Pacifism vs. Military Training

OAC Review_Cropped.jpg

"Various Viewpoints," in The OAC Review, Volume XXVII, No. 3, p. 128. Guelph, Ontario: O. A. College Students' Publishing Association, December 1914. Archival and Special Collections, University of Guelph Library (REI OAC A0123).

“The county battalion, which had been training all winter in Charlottetown, was to leave shortly for overseas.”

L. M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside. NY: Stokes, 1921, p. 221.

In Rilla of Ingleside several Glen boys go off to war: Jem, Shirley, Walter, Joe, and Ken. They all obtain their military training either in Charlottetown, PEI or Kingsport, Nova Scotia. Some military training was done in already-established camps while other training facilities were established at colleges and universities.

In Ontario, for example, the government instructed the Ontario Agricultural College to establish an officer training corps. This created a personal dilemma for Acting President Charles Zavitz, a Quaker and pacifist.

Unwarranted Attack_Cropped.jpg

"An Unwarranted Attack," Farmer's Advocate, November 19, 1914, p. 1973. Archival and Special Collections, University of Guelph Library (XA1 MS A241).

In the early days of the war, he was unwilling to permit military parades or training on campus, resulting in a considerable backlash. Some accused Zavitz of disloyalty and demanded his resignation as Acting President.

Zavitz did, in fact, submit it; however, the Agriculture Minister James S. Duff would not accept it because he was too highly regarded a scientist to lose his job over politics. The controversy played out in the national media with the Toronto Globe and Farmer’s Advocate standing behind him while others were not so accepting. Military training programs were finally established on campus when President George Creelman returned from his leave in Australia in early 1915.

Various headlines from newspapers and magazines following the Zavitz controversy about a military training program at the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC). Represented include the Toronto Globe, Farmer’s Advocate, OAC Review.

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