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By Robert Engen

Soldiers were the sledgehammer of land conflict in the course of the 20th century, yet accurately how they fought on the tactical point has been tough to figure out. American historian S.L.A. Marshall, for example, famously claimed that the majority Allied infantrymen wouldn't struggle in any respect, even if their lives have been at stake.

In Canadians less than fireplace Robert Engen explores the dynamics of what strive against seemed like to Canada's squaddies through the moment global warfare. reading unexamined conflict adventure questionnaires from over a hundred and fifty Canadian infantry officials, Engen argues for a reassessment of the tactical behaviour of Canadian infantrymen within the moment international battle. The facts additionally exhibits that Marshall's concept of non-participation in strive against by way of Allied forces is demonstrably fake: Canadian squaddies took a persevered and competitive half within the struggling with.

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Extra resources for Canadians Under Fire

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In terms of historical veracity, the battle experience questionnaires are likely as reliable a source as any of Marshall’s interviews, perhaps even more so, given that they represent the primary documentary evidence that is strangely missing from Marshall’s testimony. There are, however, inherent dangers in simply accepting the battle experience questionnaires without further question. In his major work on the analysis of the Canadian national censuses of the nineteenth century, The Politics of Population, sociologist Bruce Curtis critically examines the accumulation of statistical data for populations, and his comments on the creation of survey knowledge bear some attention.

Almost a year after the end of the war the dti began to circulate a series of reports, evidently from data gleaned at least in part from the battle experience questionnaires. 40 Nevertheless, in terms of hypotheses and research goals, some of the administrative documentation surrounding the battle experience questionnaires can be helpful in identifying less explicit underlying motives. Despite the breadth of the tactical questions presented, the dti believed that a few areas of combat were of particular importance at the beginning of the survey program in summer 1944.

Respondents may genuinely not know how they feel about the particular issue being addressed by a given question. 32 Even fully completed postal questionnaires may fall victim to some of these shortcomings. ”34 This can be potentially endemic in data from questionnaires, particularly in public opinion polling, since in such cases people are typically surveyed on a breadth of subjects that may not all relate to their lives. An effective method in questionnaire design for weighing the potential consciousness of respondents on issues, Labaw proposes, is to determine how close to a respondent’s personal experience a particular question falls.

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