A city goes to war: Victoria in the Great War 1914-1918




Kempling, James S.

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This dissertation is a combined digital history-narrative history project. It takes advantage of newly digitized historical newspapers and soldier files to explore how the people of Victoria B.C. Canada, over 8000 kilometers from the front, experienced the Great War 1914-1918. Although that experience was similar to other Canadian cities in many ways, in other respects it was quite different. Victoria’s geographical location on the very fringe of the Empire sets it apart. Demographic and ethnic differences from the rest of Canada and a very different history of indigenous-settler relations had a dramatic effect on who went to war, who resisted and how war was commemorated in Victoria. This study of Victoria will also provide an opportunity to examine several important thematic areas that may impact the broader understanding of Canada in the Great War not covered in earlier works. These themes include the recruiting of under-age soldiers, the response to the naval threat in the Pacific, resistance by indigenous peoples, and the highly effective response to the threat of influenza at the end of the war. As the project manager for the City Goes to War web-site, I directed the development of an extensive on-line archive of supporting documents and articles about Victoria during the Great War that supports this work (http://acitygoestowar.ca/). Once reviewed by the committee, this paper will be converted to web format and added to that project.



Victoria, History, World War 1914-1918