WAR DEPARTMENT EXPECTS ARMY TO GROW TO 1.2 MILLION IN 6 MONTHS
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) One hundred years ago today, April 5, 1917, Secretary of War Newton Baker* submitted a bill to Congress to create a wartime American army. The bill provided for recruiting an army of over a million men at a cost of $3 billion.
Five hundred thousand of these soldiers were to be raised by conscription (universal service army). American males ages 19 to 25 would be drafted.
Volunteers would also be accepted, ages 21-40.
The six-month war department plan was based on these figures...
Regular Army 280,000
National Guard 440,000
*Newton Diehl Baker, Jr. (1871-1937) was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia & graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1892. NDB graduated from Washington & Lee School of Law in 1894.
Baker served as City Solicitor & later Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio & as the 47th Secretary of War 1916-1921. On the day he was announced as War Secretary, he said "I don't know anything about this job."
"Conscription At Once, Plan in Army Bill," The Chicago Daily Tribune, April 6, 1917, www.archives.chicagotribune.com/