Despite lower wages, Nationalist soldiers suffered fewer shortages and their families were better cared for in the rearguard. The Nationalists used an effective combination of threats and rewards to ensure the adequate service of their conscript soldiers. The same technique was also used to turn more than half of Republican prisoners of war and incorporate them into the Nationalist Army. Republican wartime mobilization, however, should also be considered relatively successful given the severe strains imposed by the civil nature of the conflict.
Keywords: Spanish Civil War , conscription , mobilization , Republican Popular Army , Nationalist Army , morale , discipline , desertion , war effort , draft , call-up , military service. Forgot password? Don't have an account? All Rights Reserved. OSO version 0. University Press Scholarship Online.
Sign in. Throughout, the author has unearthed — and humanized — numerous individual conscripts. We meet dozens of these young men, learn where they came from, view a number of affecting personal portraits, and review the precise manner of their deaths.
Examine the role of school photography in framing the perception of history
Certainly, the contribution of conscripts has long been downplayed in historical studies, a trend that began, significantly, with Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie. But the myths surrounding conscripts are much more than another example of military history being written by professional senior officers. Most historians did not care to look deeply into conscription because it was plainly about division and its enormous cost.
Evidence of that division is largely absent from Reluctant Warriors. The associated canard, the claim that French Canadians did not volunteer and were therefore to be blamed for forcing the country to resort to compulsory service, has to be confronted, especially in light of the vital combat role played by conscripts from all parts of the country. Of course, the conscription crisis is infinitely more complicated than this oft-repeated analysis, but it still must not be ignored.
Conscript, after all, was contemporary shorthand for Francophone, as the newspaper advertisement reproduced below makes clear. It is this perception that colours the often dim view of conscripts in the historiography.
This attitude further helps explain why Canadian social memory venerates Vimy Ridge, an inconsequential skirmish when compared with the Hundred Days, above the battles from August-November But Vimy is about unity, a moment when Canadians came together to accomplish what the British and French could not.
In contrast, thanks to the conscription crisis, everything from December on reveals divisions we would rather avoid. This does not mean that conscripts did not fight effectively, but a failure to even perfunctorily examine, for instance, the recruiting situation in Quebec, fosters many contextual generalizations. The narrative also focuses solely on those who dutifully accepted compulsory service and reached the Western Front.
The Quebec City riots receive only a single mention p. The focus on operations is further evident in the bibliography, which stretches to an impressive eleven pages, but is virtually devoid of French language sources. There is no mention of the recent pioneering analyses of Mourad Djebabla  and Jean Martin  , vital work that shatters long-held assumptions about French Canadian participation — and conscription — in the Great War.
Furthermore, conscription tells us a great deal about others whom contemporaries did not consider part of the national community. The operational claims also deserve closer scrutiny.
Reluctant Warriors: Canadian Conscripts and the Great War | The Walleye
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A Reluctant Warrior by John Henningson | Books in Review
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