“Christmas in Canada as Usual”: Celebrating on the Home Front

Earlier this week, we shared an episode from the Imperial War Museum’s Voices of the First World War series that looked at the various ways Christmas was experienced during conflict. While we are often reminded of how Christmas was celebrated on the Western Front, perhaps most famously through the Christmas truce of 1914, we are less familiar with the way Christmas was experienced on the home front from 1914 to 1918. Christmas on the home front may have been more comfortable in many ways, but civilians were still feeling the impact of the war and absent loved ones left little to celebrate during the holidays. Continue reading ““Christmas in Canada as Usual”: Celebrating on the Home Front”

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Listening to 1918: Popular Songs on Canada’s Home Front

As we commemorate the centenary of the First World War’s final year and attempt to better understand Canadian wartime views and experiences, music offers us a way of ‘hearing’ the past. The lyrics, music, and cover art of popular songs reflected the changing attitudes of Anglo-Canadians on the home front between 1914 and 1918. In the beginning, composers focused on martial songs with patriotic lyrics that encouraged enlistment and support for ‘king and country.’ Later in the war, sentimental songs were more common because there was an increasing need to comfort sad or grieving women and children on the home front. This post examines popular songs composed in 1918, providing a sense of the messages and melodies heard by Canadians one hundred years ago. 

Continue reading “Listening to 1918: Popular Songs on Canada’s Home Front”