British Journal of Canadian Studies

Canadians in Bexhill-on-Sea during the First World War: a reflection of Canadian nationhood?

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2014), 27, (2), 131–148.

Abstract

The First World War is surmised to have been a formative event for Canada. Conventional wisdom denotes that the war invoked what Philip Buckner has termed a ‘colony-to-nation framework’, whereby Canada entered the war as a Dominion of Britain and emerged a nation in its own right. This, however, is a contested viewpoint. It is also argued that, although important, the war did not significantly alter the sense of national identity in Canada. Using the location of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex as a case study, this article will show that while there did appear to be a greater sense of attachment to Canada as a result of the war, this was not at the expense of an attachment to the Empire. There was, as Buckner has argued, scope for parallel identities. Nevertheless, despite this attachment, literature produced at Bexhill showed that the war had exacerbated divisions between English and French Canadians.

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Flanagan, Luke