The silent history of veterans’ transition Milton Gregg, V.C., C.B.E., M.C., P.C., - private soldier to public actor

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University of New Brunswick


There are few biographies of Canadian veterans, and the lives of veterans who successfully “fit in” to civil society are unexamined by social scientists and historians, leaving a knowledge deficit. This focused biography of Milton Gregg reveals the “intangible obstacles to transition” of “restlessness,” “cultural dissonance,” and loss of “purpose” that many veterans experience before focusing on how veterans overcame these challenges individually or with assistance from government or their own social networks. Veterans of the First World War and Great Depression identified the connection between self-worth and self-reliance and designed a “Opportunity with Security” Veterans Charter that, by instilling the work ethic and return to traditional home and community, “re-established” veterans, overcoming the cultural dissonance between military culture and civilian culture, while avoiding dependency that arises from compensation schemes. This analysis reveals a previously unidentified intentional balance between prevailing cultural norms, including perceptions of masculinity, and Keynesian economic stimulus.