Crisis of Conscience
264 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Jul 2009
Release Date:01 Dec 2008
Release Date:01 Jul 2009

Crisis of Conscience

Conscientious Objection in Canada during the First World War

UBC Press
The First World War’s appalling death toll and the need for a sense of equality of sacrifice on the home front led to Canada’s first experience of overseas conscription. While historians have focused on resistance to enforced military service in Quebec, this has obscured the important role of those who saw military service as incompatible with their religious or ethical beliefs. Crisis of Conscience is the first and only book about the Canadian pacifists who refused to fight in the Great War. The experience of these conscientious objectors offers insight into evolving attitudes about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship during a key period of Canadian nation building.
Shaw's mammoth research has produced a well-written study that looks at the conscientious objectors (COs) created by Canada's Military Service Act of 1917. Summing Up: Recommended. J. L. Granatstein, Emeritus, Canadian War Museum, CHOICE, December 2009 Vol. 47 No. 04
An original and fascinating study of minority religious rights in Canadian society during wartime. Crisis of Conscience will be an important source for readers interested in pacifism, anti-war sentiment, and peace movements, not just in Canada but in the wider western world. David Marshall, author of Secularizing the Faith: Canadian Protestant Clergy and the Crisis of Belief, 1850-1940
Crisis of Conscience is essential reading for anyone who wants a greater understanding of not only conscientious objection but of the entire Canadian experience during the First World War. It is an original and balanced examination of a contentious issue and an important contribution to an often neglected area of scholarship Thomas P. Socknat, co-editor of Challenge to Mars: Essays on Pacifism from 1918 to 1945
Amy J. Shaw is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Lethbridge.



1 The Responsibilities of Citizenship: Conscientious Objection and the Government

2 Days of Anxiety: Conscientious Objection within the Historic Peace Churches

3 An Insidious Enemy within the Gates: Objection among the Smaller Sects

4 Exemption from Religion on Religious Grounds: Conscientious Objection outside Pacifist Denominations

5 Holier than Thou: Images of Conscientious Objectors






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