Historians, veterans, museums, and public education campaigns have all documented and commemorated the experience of Canadians in times of war. But Canada also has a long, rich, and important historical tradition of resistance to both war and militarization. This collection brings together the work of sixteen scholars on the history of war resistance. Together they explore resistance to specific wars (including the South African War, the First and Second World Wars, and Vietnam), the ideology and nature of resistance (national, ethical, political, spiritual), and organized activism against militarization (such as cadet training, the Cold War, and nuclear arms).
As the federal government continues to support the commemoration and celebration of Canada’s participation in past wars, this collection offers a timely response that explores the complexity of Canada’s position in times of war and the role of social movements in challenging the militarization of Canadian society.
Catherine Gidney is an adjunct Professor in the History Department at St. Thomas University.
“At a time when government is promoting our traditions of military valour, this compilation of essays is a useful reminder that, historically, the Canadian reaction to war has been far more complicated.”
“Feeling some, ah, resistance about being part of Canada’s latest little war in some distant desert? Worth Fighting For will reassure you that Canadians have been resisting war and war fever for centuries. Prominent historians and younger scholars here explore everyone from Christian pacifists in the War of 1812 to today’s classroom school teachers seeking to interrogate war. Canada was forged by war resistance as well as by war.”
“The contributors to the ironically titled Worth Fighting For have performed an admirable public service. They’ve provided an insightful alternative to today’s patriotically correct effort to shift Canadian self-understanding in a warlike direction. Here is a fascinating collection of incisive arguments showing that Canada has a long and proud tradition of fighting war, not just wars.”
“In the midst of contemporary debates about Canada’s legacy as a ‘warrior’ nation or a ‘peacekeeping’ nation, this welcome collection of wide-ranging case studies that span 200 years provides sound evidence of individuals and groups that rejected militarism as a national ethos or a solution to global conflict. Finally, alongside the numerous books on Canada ‘at war’, we have an outstanding volume that chronicles Canadians who actively ‘resisted war’. The original perspectives here will not only enrich the current debate, but will positively shift our narrative of Canadian history itself.”
“Read this wonderful collection and be prepared for a totally new kind of Canadian war story – the anti-war story. Worth Fighting For uncovers, examines and celebrates an essential but long neglected stream in Canadian war history. It’s a story of resistance and vision, and it’s been helping to shape Canada’s character since well before confederation.”