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Banner: From Colony to Country: A Reader's Guide to Canadian Military History


Canadian Military History: An Overview
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Second World War


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Canadian Military History: An Overview
General References

Historiography

There is no single, complete work of bibliography on Canadian military history. O.A. Cooke's The Canadian military experience is a very good source for monograph materials, dealing with the period after Confederation. It includes titles of journals in Canadian military history and military affairs, but does not list individual articles within journals. The third edition included material up to 1995; it is already dated.

The review article "Canadian military history: its books, its teaching = L'histoire militaire canadienne: ses livres, son enseignement" in the 1995 edition of Bulletin de bibliographie covers the period from earliest settlement to the present and includes articles as well as books, but has limited coverage of specific subjects. It is not widely available, and it too is dated. Most of the references in that article may be found in the various sections of these pathfinders as they are completed.

The reader must look beyond purely military history guides to general bibliographies of Canada. Canadian history: a reader's guide is an excellent, annotated introduction to the literature of all the major themes in Canadian history. The reader should consult regional bibliographies. The works by Ved Arora, Olga B. Bishop, Agnes C. O'Dea, Bruce Peel and Jacques Rouillard are only examples of major, modern regional bibliographies with many entries vital to the understanding of Canadian military history.

The reader also requires guidance to all the unpublished records: Canadian, British or French, federal, provincial or local, which relate to Canada's armed forces and to the civilian response of Canada in wartime. Over the years, the annual report of Library and Archives Canada (formerly the Public Archives of Canada) has provided a valuable guide to Canadian government records and private papers as well as to foreign records acquired by the national institution. The guides to manuscripts and government records, compiled by Cynthia Lovering and Grace Hyam, outline the organization and coverage of these archives. Two thematic guides specifically address the needs of the military history researcher. One by Jerome W. O'Brien and Glenn Wright, now dated, deals with federal government records. The other, by Timothy Dubé, casts its net wider. Both are invaluable in outlining archival holdings for the Second World War.

Unpublished materials in other repositories are less well documented. The Union list of manuscripts in Canadian repositories = Catalogue collectif des manuscrits des archives canadiennes lists only private papers (not government records) reported cooperatively by selected repositories in Canada. Because of considerable growth in the numbers of archival repositories in Canada and in the scope of their holdings in the 1980s and early 1990s, it has quickly become very dated. Canadian Archival Resources on the Internet, listed with Websites in this pathfinder, attempts to update and expand the scope of the Union list = Catalogue collectif but it is still in its infancy.

A number of articles by military historians --  A.M.J. Hyatt, D.M. Schurman, W.A.B. Douglas and Jeff Keshen --  describe the state and growth of the study of military history in Canada over the past two decades. More detailed articles are found in other parts of these pathfinders dealing with specific subjects.


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