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It Was Their War Too : Canadian Women in World War I

By Staton, Pat

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Book Id: WPLBN0004450900
Format Type: PDF (eBook)
File Size: 26.67 MB.
Reproduction Date: 10/27/2015

Title: It Was Their War Too : Canadian Women in World War I  
Author: Staton, Pat
Volume:
Language: English
Subject: Non Fiction, History of Canada, World War I, Canada, Women
Collection: Authors Community
Subcollection: History
Historic
Publication Date:
2015
Publisher: Nancy's Very Own Foundation
Member Page: Nancy VOF

Description
The years of World War I, 1914-1918, were years of change for Canada. Canada made a place for itself in world affairs, and the country found its stride. Women in Canada too found their stride, making significant contributions to Canada’s war efforts, and becoming fully engaged in the social, economic, political and cultural life of the country. Canada and the place of women, in all their diversity of origin, race and class, would be transformed by the actions of women and like-minded men. It Was Their War Too, by Pat Staton, is a unique book that brings these women and their contributions alive and connects them to the present. Written for students and the general reader, the book richly sets the background, tells the stories of the times through the voices of the women themselves, and brings the period to life with stunning visuals. This book is not a memorial to war. It is a doorway to understanding the critical, but often invisible, contributions made to the 20th century development of Canada by women. It includes suggested student activities and a resource list for further exploration. Even though women were prohibited in these war years from doing everything that men could do, they pushed every boundary to contribute. This book tells the stories of what they did and how they did it, showing their day to day choices and their dreams, their sorrows and their joys – and the sheer life they brought to everything they did.

Summary
The years of World War I, 1914-1918, were years of change for Canada. Canada made a place for itself in world affairs, and the country found its stride. Women in Canada too found their stride, making significant contributions to Canada’s war efforts, and becoming fully engaged in the social, economic, political and cultural life of the country. Canada and the place of women, in all their diversity of origin, race and class, would be transformed by the actions of women and like-minded men.

Excerpt
Preface Most accounts of the 1914-18 war, commonly referred to afterward as the “Great War,” the “war to end all wars,” as though such a disaster could or would ever be repeated, focus on the political causes and horrifying loss of life in the bombings and trench warfare. The aftermath is usually described in terms of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and the devastation wrought by the worldwide flu epidemic, which added to the death toll. The contributions of, and consequences for, women’s participation in the war effort are not well documented. A number of published diaries of nursing sisters who saw service on the battlefields in France (see Bongard, Gass) and the National Film Board’s “And We Knew How to Dance” do provide some details of the daily lives of these courageous women. The objective of this book is to bring together documents, posters, photographs, diaries, short essays and brief biographies to present a range of experiences of Canadian women. “The Great War changed the lives of Canadian women as well as the men. The lives of those men who did return from war service were forever altered and they returned to a changed society. But women’s lives were changed as well. Their organizational experience had stood them in good stead; they gained new job skills and many, although not all, women gained the vote. Women, having learned to operate factory machinery, make financial decisions and run farms, small businesses and homes on their own, did not react positively to calls to return to their pre-war roles. There was a new sense of freedom in the air, characterized by simpler, more comfortable clothes, new music and new job opportunities. There would be no return to the confining Edwardian dress, all-male professions and restrictions on political participation. Though pressure was applied for women to give up their jobs to homecoming servicemen and return to their “natural” places as the keepers of the hearth, many women refused to do so, and indeed the huge loss of life on the battlefields of Europe and in the flu epidemic meant that marriage and motherhood were closed for many women. A generation of men was lost and so women turned willingly to other options.”

 

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