Practical Inclusion: Representing French-Canadians in the Army during the Second World War
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation offers a thorough re-examination of the process and reasons for why French-Canadian representation in the Canadian Army increased during the Second World War. It argues that the army’s leadership endeavoured to increase French-Canadian representation because of a shortage of recruits for the expanding army to combat the growing Axis threat and to avoid conscription for overseas service. The Goforth Report in 1941 proposed solutions to increase representation and by 1942-1943, the number of French-speaking units, officers, French language manuals, French language training camps, trades, and advanced training centres increased considerably. During the 1944 reinforcement crisis, senior officers exhausted efforts to maintain Francophone army representation within the four French-speaking battalions prior to sending conscripts overseas. This thesis also argues that French-Canadians, especially when compared to those who joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), made an even more significant contribution to the strength of the wartime Canadian Army. Other studies in this thesis further explore the French-Canadian army experience. An examination of the Parliamentary debates and the Francophone press shows that most Francophone Members of Parliament (MPs) did not want to participate in another global war while the stance of the French language press was more complex. A random sample of courts martials of both French and English-speaking soldiers shows that the most common crimes were absence without leave (AWL) and desertion. Francophones faced harsher punishments as they were charged and convicted slightly more often of AWL and desertion and spent more time incarcerated for these two crimes. Both language groups also had significant differences to explain their offences. Finally, a study of Francophone soldiers and their Catholic faith shows that Catholicism both sustained and undermined French Canada’s relationship with the army.
Cite this version of the work
Ryan d'Eon (2024). Practical Inclusion: Representing French-Canadians in the Army during the Second World War. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/20303