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A dominion responsibility

settlement strategy which eliminated the oversights inherent in the 1917 legislation. Determined to maintain strong and effective central leadership in reconstruction planning, dominion policy makers were mindful that the new soldier settlement legislation could provide an important supplement to Canada’s reactivated immigration and development strategy. However, the war had transformed Canadian society

in Unfit for heroes

labour, and recurrent labour unrest on the gold fields, there was little interest in emigration to South Africa. The 1921 census confirmed the inertia of post-Union immigration. 3 Yet, despite the modest numbers, British immigration to South Africa remained a highly contentious issue throughout the 1920s. The politicisation of South African soldier settlement was not, however, centred on the conflict

in Unfit for heroes

potentially dangerous energy and avert post-war political and social unrest, he advocated large-scale overseas soldier settlement projects which would guarantee work and a future for returning soldiers. Reluctantly the government partially relented. Bonar Law, who had recently succeeded Harcourt as Colonial Secretary, and Lord Selborne, President of the Board of Agriculture, agreed to meet an RCI

in Unfit for heroes
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Reconstruction and Soldier Settlement in the Empire Between the Wars

Research on soldier settlement has to be set within the wider history of emigration and immigration. This book examines two parallel but complementary themes: the settlement of British soldiers in the overseas or 'white' dominions, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, between 1915 and 1930. One must place soldier settlement within the larger context of imperial migration prior to 1914 in order to elicit the changes in attitude and policy which occurred after the armistice. The book discusses the changes to Anglo-dominion relations that were consequent upon the incorporation of British ex-service personnel into several overseas soldier settlement programmes, and unravels the responses of the dominion governments to such programmes. For instance, Canadians and Australians complained about the number of ex-imperials who arrived physically unfit and unable to undertake employment of any kind. The First World War made the British government to commit itself to a free passage scheme for its ex-service personnel between 1914 and 1922. The efforts of men such as L. S. Amery who attempted to establish a landed imperial yeomanry overseas is described. Anglicisation was revived in South Africa after the second Anglo-Boer War, and politicisation of the country's soldier settlement was an integral part of the larger debate on British immigration to South Africa. The Australian experience of resettling ex-servicemen on the land after World War I came at a great social and financial cost, and New Zealand's disappointing results demonstrated the nation's vulnerability to outside economic factors.

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ensure the economic recovery and political viability of the nation and empire. Moreover, solutions developed by the imperial and dominion authorities were seen as fundamental to the establishment of a new and dynamic post-war society and empire. Soldier settlement was one of these solutions. Two Canadian scholars have argued that the demobilisation of large citizen armies was at once one of the greatest

in Unfit for heroes

Despite the fact that soldiers in the past had proven inadequate and ineffective settlers the Canadian government launched a determined soldier settlement policy in late 1915. As two Canadian historians remark, a post-war soldier settlement scheme was inescapable. ‘It was unprecedented and therefore unthinkable that a war could end without some effort being made to settle soldiers

in Unfit for heroes

payment for services rendered; a reward for the hardship and sacrifices soldiers encountered on campaign. A third reason for soldier settlement was often to supplement civilian efforts to develop the economic potential of a newly acquired territory. In North America during the struggle between the colonial empires of France and England, the settlement of French and British forces in their respective

in Unfit for heroes
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Foredoomed to failure?

used to popularise and justify soldier settlement, free passage and empire settlement, it was the parallel objectives of political stability and social cohesion which lay at the root of these policies designed to reinforce the physical and emotional bonds of empire. Whereas strategic motives had governed the pursuit of military colonisation in the past, it was the political necessity of shoring up society’s ramparts

in Unfit for heroes
The failure of the Anzac legend

variety of schemes undertaken. 2 Land settlement had always been an integral part of the Australian experience and a necessary feature of state politics. According to one observer, soldier settlement ‘was a policy which carried with it no implications that were either revolutionary or experimental. It simply meant that whereas the primary producers of the pre-war period were civilians, a large number of the

in Unfit for heroes

their old life’. 15 To harness this constructive but potentially dangerous energy and avert post-war political and social unrest, he advocated large-scale overseas soldier settlement projects which would guarantee work and a future for returning soldiers. Reluctantly the government partially relented. Bonar Law, who had recently succeeded Harcourt as Secretary of State, and Lord Selborne, President of

in Emigrants and empire