Universal obligatory military service in Brazil was instituted in 1908 by Hermes da Fonseca, then-Minister of War. Before this, the draft was not systematic, and was often applied in an arbitrary fashion. However, obligatory military service was only effectively begun after an extensive national campaign, initiated by the "Young Turks" - low-ranking Army officers who had been trained in Germany and became advocates of various reforms. They believed that obligatory military service would only be put into practice through a national campaign undertaken by civilians and military personnel. At this point, the National Defense League was created, composed of Brazil's political and literary luminaries who would disseminate the concepts of compulsory military service and civic duty. Military service was always considered fundamental for the formation of the "Concept of Patriotism" amongst youth. With this initiative, obligatory military service was into effect in 1916. Few modifications were made afterwards. Following the military regime (1964-1985) there were some steps taken to end obligatory military service. Suggestions from the Armed Forces were put into effect. The only important change made in the Consitution of 1988 was the provision for conscientious objection. Despite having ruled in Brazil for 20 years, the armed forces still enjoy social prestige, and there have been no consistent arguments against obligatory military service. Some changes have occured, however, these are at the initiative of the armed forces. The armed forces defend maintaining the draft, in order not to lose touch with young people and, to prevent a rift between society and the armed forces. Yet, the Army has been undertaking significant changes, tending toward the delineation of a mixed system--one that combines voluntary with obligatory service.
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