Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Gordon L. Heath
During the six years comprising the Second World War approximately 41% of the Mennonites called to serve the Canadian war effort did so by enlisting in the Armed Forces. Given their traditions of non-violence and refusal to serve militarily in their countries of habitation this was a major departure from their history of the previous four hundred years. Having been divided in Russia seventy years earlier, the Canadian Mennonites had undergone very different experiences by the Second World War. Their differences were to cause divisions among the leaders that would lead to confusion among the young Mennonites being called to serve their government. Having begun to assimilate into the Canadian culture and without strong direction from their cultural and religious leaders, many of the young Mennonites responded positively to their government. With growing anti-Germanism in Canada and the desire of the Mennonites to be accepted as Canadians, nearly half of those called to serve shunned the traditional response of their cultural and religious heritage and enlisted in Armed Forces in the Second World War.
Dirks, Nathan R., "War Without, Struggle Within: Canadian Mennonite Enlistments During the Second World War" (2010). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5314.
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