Canadian Contingent In South Africa

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Assignment 1.1: Article Abstract and Personal Reflection on Desmond Morton’s “Canada’s Expeditionary Force: The Canadian Contingent in South Africa, 1899-1900” David Hung HIE 208: Canadian Military History January 31, 2012 In the article, “Canada’s First Expeditionary Force: The Canadian Contingent in South Africa, 1899-1900,” Desmond Morton argues that “Canadian historians have dealt with more than adequately with the political facets of that decision which led to Canada’s first direct contribution to an imperial war, but tended to forget the force...,” and, more importantly, “This indifference has obscured other precedents that would set patterns repeated in two world wars and in Korea.”[i] In short, the Boer War had set the tone for what the Canadian Military would face and endure in later conflicts. The author explores three main precedents in support of his argument, namely the nation being divided, lack of proper equipment and supply, and lack of training and discipline. His approach requires the reader to either have knowledge or to research on the later conflicts in order to convince themselves of his argument. For example rather than directly comparing the patterns seen in the later conflicts to the Boer War, the author provides an account of the Boer War and relies heavily on his sources to provide the association to complete the picture. Therefore, only after careful examination and reading of the article’s sources would one find the argument convincing. The first precedent, a divided nation, can be extracted from the following statement: “The circumstances surrounding the decision to send an official contingent to the South African are contained a warning of the deep division that was in the Twentieth Century would bring to Canadian Society.”[ii] This is the extent to which the author goes to explain the precedent. Through further research, it
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