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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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Second World War
Government and the Military

Manpower and Conscription

Conscription for overseas service, with its potential for creating the kinds of conflicts between French and English Canada that had emerged during the First World War, was an ongoing political question throughout the war. However, it was only part of the overall question of allocation of manpower and labour to optimize the performance of both the Canadian economy and the armed forces. Michael Stevenson, in a work developed from his Ph.D. thesis, is the first to examine the whole 'Selective Service' system. Dan Byers, in his Ph.D. thesis, focuses more narrowly on the National Resources Mobilization Act and the effectiveness of conscription for military service. Granatstein and Hitsman's, in Broken promises, address the question as part of a wider study of compulsory military service throughout Canadian history, but are in general critical of how it was imposed.

Burns, E.L.M. -- Manpower in the Canadian Army, 1939-1945. -- Toronto : Clarke, Irwin, 1956. -- 184 p.

Byers, Daniel Thomas. -- "Mobilizing Canada : the National Resources Mobilization Act, the Department of National Defence, and compulsory military service in Canada, 1940-1945". -- Montreal : McGill Univ., Dept. of History, c2000. -- Ph.D. thesis, McGill Univ., Montreal, c2000. -- 442 l.

* "The conscription crisis, 1942". -- André Laurendeau : witness for Quebec. -- Edited by Philip Stratford. -- Toronto : Macmillan, 1973. -- P. 3-123 -- Also published in French under the title: La crise de la conscription, 1942

Dawson, R. MacGregor. -- The conscription crisis of 1944. -- Toronto : Univ. of Toronto Press, 1961. -- 136 p.

Granatstein, J.L. -- "The 'hard' obligations of citizenship : the Second World War in Canada". -- Belonging : the meaning and future of Canadian citizenship. -- Edited by William Kaplan. -- Montreal : McGill-Queen's Univ. Press, 1993. -- P. 36-49

  • Examines the failure of the Canadian government to integrate a proportion of its population -- men who would not volunteer for overseas service -- into a common idea of citizenship, as illustrated by the National Resources Mobilization Act

Granatstein, J.L. ; Hitsman, J.M. -- Broken promises : a history of conscription in Canada. -- Toronto : Oxford Univ. Press, 1977. -- 281 p.

Lafrance, Edith. -- "Résistance à la conscription : réfractaires et insoumis Canadiens-français lors de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale". -- Montréal : Université du Québec à Montréal, 1997. -- 3 microfiches. -- (Université du Québec à Montréal : mémoires et thèses). -- Thèse de maîtrise, Université du Québec à Montréal, 1997. -- 168 f.

Leblanc, Roger. -- "La ligue pour la défense du Canada et le plebiscite de 1942". -- Montréal : Université du Québec à Montréal, 1997. -- 3 microfiches. -- (Université du Québec à Montréal : mémoires et thèses). -- Thèse de maîtrise, Université du Québec à Montréal, 1997. -- 145 f.

Nugent, Helen Jean McClelland. -- "The Acadian response to the conscription crisis of World War II". -- Ann Arbor, Mich. : University Microfilms International, 1983. -- 2 microfiches. -- Ph.D. thesis, Michigan State Univ., 1983. -- 131 l.

Roy, R.H. -- "Mutiny in the mountains : the Terrace 'incident'". -- Men at war : politics, technology and innovation in the twentieth century. -- Edited by Timothy Travers and Christian Archer. -- Chicago : Precedent, 1982. -- P. 49-67

Russell, Peter A. -- "BC's 1944 'zombie' protests against overseas conscription". -- BC studies. -- No. 122 (Summer 1999). -- P. 49-76

Stevenson, Michael D. -- Canada's greatest wartime muddle : national Selective Service and the mobilization of human resources during World War II. -- Montreal : McGill-Queen's Univ. Press, 2001. -- 255 p.

  • Considering the effects of 'Selective Service' on selected sectors of the population -- Native Canadians, university students, war industry workers, coal miners, longshoremen, meat packers, hospital nurses and textile workers -- Stevenson concludes that bureaucrats achieved limited success in allocating national military and civilian human resources on a rational, orderly and efficient scale

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