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WORLD WAR I Social Studies 11
THE WAR BEGINS • In August 1914, Britain and France went to war with Germany. • The Canadian government immediately offered Britain troops for overseas service, although Ottawa controlled the level of Canada’s military participation.
Animated Map World War I • BBC - History - Animated Map: The Western Front, 1914 - 1918
THE WAR BEGINS • Most Canadians greeted the outbreak of war with enthusiasm, especially those born in the British Isles who volunteered in large numbers. • They were unaware, along with the rest of the world, of the horrors that twentieth-century warfare would bring.
THE WAR BEGINS • Recruits were gathered and given basic training at the hastily-built camp at Val Cartier, Québec. • On October 3, the first 32,000-strong contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force sailed for Britain. • The British colony of Newfoundland also sent 500 troops at this time.
The Canadian Expeditionary Force • In February 1915, Canadian troops took up positions along the Western Front in France and Belgium.
The Canadian Expeditionary Force • The war quickly reached a stalemate. • Each side dug a complex series of damp, uncomfortable trenches protected by barbed wire. • The men lived in these to shield themselves from observation and the machine-gun and artillery fire that swept the battlefields. • In April 1915, the 1st Canadian Division fought the grim Second Battle of Ypres, in Belgium, during which the Germans introduced poison gas to the Western Front.
The Canadian Expeditionary Force • A costly war of attrition followed for over a year and more Canadian divisions joined the struggle. • In the late summer and autumn of 1916, the Canadians fought under grueling conditions to advance only a few miles on the Somme front. • By October 1916, the Canadian Corps had grown to four infantry divisions supported by strong artillery, cavalry, engineer, and auxiliary forces, a total of more than 80,000 men.
Life In the Trenches • http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/
The Canadian Expeditionary Force Life in the trenches
VIMY RIDGE • The capture of Vimy Ridge symbolized Canada’s significant achievements during the war.
VIMY RIDGE • As part of a British offensive around Arras in April 1917, the Canadian Corps was to seize heavily-fortified Vimy Ridge in northern France. • The Canadians carefully planned and rehearsed their attack.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge BY: Richard Jack, 1917
VIMY RIDGE • At 5:30 on the morning of 9 April, all four Canadian divisions, advancing together for the first time, stormed the seven-kilometer-long ridge and captured it, except for two German positions which fell three days later.
Canadians Attack Behind British M1 Tank BBC - History - Weapons of War: Mark 1 Tank
VIMY RIDGE • The cost to Canada was high: 3598 killed and over 7000 wounded. • But the Canadians’ determination earned them a reputation as formidable, effective troops.
VIMY RIDGE • Many historians and writers consider the spectacular Canadian victory at Vimy a defining moment for Canada, when the country emerged from under the shadow of Britain and felt capable of greatness.
RECRUITMENT AND CONSCRIPTION • In 1917, Ottawa imposed the controversial measure of compulsory military service, or conscription.
RECRUITMENT AND CONSCRIPTION • Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden initially expected Canada’s overseas manpower needs to be met through voluntary means. • Following the outbreak of war, militia units across Canada acted as recruiting stations.
RECRUITMENT AND CONSCRIPTION • By the end of 1915, recruitment had declined and Ottawa allowed patriotic-minded groups of citizens to raise units at their own expense. • In January 1916, Borden announced a Canadian overseas troop commitment of 500,000 men, an almost unsustainable number of voluntary enlistments from a population of barely eight million.
RECRUITMENT AND CONSCRIPTION • Recruiting was slower in French Canada, which lacked the ties of kinship and tradition with Britain that encouraged Canadians of British ancestry to enlist. • As a result of high casualties and dwindling enlistments, in August 1917 the government passed the Military Service Act imposing conscription. • French Canada bitterly opposed this measure, as did farmers’ and labor groups, and Canadians became deeply divided over the issue.
