Sunday, December 24, 2017

On 12/24/47 President Truman pardoned 1,523 WW II Draft Resisters

December 24

Truman Pardons 1,523 WW II Draft Resisters

President Harry Truman on this day pardoned 1,523 young men who were still in prison as conscientious objectors who had refused to cooperate with the draft during World War II. There were 15,805 draft resisters during World War II. The 1940 Selective Service Act had included a relatively broad definition of conscientious objection to participation in war, but it obviously did not satisfy thousands of young men who felt that cooperating with the draft only validated the principle of the right of the government to conscript people into participating in war.
A month before Truman acted on this day, on November 23, 1947, a large group of clergy and other activists had petitioned President Truman to pardon all young COs sill in prison. He pardoned more young men in 1953.
Pardoning opponents of American involvement in wars has a long tradition in the U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt pardoned all of those convicted and still in prison under the Espionage Act on December 23, 1933. President Gerald Ford, on September 16, 1974, and President Jimmy Carter, on January 21, 1977, granted different forms of conditional or full amnesty or pardons to opponents of the Vietnam War.
Editor's note:
UU AWOL is starting a daily series on prophetic women and men and events that have inspired us and shaped our communal consciousness. We are all a part of an interdependent web and have influences on each other most of which most are unconscious. In order to facilitate our human growth and development, it is helpful to recognize, acknowledge, utilize, and extend some of the knowledge, skills, and values of people and groups who have gone before us and sometimes are among us still.
There is a history of nonviolence and conscientious objection to war and attack in the world. Often the practitioners of nonviolence and conscientious objection are vilified, criminalized, and condemned until after the violence is ended. Then their courage, bravery, and moral sensitivities are at least recognized if not applauded.
Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the right of conscience in their fifth principle.


  1. Thank you for this. I am reminded of this verse in A Course In Miracles, “Walk you in glory, with your head held high, and fear no evil. The innocent are safe because they share their innocence.” T-23.Intro.3:1-2

    1. Dear Helen:

      I appreciate your comments very much with your references to A Course In Miracles. I am a student of the course as well and its theology seems to fit very well with Unitarian Universalism and take UUs ideas to a deeper, richer level.

      Thank you.