Militia Myths: Ideas of the Canadian Citizen Soldier, 1896-1921

Overview

The image of farmers and workers called to the battlefields endures in Canada's social memory of the First World War. But is the ideal of being a citizen first and a soldier only by necessity as recent as our histories and memories suggest?

Militia Myths brings to light a military culture that consistently employed the citizen soldier as its foremost symbol, but was otherwise in a state of profound transition. At the time of
Confederation, the ...

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Overview

The image of farmers and workers called to the battlefields endures in Canada's social memory of the First World War. But is the ideal of being a citizen first and a soldier only by necessity as recent as our histories and memories suggest?

Militia Myths brings to light a military culture that consistently employed the citizen soldier as its foremost symbol, but was otherwise in a state of profound transition. At the time of
Confederation, the defence of Canada itself represented the country's only real obligation to the British Empire, but by the early twentieth century Canadians were already fighting an imperial war in South Africa. In 1914, they began raising an army to fight on the
Western Front. By the end of the First World War, the ideological transition was complete: for better or for worse, the untrained civilian who had answered the call-to-arms in 1914 had replaced the long-serving volunteer militiaman of the past as the archetypal
Canadian citizen soldier.

Militia Myths traces the evolution of a uniquely Canadian amateur military tradition -- one that has had an enormous impact on the country's experience of the First and Second World
Wars.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This is a must-have book in Canadian military and social history, representing both fields at their very best. Wood sets the record straight on one of the most discussed but nonetheless little known concepts in our history: the militia myth. For the first time, we have a real and compelling understanding of what was once demonized in our history - the idea of being a citizen first and a soldier if necessary.
- Roch Legault, co-editor of Loyal Service: Perspectives on French-Canadian Military Leaders

Militia Myths is an engaging and important book. It revises our understanding of military professionalism in the early twentieth century. Wood shows the distinction between amateur and professional soldiers in modern warfare to be more complex than we have come to believe. His work is sure to stimulate further study of the pre-1914 period and the impact of the Great War on Canada's armed forces.
- Andrew Iarocci, author of Shoestring Soldiers: The 1st Canadian Division at War, 1914-15

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780774817660
  • Publisher: University of British Columbia Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2010
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Canadian Ideas of the Citizen Soldier

1 A Military Spirit in Canada, 1896-98

2 An Army for Empire, 1898-1901

3 "Don't Call Me Tommy," 1901-04

4 "Who Are You Going to Fight?" 1905-08

5 Continental Commitments, 1909-11

6 Involuntary Action, 1911-14

7 War and Citizenship, 1914-17

8 Victory and Vindication, 1918-21

Conclusion: A Citizen's Duty in "Canada's
Century"

Appendices

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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