Due: Assignment 1 is to be done when you have completed the readings for Unit 5 of the course.
Weighting: 30 per cent of final grade Length: 1500 to 2000 words (or six to eight double‐spaced, typed pages, plus a title page) Topic A
The outbreak of the Great War in 1914 spawned an outpouring of patriotic emotion throughout Europe and the British Empire as well as much rhetoric about bravery, heroism, and fighting for a “cause.” For example, Charles William Gordon, the Canadian clergyman and highly successful novelist who went by the pen name of Ralph Connor, wrote of the German “lust for the Satanic glory of war” and of Canada’s duty to stop the anti‐Christian hordes.
After the war, a number of novels challenged the notion that the war was somehow a crusade or fought for a greater cause. The most famous of these war novels is Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, which provides a first‐hand account of the war from the point of view of the ordinary German soldier. A year before Remarque’s novel appeared, Charles Yale Harrison published Generals Die in Bed, written from the point of view of a Canadian soldier. One literary magazine described it as the best of the war novels.
For this essay, read the selections from the novels of Remarque and Harrison in the Reading File and compare and contrast the two accounts. As you write your essay, pay particular attention to common themes in the two accounts and the major concerns of the ordinary soldiers. You may also indicate which novel, if either, you find more compelling, and why? Reviewing “The Killing Fields” (Program 2 of A People’s Century) would be helpful for you to write the essay.
Much of the force of the videos in the series A People’s Century comes from the personal testimony of participants. In Program 4, for example, George Watt explains why he went to fight in the Spanish Civil War. About 1300 Canadians, most of them from Western Canada, also fought in the Spanish