In 1943, General Harry Crerar penned a memorandum in which he noted that there was still much confusion as to “what constitutes an ‘Officer.’” His words reflected the army’s preoccupation with creating an ideal officer who would not only meet the immediate demands of war but also be able to conform to notions of social class and masculinity.
Drawing on a wide range of sources and exploring the issue of leadership through new lenses, this book looks at how the army selected and trained its junior officers after 1939 to embody the new ideal. It finds that these young men – through the mentors they copied, the correspondence they left, even the songs they sang – practised a “temperate heroism” that distinguished them from the idealized, heroic visions of officership from the First World War.
Fascinating and highly original, this book sheds new light on the challenges many junior officers faced during the Second World War – not only on the battlefield but from Canadians’ often conflicted views about social class and gender.
5 The Fighting Begins
6 Taking Stock
7 Negotiating Battle
8 Last Days
Notes; Selected Bibliography; Index
Geoffrey Hayes is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Waterloo. He is the author of The Lincs: A History of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, as well as Waterloo County: An Illustrated History. He is also the co-editor of three volumes: Vimy Ridge: A Canadian Reassessment; Afghanistan: Transition Under Threat; and Canada and the Second World War: Essays in Honour of Terry Copp.
Hayes’s deep research and extensive knowledge on the topic provides a nuanced appraisal of Canadian officers and their diverse wartime experiences.
~Matthew Barrett, Canadian War Museum, H-Net
C.P. Stacey Award for scholarly work in Canadian Military History