Category Archives: Canada’s First World War

The Ideological Work of Commemoration

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By Jamie Swift In the 1985 Argentinian film, The Official Story, one of the characters, a student, angrily proclaims that his country’s history textbooks had been “written by assassins.” Stories, as we know, vary considerably in the telling. The dominant narrative – to use the now shopworn term – tends to be recounted by the loudest voices. Hardly assassins. But… Read more »

Sexing Up Canada’s First World War

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By Zachary Abram Canadian cultural memory of the First World War is conspicuously asexual considering Canadians had among the highest rates for venereal disease in the British Expeditionary Force, with an infection rate that reached as high as 28.7%. [1] Anyone with a passing interest in the First World War is familiar with Trench Foot and its symptoms are synonymous… Read more »

An American Legion in the CEF? Crossing Borders during “Canada’s” First World War

By Chris Dickon On the American Armistice Day, November 11, 1927, the United States and Canada came together at Arlington Cemetery outside of Washington DC to dedicate a monument to Americans who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), Canada’s First World War army. The representatives that day remarked upon a feature of their shared history that was not well… Read more »

Passing the Torch: The CBC and Commemoration in 1964 and 2014

By Teresa Iacobelli In 1964, fifty years following the start of the First World War, the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) aired the seventeen-part radio series In Flanders’ Fields. Now, at the centenary of the Great War, the CBC has again leaned upon this series as one of its programming highlights to commemorate the anniversary. In Flanders’ Fields recently re-aired as… Read more »

Promises Broken, or Politics as Usual?

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By Jonathan Scotland Despite the Conservative Party of Canada’s fondness for promoting its support for Canada’s military, since assuming government in 2006 the federal government’s relationship with veterans has been rocky at best. By the close of last year’s parliament it seemed that new criticisms were being leveled at Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, on a daily basis. His… Read more »

Did You Know the American World War I Museum is in Kansas City?

By Jeff Bowersox I found out about the National World War I Museum during a recent conference trip – yes, to Kansas City. I was curious to see how it would memorialise a conflict that, for most Americans, is greatly overshadowed by its successor, and decided to visit. The museum is intertwined with the Liberty Memorial, dedicated in 1926 to… Read more »

New paper – Victory in the Kitchen: Food Control in the Lakehead during the Great War by Beverly Soloway

By Beverly Soloway In the summer of 1914, the twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur, similar to the rest of Canada, thought the “European war” would be a short one.[1] When Christmas came and went without any sign of peace, most Canadians just redefined their idea of “short.” Nonetheless, by spring 1915, Lakehead households were becoming concerned about… Read more »

1864 vs. 1914: A Commemorative Showdown

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By Sarah Glassford As I sat by the window of a popular coffee shop in downtown Charlottetown on a warm afternoon in September 2014, two student actors from the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) appeared on the street corner opposite, heading toward nearby Province House, seat of the provincial legislature.  He wore a three-piece suit and top hat; she… Read more »

Podcast – Robert Rutherdale on the Local Responses of WWI

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  ActiveHistory.ca is happy to feature the inaugural talk of the Fall 2014 History Matters lecture series: historian Robert Rutherdale’s “Hometown Horizons: Local Responses to Canada’s Great War.” Rutherdale delivered the talk at the Toronto Public Library’s North York Central Branch. He explores issues such as the demonization of enemy aliens, wartime philanthropy, and state authority and citizenship – all while asking… Read more »

World War One in Winnipeg – Conscription

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By Jim Blanchard It is well known that the adoption of conscription in Canada during the First World War was very unpopular in Quebec. Although many Quebecois volunteered to serve in the army in the first years of the war, large numbers of French Canadians disagreed with sending troops overseas when the country did not seem to be threatened. What… Read more »