THE CANADIAN CORPS: SPEARHEAD TO VICTORY • The Canadian Corps played a leading role in achieving Allied victory. Sir Arthur Currie
THE CANADIAN CORPS: SPEARHEAD TO VICTORY • In June 1917, Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie became the first Canadian to command the Canadian Corps. • That October-November, fighting on horrific battlefields in waist-deep mud, the Corps captured Passchendaele, in Belgium, but suffered 16,000 killed or wounded. • From 8 August 1918 to the Armistice of 11 November, the Canadians were in the forefront of the Allied advance that finally defeated Germany.
THE CANADIAN CORPS: SPEARHEAD TO VICTORY • This period is known as Canada’s “Hundred Days”. • General Erich Ludendorff, then Chief of Staff of the German Army, referred to 8 August, the first day of the Canadians’ offensive at Amiens as, “The Black Day of the German Army”. • The Corps had advanced as far as Mons, Belgium when the war ended. • The cost of victory was steep: in the last three months the Canadians had lost 45,000 men killed or wounded.
General Erich Ludendorff • Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff a German Army officer, during World War I, victor of Liège, and, one of the victors of the battle of Tannenberg.
CANADIANS ON OTHER FRONTS • Canadian men and women served in many different capacities during the First World War.
CANADIANS ON OTHER FRONTS • Members of the Canadian Forestry Corps cut timber in Britain and France; • Canadian railway troops operated light railway networks immediately behind the lines on the Western Front; • medical units and Canadian Nursing Sisters served in the eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, and on the Western Front; • and Canadian military engineers served in Europe and the Middle East.
The Canadian Forestry Corps • The Canadian Forestry Corps was formed following an appeal from Britain on February 14, 1916 for troops to undertake lumbering operations overseas. • The Canadian Forestry Corps undertook various tasks including clearing land for airfields, preparing railway ties and lumber for use in trenches, building barracks and hospitals as well as farming.
CANADIANS ON OTHER FRONTS • Over 6000 men from Newfoundland (which was to join Canada in 1949) served in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and at sea with British forces from the beginning of the war. • More than 1500 were killed. • From mid-1918 until April 1919, nearly 5000 Canadian troops served as part of an Allied intervention force in revolutionary Russia.
CANADA AND THE AIR WAR • Canadian airmen distinguished themselves overseas serving in British air forces.
THE WAR IN THE AIR • During the First World War, great leaps were made in aircraft technology and the use of aircraft for military purposes. • Canadians served at home and overseas as fighter and reconnaissance pilots, aerial observers, mechanics, and flight instructors in the British air services. • Over 3000 British and Canadian pilots trained in Canada, of whom 2500 served overseas.
The War in the Air • Many airmen were among the Allies’ best. • Fighter pilot W.A. “Billy” Bishop was the third leading ace of the war, credited with 72 aircraft destroyed, while William Barker, also a fighter pilot, is one of the most highly- decorated Canadians of all time. • These men, and other flyers like Raymond Collishaw and A.A. McLeod, became household names in Canada.
The War in the Air • Of the nearly 23,000 Canadian airmen who served during the war, 1563 died. Canadian War Ace – Billy Bishop
The War at Sea • The small Royal Canadian Navy patrolled the east coast against the threat posed by German submarines.
THE WAR AT SEA • At the outbreak of war, the Royal Canadian Navy consisted of only 350 men and the two cruisers obtained in 1910. • Britain assumed direct responsibility for defending the sea approaches to Canada. • German submarines (U-boats) besieged Britain’s Atlantic lines of communication in an attempt to deny Britain the vital supplies it needed to continue the war.
The War at Sea • By 1918, the U-boats also lurked off Canada’s east coast. • In response, the navy had grown to more than 5000 men and some 100 small warships, many built in Canada, engaged in important anti-submarine, coastal patrol, and minesweeping operations. • Another 3000 Canadians served with Britain’s Royal Navy. • Over 150 Canadian sailors lost their lives during the war.