Fall in Line: Canada’s Role in the Imperial War Graves Commission After the First World War

Title: Fall in Line: Canada’s Role in the Imperial War Graves Commission After the First World War
Authors: Landry, Karine
Date: 2018-08-08
Abstract: The Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission (IWGC), founded during the 1917 Imperial War Conference, was the institution responsible for the British Empire’s war dead from the First World War. This thesis reveals Canada’s limited influence in establishing the IWGC and also during its early deliberations. This is in sharp contrast to standard historical views of Canada’s apparent national affirmation at home and abroad during the war. This thesis argues that despite Canada’s initiatives for increased autonomy over military and political matters during the First World War, this desire for independence of action was absent when exploring the case study of the IWGC. Each Dominion had a delegate in the IWGC’s governing body and the cost of the care and maintenance of the Empire’s war graves was shared between Britain and the Dominions, proportionally to their number of war dead. Canada’s share was the largest amongst the Dominions. However, the innovative imperial structure reflected in the IWGC’s organization did not translate into any equality in decision-making regarding IWGC policies. British representatives preferred a unified imperial approach, suppressing Dominion voices, and Canada’s representative rarely objected. Given the importance of the subject of military burials for bereaved families, the Canadian government’s general lack of advocacy on their behalf demonstrates Canada’s imperial mindset, which in this case overshadowed burgeoning national assertion.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/37968
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -