The end of the cold war prompted a number of European countries to phase out conscription and construct all-volunteer forces (AVFs). Despite this trend, many European countries plan to retain some level of conscription. The disparity between those countries eliminating conscription and those retaining it cannot be accounted for by any single factor, and each country is responding to the particular international and domestic pressures it faces. In general, however, those countries retaining conscription fall into two categories: (1) countries that stood outside the cold war alliance structure and consequently built the ability to mobilize a large proportion of the male population in the event of war, and (2) those countries that are new political entities still attempting to construct viable armed forces. Although the practice of conscription has declined in Europe, it is unlikely to be eliminated in the near future. Copyright 2002 Western Economic Association International.
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