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Banner: From Colony to Country: A Reader's Guide to Canadian Military History


Canadian Military History: An Overview
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First World War
Government and the Military

Political Direction of the War

Canada's war effort was directed by Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden's Conservative administration, which, with the addition of dissident Liberals, became the Union government in the autumn of 1917. Borden's Memoirs provide much useful source material, and Craig Brown has given us an excellent biography. His article, "Sir Robert Borden, the Great War and Anglo-Canadian relations" concentrates on the major theme of Canadian cooperation with Britain in the war effort, while Cuff and Granatstein emphasize the American relationship, important in wartime for the first time. In The decline of politics, John English provides a thorough examination of the war within the broader context of the national political process. Canadians, including both historians and journalists, have long been fascinated with Sir Sam Hughes, who was until 1916 Borden's dynamic, but highly eccentric, Minister of Militia and Defence. Few of Hughes's personal papers survive, but Ronald Haycock has nevertheless written the only modern, critical biography of Hughes. Morton's A peculiar kind of politics is, in fact, a peculiar, but scholarly and very readable, account of a unique experiment -- the creation of the Ministry of Overseas Military Forces of Canada, a Canadian government department in Britain to administer Canada's overseas war effort and bring order to the chaos created by Hughes during the 1914-1916 period.

Borden, Robert Laird. -- Robert Laird Borden : his memoirs. -- Edited by Henry Borden. -- Toronto : Macmillan, 1938. -- 2 vol.

Brown, Robert Craig. -- Robert Laird Borden : a biography. -- Toronto : Macmillan, 1975-1980. -- 2 vol.

____. -- "Sir Robert Borden, the Great War and Anglo-Canadian relations". -- Character and circumstance : essays in honour of Donald Grant Creighton. -- Edited by John S. Moir. -- Toronto : Macmillan, 1970. -- P. 201-224

  • Reprinted in: Towards a new world : readings in the history of Canadian foreign policy. -- Edited by J.L. Granatstein.-- Toronto : Copp Clark Pitman, 1992. -- 296 p.

Cuff, R.D. ; Granatstein, J.L. -- Canadian-American relations in wartime : from the Great War to the Cold War. -- Toronto : Hakkert, 1975. -- 205 p.

English, John. -- The decline of politics : the Conservatives and the party system, 1901-1920. -- Toronto : Univ. of Toronto Press, 1977. -- 237 p.

Haycock, Ronald G. -- Sam Hughes : the public career of a controversial Canadian. -- [S.l.] : Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press in collaboration with Canadian War Museum, 1986. -- 355 p.

Morton, Desmond. -- A peculiar kind of politics : Canada's Overseas Ministry in the First World War. -- Toronto : Univ. of Toronto Press, 1982. -- 267 p.


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