Search Great War Images from the U of S
With the end of the war came rapid demobilization of Canada’s fighting men. Soldiers became veterans overnight. Reintegration into society was not always easy. The Canadian Government created the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment in 1918 to provide vocational training and medical treatment. The economy that had for the previous four years been geared to the war effort slipped into recession in peace time leaving thousands without work. The pension system was complicated and left the burden of proving war-related injuries to the applicant. Many suffering from chronic illness and psychological trauma were left with nothing. Discontent was widespread and a series of strikes and protests occurred in 1919.
There were a number of veteran organizations formed at this time. The largest and most influential was the Great War Veterans Association founded in 1917. In November 1925, the Canadian Legion was founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as The Canadian Legion of the British Empire Services League. Some of the groups offered social support, while others lobbied government for changes. For most of those who returned, it was a process of finding employment, continuing interrupted education and rebuilding family connections that had been severed by war.
Materials for this section from the Pamphlet Collection, the Postcard Collection, the Diefenbaker Collection, and the Walter C. Murray Presidential Papers.