This essay explores how Canadian soldiers of the Great War created protective spaces and sanctuaries in the front-line trenches of the Western Front to normalize violence. The Western Front was a place of industrial killing by modern weapons that inflicted enormous physical and mental harm on soldiers; but most soldiers found ways to cope and endure. What tools did the soldiers use to protect themselves? The soldiers made their trenches and holes in the ground into temporary homes, which solidified the bonds of camaraderie and normalized the abnormal experience. They banded together through song and rumours, which were often sung and shared in their deep underground dugouts, helping to raise morale. Letters from home connected soldiers to their communities back in Canada. The creation and consumption of culture helped the soldiers make sense of the war and endure the terrible violence.
Journal of Canadian Studies
Department of History

Tim, T. (2015). Spacial sanctuaries and normalizing violence: The Canadian soldier on the Western front during the Great War. Journal of Canadian Studies (Vol. 49, pp. 5–22). doi:10.3138/jcs.49.3.5