Propaganda Posters and Canadian Women in World War I

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“Won’t you help and send a man to enlist today?” This was one of the most typical tasks thrown at Canadian women during World War I, which was to ask them to give permissions to their sons and husbands to go to war. Apart from propaganda posters inspiring Canadian women to help recruit more soldiers, all sorts of other propaganda posters directed to women, aimed to create a “total war” atmosphere in which women were encouraged to play a variety of active roles. Generally speaking, during World War I, propaganda posters directed to Canadian women were of great importance, because they made Canadian women permit their husbands and sons to take part in the war, encouraged them to save food and motivated them to work in all fields to support soldiers on the battlefield.

Many women were against their sons and husbands on enlisting; the propaganda posters created a sense of glory in Canadian women’s minds by giving their husbands or sons permissions and urged them to convince other bodily abled men “fighting for their king and country”. For much of the war, especially before Prime Minister Borden legalized conscription, according to law, a man couldn’t enlist unless he received his spouse’s or mother’s written permission. While this Great War was viewed as a great adventure and a few days’ off from home by most of the men, women tended to look at it differently. Women foresaw its cruelty and toughness, thus some of them did confronted their husbands or sons by disapproving them of joining the war effort. This was exactly when propaganda posters like “To the Women of Canada” turned out. Words like “You have read what Germans have done in Belgium…getting more men NOW…fight for our king and country…” (See Appendix. A) They persuaded women step by step by helping them recall the tragedies in other countries from which most women tasted insecurities, then offering them strategies to obtain this sense of security they became lack of, telling them what they...
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