In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Canada from World War I to the Present

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Works
  • Surveys
  • Autobiographies and Memoirs
  • Military Biographies
  • Civilian Biographies
  • Journals
  • Canadian Military Law
  • First Nations
  • Leadership
  • Cities at War
  • The Korean War, 1950–1953
  • Post-1950
  • Cold War
  • Peacekeeping
  • Somalia
  • Afghanistan

Military History Canada from World War I to the Present
Michael Bechthold
  • LAST REVIEWED: 13 July 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 July 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791279-0147


“The Military History of an Unmilitary People” is the subtitle that George Stanley gave to his book Canada’s Soldiers (Stanley 1974, cited under Surveys). The subtitle may ring true, but it is also clear, based on its participation in World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, and Afghanistan in the 21st century (as well as various small wars and peacekeeping missions along the way) that Canada has a rich and extensive military history in the period since 1918. The two world wars touched virtually all aspects of Canadian society and in so doing changed the very fabric of the nation. The history of this period reflects that change. The field of Canadian military history has always attracted a high level of scholarship, but in the decades after World War II, this material was primarily generated as official histories. The field has enjoyed something of a renaissance in the last two decades, which is reflected in the works contained in this bibliography. The works cited here focus on Canada’s military experience, and there are a great number of works that reflect operational history. The fields of social and political history are also represented here, in smaller numbers, where they intersect with that military history. In order to keep the number of citations manageable the number of journal articles cited has been limited. However, there is much thought-provoking original scholarship that is central to the study of the field found in journal articles. To that end, the most relevant journals in the field have been listed here. The same stricture is applied to the sub-field of regimental, squadron, and ships’ histories. There are dozens of worthy histories on this topic that have been excluded to keep the scope of this article manageable. Many of these titles may be found in Cooke 1997 (cited under Introductory Works).

Introductory Works

There are a small number of essential reference works related to this topic. These are not books that will necessarily be read cover-to-cover, but they should always be within easy reach to provide the necessary background for a better understanding of Canadian military history. The two standard references are Bercuson and Granatstein 1992 and Granatstein and Oliver 2011 while Cooke 1997 provides a bibliographic survey of the field.

  • Bercuson, David J., and J. L. Granatstein. Dictionary of Canadian Military History. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1992.

    An older but still useful resource that contains short entries on a wide range of topics related to the field.

  • Cooke, O. A. The Canadian Military Experience 1867–1995: A Bibliography. 3d ed. Ottawa: Directorate of History and Heritage, Department of National Defence, 1997.

    This bibliography offers a detailed guide to books on the Canadian military experience. Is somewhat dated, but lists many obscure and limited-print-run books that would otherwise be difficult to find.

  • Granatstein, J. L., and Dean F. Oliver. The Oxford Companion to Canadian Military History. Don Mills, Canada: Oxford University Press, 2011.

    This rich resource contains over seven hundred entries on a wide range of topics including short descriptions of people, battles, and technology as well as longer essays on scholarship and historiography.

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