Draft-card burning was a symbol of protest performed by thousands of young American men as part of the opposition to the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War. Beginning in May 1964, some activists burned their draft cards at anti-war rallies and demonstrations. By May 1965 it was happening with greater frequency. To limit this kind of protest, in August 1965, the United States Congress enacted a law to broaden draft card violations to punish anyone who ""knowingly destroys, knowingly mutilates"" his draft card. Subsequently, 46 men were indicted for burning their draft cards at various rallies, and four major court cases were heard. One of them, United States v. O'Brien, was argued before the Supreme Court. The act of draft card burning was defended as a symbolic form of free speech, a constitutional right guaranteed by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court decided against the draft card burners; it determined that the federal law was justified and that it was unrelated to the freedom of speech. This outcome was criticized by legal experts.In Australia following the 1966 troop increases directed by Prime Minister Harold Holt, conscription notices were burned at mass demonstrations against Australian involvement in Vietnam. In June 1968, the government reacted by strengthening penalties for infractions of the 1964 National Service Act, including the burning of registration cards. War protest ceased in 1972 when Australia's new Labor government withdrew troops from Vietnam and abolished conscription.From 1965 to 1973, very few men in the U.S. were convicted of burning their draft cards. Some 25,000 others went unpunished. Before 1965, the act of burning a draft card was already prohibited by U.S. statute—the registrant was required to carry the card at all times, and any destruction of it was thus against the law. Also, it was entirely possible for a young man to destroy his draft card and still answer his country's call to service by appearing at an induction center and serving in the military. And it was possible for a registrant to faithfully keep his card on his person but fail to appear when called. The draft card was not an essential part of the government's ability to draft men into the military. Thus draft-card burning was an act of war resistance more than it was draft resistance.The image of draft card burning was a powerful one, influential in American politics and culture. It appeared in magazines, newspapers and on television, signaling a political divide between those who backed the U.S. government and its military goals and those who were against any U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Richard Nixon ran for president in 1968 on a platform based partly on putting an end to the draft, in order to undercut protesters making use of the symbolic act. As president, Nixon ended the draft in 1973, rendering unnecessary the symbolic act of draft-card burning.