4-F: The forgotten unfit of the American military in World War II




Smith, Tiffany Leigh

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This research explores how different segments of American society understood, interpreted, and responded to militarily rejected men, classified as 4-F by the Selective Service System during the Second World War. The first area of this study explores the military's intent and meaning in the creation and use of a 4-F classification. The second section is dedicated to an in depth examination of African American rejection rates. As the only minority group in America kept statistically separate by the U.S. Armed Forces and the Selective Service System, special consideration is given to the circumstances and contributing factors influencing the higher rejection of black men. In contrast to official institutional understandings of 4-F, the third section discusses the social stigma and response to 4-F men on the American home front from the general public, business, and vocal politicians. The fourth section details the intimate implications of military rejection and its associative effects on dating and family life. The fifth and final section is dedicated to how and why some 4-F men sought military reclassification out of 4-F. This thesis seeks to broaden the space in the historical narrative for non-combatant men during WWII and re-examine the complex social dynamics of the U.S. home front.



Social sciences, Military rejection, Selective Service System, World War II