Conscription And Its Negative Effects In Wwi

1432 words - 6 pages

World War 1 is often known as the “Great War” by many people. Canada played a very big and important role in this war, supplying Britain with many weapons, aids and nurses, foods and on top of that, thousands of brave soldiers. When the war first started, many Canadian men were greatly excited about the adventures that they will experience at war and the stories they will be able to tell when they come home as heroic soldiers. This excitement led many men, even young boys to enlist and volunteer for the war. However, when this war that was supposed to end in a couple of months, led to a year and then another, the number of volunteering men started to decrease further and further. This rapid drop of soldiers led Prime Minister Borden to establish the Military Service Act, also known as the Conscription Act. This act made it mandatory for men in good condition to fight, to go to war. This conscription had a very bad impact on Canada, going against the freedom of citizens which Canada supported, having negative effects on the families and the soldiers and lastly, dividing the nation into two, the English and the French.As a result of this Military Service Act, Prime Minister Borden did not commit to the promise he had made in the beginning of the war. He promised Canada that he would not use conscription because he felt that it would not be necessary due to the overwhelming number of volunteering men. This angered many people because not only did Prime Minister Borden break his promise but it was violating the fact that Canada is a free country that supports the liberty and the rights of its citizens. To be a free country, it means to not force or make its citizens do things against their will and this mandatory recruitment did just that. During the war, other rights of the citizens were abused. These violated rights include the freedom of voting which suspended many people from voting if they were not in favour of the war. This was made official through the War Time Election Act. This act restricted many people from voting for expressing their opinions and thoughts:“This act states that votes were only to be granted to all wives, sisters, mothers and daughters of soldiers who are serving or had served over seas. The vote is denied or taken from those of enemy birth, those of European with speaking the enemy tongue and conscientious objectors.” (Canadiana War Scrapbook 21)Many new Canadians that have just begun to settle into the country and felt like they belong quickly lost their patriotism and faith in Canada. Harsh feelings and hostility were built and they especially lost their trust in their Prime Minister. Even though the overall response from the public about this issue was bad, there was an even worse reaction from the families of the soldiers.Many of the families of the men who were conscripted were very upset and were not in favour of this new act. They felt and knew that this was unfair because they needed the men to...

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