The muster of recruits

The legal basis for the creation of armed forces after WW II was the Defence Act from 1949 (No. 92/1949 Coll.). As well as the previous Defence Acts it determined the citizens’ obligations and specified the individual types of obligations. All men from 17 to 60 years of age were subject to conscription. Men who reached the age of 19 had so called military draft obligation, i.e. the obligation to attend draft proceedings based on which it was decided whether or not they would be drafted. This draft obligation lasted until 20 years of age. If it was decided that a man was physically and mentally capable of military service, the law said that it was his obligation to join the army in a timely fashion and do the military service. That meant either basic or alternative military service.

All men older than 19 had to do the basic military service. The basic military service lasted 24 months. The alternative military service was done by those men who were not drafted, without through no fault of their own, until they were 28 let, or who did not, through no fault of their own, start the basic military service until they were 32. The alternative service was also done by those who were redundant, i.e. a larger number of men were drafted than was necessary to replenish the number of the army (the number of men necessary to replenish the number of the army was stated by the Ministry of Defence every year). Others were included in this type of service based on social, economic or family reasons. The alternative service lasted five months.

There was a possibility to get postponement of the National (Civil) Service in the event that one was preparing for a profession. Those who served National (Civil) Service were recorded as reserves and they had take part in field days or manoeuvres in a stipulated scope, for instance when new types of weapons were introduced in the army.

The Defence Act as well as previous acts defined duties during so called national military preparedness, when the integrity of the territory or the political system were in danger. Women could be drafted as well during the national military preparedness. The Defence Act from 1949 was amended in 1958 (Act no. 19/1958 Coll.) and it increased the age limit for National (Civil) Service for 18 years of age. The period of the National Service remained two years.

The muster of recruits