Conscription In World War Two Essay

1684 words - 7 pages

The act of applying conscription during the First and Second World Wars have nearly torn Canada apart. The conscription crisis of 1917 was a treacherous event that occurred during the First World War. During this time the relations between Quebec and the rest of Canada were in an all time low in our Canadian history. The Québécois thought conscription was merely unnecessary no matter what circumstance; while all other Canadians did essentially want conscription occur. The contrast was inevitably high on the issue of conscription between the Québécois and the rest of Canada thus creating a solution when conscription was indeed needed was impossible. However while William Lyon Mackenzie King was the Prime Minister during the Second World War; he reacted differently in comparison to Robert Borden. Although King promised not to introduce conscription as did Borden in his campaign race; he dealt the issue of conscription in a more controlled manner. Essentially Mackenzie King approached the issue of conscription using prior knowledge learnt from World War One.

In 1917 Robert Borden made terrible mistakes into which caused the Country separating Conscription Crisis of 1917. When Prime Minister Borden was elected he promised that there would be no obligatory conscription applied in any event. In the beginning of the war more than 400,000 soldiers volunteered for service overseas, one in 20 of them were Québécois. The low interest of the French Canadian's vividly shown they were not interested in the war at all. By 1917 there have been very high amount of causalities; more people were dying then volunteering. Rob Borden thought that conscription was indeed needed. As a result on May 18, 1917 he retreated his promise on "no obligatory conscription applied in any event" and introduced the Military Service Act in order to raise 100,000 recruits to serve their country overseas . It was an outstanding number for a country with such a small population. The large and wide scale conscription infuriated many of the Québécois ever since they wanted no part the war, which created a big gap between the French and English relations. The Military Service Act caused Canada to basically split in half socially. All in all the Military Service Act solely erected more problems than solutions to others.

Once the Military Service Act was put in place, the problems began that made the Conscription Crisis of 1917 so significant. Almost immediately Quebec anti-conscription riots broke out all over Montreal. The province of Quebec was totally opposing the fact of serving in World War One. The fact that forcing young men to fight and die was thought to be an outrage in Quebec. Never minding the fact that the Canadian Corps was nearly in Complete English. During the riots nearly forty percent of the Québécois conscripted men did not report for their duty in the war. The views French-Canadian's between the majorities of the English Canadian's were basically...

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