The silver cross mother: A Canadian martyrology

Title: The silver cross mother: A Canadian martyrology
Authors: Evans, Suzanne
Date: 2003
Abstract: This dissertation compares the stories of mothers of martyrs from many different religious traditions with those of Canadian mothers who were willing to send their sons to war during World War One. Over the years in the Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Sikh traditions stories have been written, repeated, dramatized and painted of mothers who were supportive of their children's martyrdom. Between 1914 and 1918 the Canadian mothers of young men found themselves living in a world in which war was increasingly described in the religious language of sacrifice. This is evident from an examination of the newspapers, magazines, novels and poetry of the day as well as words from the politicians and the chaplains. It was within this environment and using these same media, that mothers were often depicted as offering the sacrifice of their sons for the cause of civilization, justice, truth and god. In Canada after the war the image of the proud, but mournful bereaved mother served to commemorate the battle and provide it with purpose and meaning in a world which had its belief systems shaken to the core. The images of mothers of martyrs and heroes from long ago, from World War One and from present times are all designed to have a lasting and powerful influence over public opinion, drawing supporters to the cause. This historical analysis shows how the poignant mother-child relationship has been used by leaders of states and religious communities in conflict situations as well as the mothers themselves to gain support for war. In all cases the key element in the role of the mother of the sacrificed is her acceptance of the neccessity to offer her child and for this she is compensated in a variety of ways including the receipt of the Memorial Cross, or as it is better known, the Silver Cross medal.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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