Date(s) - 09/10/2015
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Dana Center Lecture Room


French-Canadians and Military Service – a Trans-Border Review

Presented in English


Dr. Laurence Armand French

The “conscription crisis” during the First World War reflected the intensity of alienation of
French Canadians from both English Canada and Great Britain when Canadians were drafted to
serve under Great Britain during the war.  The problem arose when an anti-Catholic Ulsterman
was appointed as Minister of Militia and Protestant clergymen were assigned as recruiting
officers in Quebec, resulting in riots in 1916.  Nonetheless, WWI also led to the creation of the
Canadian Corps as a separate military force within the United Kingdom allowing a greater
liaison with the United States, a factor critical to North American security during and following
World War II.  French Canadians, in both Canada and New England, readily served during the
Second World War from 1939 to 1945, and in subsequent conflicts, with many cross-border
enlistments.  Military fraternal organization like the American Legion and the Veterans of
Foreign Wars (VFW) provided crucial support groups for Franco-American veterans that served
to break down class, religious, and ethnic divides.  New England, in general, and New
Hampshire, in particular, reflected this critical milestone that allowed French Canadians to
solidify their position in the Unites States as proud Franco-Americans.

*French, native of New Hampshire is the author of Frog Town: Portrait of a French Canadian
Parish in New England (University Press of America, 2014).