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Canada and the Great War 1914-1918 Canada’s great patriot crusade.

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Presentation on theme: "Canada and the Great War 1914-1918 Canada’s great patriot crusade."— Presentation transcript:

1 Canada and the Great War 1914-1918 Canada’s great patriot crusade

2 Canada at War: Boer War (South Africa) l899 – l901: 7000 Canadians volunteer. Great War : 1914-18: 625,000 Canadians enlist : 66,000 Killed in Action, 173000 wounded WW II: 1939- 45: 1.1 Million Canadians enlist: 45,000 Killed, 92,000 Wounded Korea: l950 – 53: 25000 Canadians enlist, 512 Killed about 1200 wounded. Cold War: between 5 and 10 ten thousand Canadians stationed in Germany. Afghanistan: over 88 Canadians Killed in Action.

3 “The Lamps go out….” Sir Edward Grey June 28 th, l914: Sarajevo: Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated by Serbian nationalists – “the Black Hand”. Diplomacy stumbles and unravels; ultimatums are given and deadlines ignored; France, Germany and Russia call-up millions of young conscripts and reservists: August 1 st l914, German invades Belgium with 2 million men. August 3 rd, France declares war Britain commits her Empire: Canada is at war – August 4 th l914 The curtain rises on Act I of a colossal tragedy. Franz Ferdinand’s Funeral hearse

4 Triple Alliance Russia France British Empire Italy (l915) Triple Alliance: Germany Austro-Hungary Turkey The Alliances

5 Canada enters the War From coast to coast Canadians celebrated the war. Why? A reflexive reaction? Patriotic duty? The answer is complex Compared to our enemies we were entirely unprepared. Army – 4,000 men Navy – 2 obsolete ships Militia – 70,000 poorly trained 30,000 volunteered in Aug The army rallied at a hastily built camp at Valcartier Quebec under the ubiquitous and capricious leadership of the Minister of Militia and Defence...

6 Sir Sam Hughes One of Canada’s most colorful characters, some historians think Hughes was crazy. One high ranking officer called him “the Mad Mullah of the Militia.” Others claim he was crazy like a fox. What we agree on is that Hughes was a nationalist and from the outset, was determined that the Canadian army would be Canadian lead, Canadian equipped and carry Canadian made weapons. A noble and popular position in l914. Unfortunately, Hughes fumbled the ball and gave our soldiers bad Canadian officers, defective Canadian boots and the much maligned Canadian designed Ross rifle.

7 Mobilisation By the end of September l914, Hughes had assembled 30,000 men for overseas. The men were organized into units and out of the chaos, the 1 st Canadian Infantry Division emerged. October 3 rd, l914, the 1 st contingent boarded 30 ships and sailed for England.

8 Nascent Nationalism When the Canadians arrived in England, standing quayside was their commanding officer, British Lt. General Sir Edwin Alderson. Alderson was popular choice with the Canadians. He had commanded many of them during the Boer War (1899-1902). However, Sam Hughes wanted a Canadian commander, preferably himself or one of his Canadian protégés. He was determined to remove Alderson.

9 The Western Front: Act 1: War of Movement The Schlieffen Plan (l905). To avoid a two front war, Germany planned to move first against the French and then turn east and fight Russia. The plan was bold, required precision timing and that the French would respond as predicted. But, in war, predictions are invariably wrong or foolhardy. The plan was flawed. The left flank was to thin. The French stopped the Germans at the Marne. The result, a race to the channel and “Trench warfare”. The stalemate had begun.

10 Stalemate: Counter-siege warfare Christmas l914. A continuous trench line, 1000 km long, stretched from the English Channel to the Swiss boarder. In February of l915, the Canadians landed in France and went to Ypres.

11 End of the line - the Belgian coastline

12 Rabble to Army: the learning curve The Canadian Army arrived in France as amateurs. Four years of intense fighting transformed them into the best little army on the Western Front. The cost was heavy. Why did they become so good?

13 Ypres l915 First battle: April 22 nd to 25 th, l914: Canadians withstood first use of poison gas. Saved the British line but the cost was heavy 6,000 casualties of 18,000 men.

