Fight or Pay: Soldiers' Families in the Great War by Desmond MortonFight or Pay: Soldiers' Families in the Great War by Desmond Morton

Fight or Pay: Soldiers' Families in the Great War

byDesmond Morton

Hardcover | October 2, 2004

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Our slogan has always been ‘Fight or Pay.’ We call upon the people to enlist or help others enlist. We sometimes say: ‘If you cannot put the "I" into fight, put the "pay" into patriotism,’ and that serves as a slogan on any platform.

– Sir Herbert Ames, founder of the Canadian Patriotic Fund

Unlike the Second World War, the Great War exists in the collective memory of Canadians as a tragic war. Characterized by the brutality of trench warfare, the First World War is remembered largely for the immense sacrifice in life and limb of Canadian soldiers. In Fight or Pay, reknowned historian Desmond Morton turns his eye to the stories of those who paid in lieu of fighting – the wives, mothers, and families left behind when soldiers went to war. Aware that the recruiting effort would fail if men were forced to choose between their families and the front, the Canadian government and its wealthy backers introduced the Canadian Patriotic Fund, known in its day as "the Patriotic." Charged with support of soldiers’ loved ones, the Patriotic and its volunteers set out to take over their lives and transform them into a middle-class model of frugal self-denial. Meanwhile, the Militia Department took on the task of deciding which dependants a soldier could support. Suddenly, the State and private philanthropists were managing family decisions that had never been their business before.

A pan-Canadian story, Fight or Pay brings to light the lives of thousands of valiant women whose sacrifices have been overlooked in previous histories of the Great War. It is also an incisive and honest look at the beginnings of a social welfare system that Canadians have come to think of as intrinsic to citizenship. Social and military historians, scholars of gender studies, descendants of First World War families, and anyone with an interest in popular history will find Morton’s tale a rich addition to the landscape of Canadian history.

Desmond Morton holds the Hiram Mills Chair in History at McGill University and is the author of numerous books on Canadian military, political, and industrial relations history.
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Title:Fight or Pay: Soldiers' Families in the Great WarFormat:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9.27 × 6.44 × 1.1 inPublished:October 2, 2004Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774811080

ISBN - 13:9780774811088

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Table of Contents

Preface

1 War and Families

2 Pay and Allowances

3 The Patriotic Fund

4 Choices and Responsibilities

5 Homecomings

6 Grumbling and Complaining

7 Victory for Whom?

8 Never Again

Appendix

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

The First World War is remembered largely for the immense sacrifice in life and limb of Canadian soldiers. In Fight or Pay, Desmond Morton turns his eye to the stories of those who paid in lieu of fighting – the wives, mothers, and families left behind when soldiers went to war. A pan-Canadian story, Fight or Pay brings to light the lives of thousands of valiant women whose sacrifices have been overlooked in previous histories. It is an incisive and honest look at the beginnings of a social welfare system that Canadians have come to think of as intrinsic to citizenship.Fight or Pay is a fascinating story of how families managed during the absence of their male relatives, told by a scholar with a deep knowledge of the Great War. A major contribution to Canadian history. - Margaret Conrad, co-author of History of the Canadian Peoples