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

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies and Encyclopedias
  • Surveys
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Official Histories
  • Biographies
  • Autobiographies and Memoirs
  • Home Front
  • Journals

Military History Canada through World War I
Ian C. D. Moffat
  • LAST REVIEWED: 27 May 2020
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 May 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791279-0192


The Great War was the world event that began the evolution of Canada from a self-governing British colony to a great independent country. However, one of Canada’s failings is its self-deprecation and modesty. Canada has produced a number of historic works documenting and analyzing Canada’s accomplishments and the individuals who made them happen. Although much was written by actual participants in the interwar years, the majority of the objective and analytical works have only slowly emerged after the Second World War when history became a respected academic discipline. This annotated bibliography gives a cross section of the Canadian Great War historiography with the majority of the work having been produced after 1980. The Canadian Army and the role of Canadians serving in the British Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service have good coverage in Canadian monographs. The one area of study that has a dearth of work is on the Royal Canadian Navy since it had a very small role in the Great War and did not come into its own until after 1939. Nonetheless, there are a number of works included that show the Navy’s fledgling accomplishments between 1914 and 1918, as well as the efforts of the British Admiralty to restrict the Royal Canadian Navy’s actions in defense of its own area of operations. This bibliography also contains works on prisoners of war, the psychological effects of trench warfare on Canadians serving at the front, the internment of enemy aliens in Canada, and effects of the war on the home front, including one French work analyzing French Quebec’s changing attitude to World War I over the length of the 20th century.

Bibliographies and Encyclopedias

There are few guides to Canadian Great War histories; however, there are three that will help to lead one through the historiography. Cooke 1997, although dated and needing additions from 1997 on, is still a good bibliography to the works on Canada and the Great War. Granatstein and Oliver 2011 is an encyclopedia of Canadian military history in general. Tennyson 2013 is the most modern addition to Canadian Great War writing and is an extensive annotated bibliography for Canadian Great War memoirs and biographies.

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

    This bibliography is over twenty years old and needs an update, but it is still useful as it lists many obscure and rare books published immediately after the Great War written by participants. As well, it lists many Canadian government military publications showing the various documents issued for direction to the Canadian military as well as various official histories of regiments and formations. It is a bilingual publication.

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

    Written in the form of an encyclopedia, this work gives an overview of Canadian military history, persona, and technology from colonial times to modern day conflicts. There are extensive entries on Canada in the Great War.

  • Tennyson, Brian Douglas. The Canadian Experience of the Great War: A Guide to Memoirs. Toronto: Scarecrow Press, 2013.

    This is an annotated bibliography of memoirs and biographies of Canadians who participated in the Great War. There are close to nineteen hundred titles listed of personal experiences of Canadians. There are endnotes and a large bibliography for the work as well.

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