14 Grateful survivors

15 Trench Warfare


17 Living conditions

18 Machine guns and rifles

19 No-Man’s Land

20 Trench Foot

21 Field Artillery

22 Heavy Artillery British 21 inch gun

23 Destruction

24 Sir Julian Byng Commanded Canadians May l916 until June l917. CEF’s favourite commanding officer. Intelligent and professional, he made the Canadians a formidable force. Became Governor General in the l920s.

25 The Somme – July 1st

26 The Newfoundlanders attack

27 Nflders fix bayonets

28 The Dead and wounded

29 Shell shock

30 Nursing sisters

31 Vimy Ridge Easter morning April 9 th l917, Canadian army had grown to over 100,000 commanded by the legendary Julian Byng. Following months of intensive training and reorganization, the Canadians attacked. It was our greatest victory and in the view of many historians, made this colony a nation. The cost: 10,000 casualties

32 Colony to Nation Prime Minister Borden was determined that our sacrifice on the battlefield would not be in vain. He demanded and won concessions from the British that Canada be treated as an ally, not a colony. The British were not impressed but Borden stuck to his guns; he knew the British needed our troops. Borden’s tenacity earned Canada a seat in the Imperial War Cabinet.

33 Conscription and the Khaki Election, 1917 Heavy losses at the Somme and Vimy created a shortage of men (infantry) Borden implemented conscription and called an election. It was possibly the bitterest election in our history. French Canadiens opposed it and rioted. English Canadians voted en masse to implement it. Women voted for the first time. Quebec, never forgave the Conservative party !!!

34 Homefront Volunteerism to compulsion. Government intervention. Industrialization Role of Women: nursing sisters (40 Killed), assumed “masculine” trades and jobs.

35 War in the Air A new technology in l914, by l918 air warfare had become very important. Over 10,000 Canadians flew in the Royal Flying Corps Billy Bishop was our best !!!!

36 Breaking the Stalemate – l918 On August 8 th, l918, The Canadian and Australian corps fighting side by side tore a huge gap in the German line and advanced 8 and 7 miles respectively by day’s end. “The black day of the German Army”.

37 The 100 Hundred Days August to November l918 During this period the Canadian corps fought and won nine major battles. Affirming its reputation as the British Army’s best. The cost was heavy; over 30,000 casualties.

38 Arthur Currie -5 December 1875 – 30 November 1933 The Canadians had learned the hard lessons by “doing and dying”. The were lead by a gifted leader who surrounded himself with very capable officers; a winning combination.

39 The Last to Fall On November 11 th l918, at 10:58 a.m. – two minutes before the armistice, George Price, 28 th batallion was shot and killed by a German sniper. Likely the last allied soldier to be killed in that war. We lost 66,000 dead and 172,000 wounded out of 650,000.

40 The New Canada No nation can endure such turmoil and return to its former ways. What would the new Canada look like. How would we grieve our dead, bind our wounds and bridge the chasm between French vs English created by the conscription crisis. Time would tell.

41 Role of Women


43 Talbot Papineau’s obituary He was hit by a shell and killed during the Battle of Passchendaele in Ypres on October 30, 1917.shellBattle of PasschendaeleYpres

44 Halifax Explosion Dec 6, l917, two supply ships, the IMO and Mt. Blanc collide in the Narrows (see map) entrance to Bedford Basin. Mount Blanc packed with explosives, caught fire & the crew jumped ship. The burning vessel drifted towards the Halifax docks, a crowd of gathered. At 9:05 a.m. Mt. Blanc exploded; her anchor was found 5 km away. 2000 were killed outright. Hundreds more were maimed or blinded. Thousands were homeless and to make matters worse, a fierce blizzard hit. It was Canada’s worst disaster and history’s biggest man-made explosion until the Atomic bombs of August l945.

45 Halifax - damage Picture was taken 20 km from Halifax. Mt. Blanc’s anchor found 5 km away (weighed 1 ton) 12000 homes damaged or destroyed. 250 people blinded.

46 Llandovery Castle In l918, German U-boat sank hospital ship Llandovery Castle carrying 250 people. U-boat surfaced and attacked life boats. 15 Canadian nursing sisters were killed. “Remember the Llandovery Castle” became the Canadian Army’s battle cry in the spring of l918.

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