His3813 - MacLean - Canadian Propaganda in the First World War

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Introduction

According to C.P. Stacey, "Canada is an unmilitary community. Warlike her people have often been forced to be; military they have never been" (Stacey, 3). When the First World War spread across Europe in 1914, Canada was unprepared for war on such a massive scale. After the initial volunteers left, many Canadians had to be inspired to fight for the empire, or at the least to support the war from home. Popular support for the war began to wane after the first year of combat. Canadians would have had to be convinced that it would be worth their while to fight for king and country - especially when many Canadians did not identify with the king and country in question. Even though Canada was part of the British Empire, not all Canadians believed it necessary to fight in a European conflict. Propaganda was used by the Canadian government and militia recruiters to build popular support for the war. Propaganda had to be modified to appeal to different groups in Canadian society. For example, English Canadians and French Canadians perceived the war very differently. As we will see, there was a wide range of propaganda posters created to appeal to multiple facets of Canadian society.