Stat. 885, enacted September 16, 1940, was the first peacetime conscription in United States history. This Selective Service Act required that men who had reached their 21st birthday but had not yet reached their 36th birthday register with local draft boards. Later, when the U.S. entered World War II, all men from their 18th birthday until the day before their 45th birthday were made subject to military service, and all men from their 18th birthday until the day before their 65th birthday were required to register.
Conscription in Russia is a 12-month draft, mandatory for all male citizens age 18–27, with a number of exceptions. The mandatory term of service was reduced from two years in 2007-2008. Avoiding draft is felony under Russian criminal code and punishable by up to 2 years of imprisonment.
Conscription in the United Kingdom has existed for two periods in modern times. The first was from 1916 to 1920, the second from 1939 to 1960, with the last conscripted soldiers leaving the service in 1963. Known as Military Service from 1916 to 1920, the system of conscription from 1939 to 1960 was called National Service, but between 1939 and 1948, it was often referred to as "war service" in documents relating to National Insurance and pension provision.
The Militia of the United Kingdom were the military reserve forces of the United Kingdom after the Union in 1801 of the former Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland. The militia was transformed into the Special Reserve by the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907. For the period before the creation of the United Kingdom, in the home nations and their colonies, see Militia.
The National Service Act 1948 was an Act of Parliament which extended the British conscription of the Second World War long after the war-time need for it had expired, in the form of "National Service". After a bill with the same purpose had been approved in 1947, expected to be implemented 1 January 1949, the Cold War and the Malayan Emergency caused a revised and extended version of the new legislation to be approved in December 1948, only days before the new arrangements came into force.
The article lists British Army reserve brigades in the First World War. At the start of the war, British Army volunteers in the vast majority of cases joined their local infantry regiments reserve battalion.
Conscription in the Philippines has been implemented at several points in the country's history. As of 2016, no mandatory conscription is in effect in the Philippines and military service is entirely voluntary.
The Reserve Forces Act 1937 was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It allowed "Class A" British Army reservists to be called up for active service during their first five years after leaving the Army.