War on the Homefront World War One and Canada at Home
COST OF THE WAR:The Most Expensive War Yet • 1 in 7 men dead and 1 in 3 disabled • $400 billion in 1919 dollars, roughly $4 Trillion today. • This sum would have been enough to: • Provide every family in England, Ireland, Scotland, Belgium, Russia, the US, Germany, Canada, and Australia with a $2,500 house on a $500 five acre lot and furnish it with $1,000 worth of furniture.
AND… • Provide a $5,000,000 library and a $10,000,000 university for every community in those countries possessing a population of 20,000 or more.
AND… • Create a fund (5% interest) which would pay $1,000 a year to 125,000 teachers
AND… • Leave a surplus to purchase every piece of property and all the wealth of both England and France.
Paying for the War • First case of Total War in history. • New more expensive technology • More troops than ever before • Prolonged war effort
Attempts to Recover Losses • War Bonds • Asked people to buy bonds from the gov’t and the gov’t would then give a 5% rate of return when the bond matured. • Example: $100 bond in 1915 would be worth 5% more every year until it matured. • Raised: $1,397,000,000 during the war.
Attempts to Recover Losses • Taxes • Income Tax - temporary;) • percentage of income based on how much you make. • Taxes placed on tea, coffee, telegrams, liquor, etc. • Donations • Many donations were made to the Red Cross and the Red Cross of Canada.
Major Events on the Homefront: • Halifax Explosion • Changing Role of Women • Conscription Crisis • Enemy Aliens • War Measures Act
Halifax Explosion • 9:04 am December 6, 1917 • Largest man-made explosion in history until the nuclear age. • The Mont Blanc (2500 tonnes of explosives) and the Imo (fuel) collide and a fire starts. • The Mont Blanc was instantly vaporised in the giant fireball that rose over 1.6 km (1 mi) into the air, forming a large mushroom cloud. The force of the blast triggered a tsunami that reached up to 18 meters above the high-water mark. Imo was lifted up onto shore by this tsunami. • An anchor from the Mont-Blanc was found 2 km from the harbour.
Changing Role of Women • Involved in many ways • Munitions workers, nurses, and ambulance drivers at the front, ran farms etc. • Without women, Canada’s war economy would have collapsed. • The war led to an increased call for suffrage (the right to vote). By 1918 all women were allowed to vote in federal elections
Conscription Crisis • Conscription: The forced enlistment (lawful) of a nation’s soldiers into the armed forces. • Need for troops was growing • 1917 saw 64,339 enlistments but 122,946 casualties
Why Conscription? • All sides were running out of soldiers. • Losses were 4 times enlistment in Canada in Dec 1916
Conscription in Canada • Borden’s Military Services Act • Makes enlistment mandatory for all men 18-45 • Exemptions to several groups including conscientious objectors (people who opposed fighting on moral or religious grounds) • Many French Canadians were against conscription especially Henri Bourassa.
Conscription con’t • Military Voter’s Act • All British subjects (male and female) who were part of the Canadian Armed forces could vote. • Voting was done overseas (voting over 27 days) • Significance: Most people who were in the Canadian Armed Forces would vote for conscription because they were already in the Armed Forces.
The Khaki Election Canadian nurses voting in France
Conscription con’t • Wartime Elections Act • All wives, sisters, mothers and daughters of soldiers who are fighting overseas or have fought overseas would be granted the vote. • The right to vote was also denied to conscientious objectors, and those of enemy birth. • Significance: All women who had relatives who fought overseas would support conscription because their loved ones had supported conscription. Anyone who would be clearly against conscription (Conscientious objectors) would be denied the vote.
Controversy • On Guard: • Men between the ages of 20 and 34 single or widowed without children who will not ask for an exemption from military service from now to Nov 10, will be imprisoned for 5 years hard labour. Will however be forced to enter the army and will lose their right to vote. This is what Borden’s law states. • By not presenting themselves in front of the exemption bureau one will not avoid military service…by losing the right to vote against the Borden government that created this tyrannical law who will impose and maintain by all means necessary if they stay in power.
Francophone Enlistment not dead • Royal Vandoos! 22nd Regiment only all French Regiment
A Country Divided or United? • The conscription crisis was successful at dividing the country along many lines. • Canada was united like never before but divisions lay under the surface.