Militia Myths: Ideas of the Canadian Citizen Soldier, 1896-1921 by James WoodMilitia Myths: Ideas of the Canadian Citizen Soldier, 1896-1921 by James Wood

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

byJames Wood

Paperback | November 1, 2010

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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.

James Wood teaches history at the University of Victoria and is the author of We Move Only Forward: Canada, the United States, and the First Special Service Force, 1942-44 and Army of the West: The Weekly Reports of German Army Group B from Normandy to the West Wall.
Title:Militia Myths: Ideas of the Canadian Citizen Soldier, 1896-1921Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:November 1, 2010Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774817666

ISBN - 13:9780774817660

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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”





Editorial Reviews

This cultural history of the amateur military tradition traces the origins of the citizen soldier ideal from long before Canadians donned khaki and boarded troopships for the Western Front. Before the Great War, Canada’s military culture was in transition as the country navigated an uncertain relationship with the United States and fought an imperial war in South Africa. Militia Myths explores the ideological transformation that took place between 1896 and 1921, arguing that by the end of the War, the untrained citizen volunteer had replaced the long-serving militiaman as the archetypal Canadian soldier.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