By Sarah Glassford, Christopher Schultz, Nathan Smith, and Jonathan Weier
August 4th is an important day in the centennial of the First World War. It was on this day a century ago that Britain declared war on Germany, committing Canada to the “Great War” as a British Dominion, confirming its alliance with imperial France and Tsarist Russia, and making enemies of imperial Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The decision was itself a link in the chain-reaction of responses to a conflict between Serbia and Austria-Hungary that began weeks earlier. The escalating conflict would later draw in the Ottoman Empire, Italy, Japan, China, and the United States, among others. August 4th was the crucial step towards global war.
The meaning and impact of the war that began in 1914 are still being contested in the media, at academic conferences, by official commemorative projects, and in many other sites. In Canada, we can expect to see the war presented as a foundational narrative of a nation in its infancy maturing and persevering through hardship, but nation-building is only one way to interpret the war’s meaning and impact. ActiveHistory.ca hereby invites blog posts that draw different conclusions about the war’s social and political effects on Canadian society, its legacy in culture, and how these mixed with the problems of demobilization and reconstruction after the war. We especially invite posts that recognize the transnational currents flowing through Canada, the significance of non-national contexts for war experience, and the war’s global dimensions, all of which can tell us important things about local communities, Canada, and the nature of our world.
Since ActiveHistory.ca wishes to contribute informed and engaging work on the war and the centennial, we seek blog-posts that expand perspectives, deepen insights, and challenge assumptions. Our project is Canadian-based, but its outlook is thematically and spatially broad. Our unifying theme of “Canada’s First World War” should be understood to include a multiplicity of experiences and stories, not limited to those having taken place in Canada or involving Canadian actors. Blog post contributors will help complicate, demystify and diversify the history Canada’s First World War.
Contributions might connect current affairs with the past, explain a particular venue of research, or discuss public history initiatives. Ultimately, we are seeking voices that tell an active history of the war and its centennial, voices that tell us why this history matters. While many of ActiveHistory.ca’s contributors are practicing historians, we also welcome contributions from our readership and other interested community members. We welcome a wide range of contributions and seek to reach as wide an audience as possible. Most posts will be blog posts under 1000 words in length, but we will accept longer papers, podcasts, infographics or any form that contributes to telling this story.
Contributions can be submitted as Word documents, in the body of an email, as a podcast or in any other easily convertible format. Submissions are welcome from August 4, 2014 through to June 28, 2019, the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, ending the First World War. Accepted contributions will be posted on a regular basis. Submit your posts to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The editorial team will review all submissions for clarity and appropriateness of subject matter.