A Home Away From Home: Citizenship and National Identity in the Canadian Army Overseas, 1939--1943

Title: A Home Away From Home: Citizenship and National Identity in the Canadian Army Overseas, 1939--1943
Authors: Maker, John
Date: 2010
Abstract: This work examines morale in the Canadian Army overseas from 1939 to 1943. Canadian soldiers began arriving in the United Kingdom in December 1939 and were not committed to battle, with the exception of the one-day raid on Dieppe, until July 1943. Throughout most of their time in the British Isles, Canadian soldiers were kept out of combat, which presented difficult and unprecedented problems of morale and discipline. Their long-term presence in Britain, separated from their loved ones and peaceful civilian lives in Canada, exacerbated these problems. Around 500,000 Canadian soldiers spent time in Britain during the war, which represented approximately 4% of the overall Canadian population in 1939. Therefore, the experience of this large microcosm of Canada's population also serves as an indicator of the mentality of Canadians generally on the eve of the war and during the early war years. Nevertheless, historians have paid little attention to this representative cross-section of the Canadian population. The present work examines the manner in which the army tried to ameliorate morale problems, and finds that a highly developed sense of Canadian identity in the soldiers overseas necessitated the provision of specifically Canadian measures to maintain their morale. The maintenance of strong institutional and familial ties with Canada also facilitated improved morale overseas. This study examines various themes related to Canadian nationalism, identity, and citizenship in a demographically small portion of the population. It draws conclusions based on their experiences that have national pertinence and therefore provides new insight into the overall Canadian experience of the Second World War.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/30037
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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