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World War I

World War I

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World War I

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  1. World War I The War at Sea

  2. In The Beginning... • When World War I began, Canada had two mid-sized cruisers in its navy • The Royal Canadian Navy grew to 100 ships during the war and only one was lost at sea • Canada’s main role was to ship food, troops and munitions to Europe

  3. Britain’s Plan • The British navy tried to block goods going to Germany • Britain mined the North Sea so neutral ships could not reach German ports • Since Britain is an island, they also guarded their waters carefully since they required food and raw materials to survive.

  4. Germany’s Plan • The German navy wanted to stop goods from reaching Britain • They declared a war zone on the waters surrounding the British Isles • The German plan was to use submarines or U-Boats and to sink Allied merchant ships heading to Britain on sight • This is what happened to The Lusitania

  5. The Lusitania • In May 1915, the British luxury liner was crossing the Atlantic Ocean • It was an unarmed ship carrying 2000 passengers • Suddenly, a torpedo streaked through the waves and struck the ship’s hull • Moments later, there was an explosion • More than half the passengers were American • 1198 people died

  6. The Lusitania • The United States was still neutral at this point, but the sinking of the helpless Lusitania swung public opinion against Germany • Eventually, it helped bring the Americans into the war against Germany

  7. The Two Naval Powerhouses Come Face to Face • Both Britain and Germany began the war with strong fleets of battleships • Only once did these to fleets face each other • In May 1916, at Jutland off the coast of Denmark

  8. The Two Naval Powerhouses Come Face to Face • 99 British warships met 149 German warships head on • Within a few hours, Britain suffered great losses of both ships and human life • The Germans recognised the strength of the British navy and neither side risked another major sea battle • The Germans responded by no longer producing surface ships and focused on submarines

  9. Germany’s Most Deadly Weapon • The submarine or U-Boat required a crew of 35 and contained about twelve torpedoes • Since torpedoes were expensive, U-boats often surfaced and sank enemy ships by gunfire • Early U-boats could stay under water for 2 ½ hours

  10. Germany’s Most Deadly Weapon • By 1917, the German navy introduced a policy of “unrestricted submarine warfare” • This meant they would sink any neutral ship approaching Britain • In four months, they sank 1074 ships • An enormous amount of cargo and human lives were lost

  11. The Convoy System • Cargo ships now sailed in fleets (not alone), escorted by armed destroyers • The convoys now started getting through to Britain again

  12. Underwater Mines • Exploded on contact with U-Boats

  13. Q-Ships • Battleships disguised as unarmed harmless merchant vessels • When U-boats surfaced to attack, they would open fire with hidden guns

  14. What Was The Point? • The German policy backfired because the sinking of American boats by U-boats brought the USA into the war against Germany • Their entrance in 1917 helped turn the tide in favour of an Allied victory

  15. World War I The Halifax Explosion

  16. The Halifax Explosion • Thursday, December 6, 1917 • At 7:30am The Mont Blanc, a French ship started making its way through the Narrows to the Bedford Basin loaded with benzene, picric acid and TNT • At 8:00am, The Imo, a Norwegian ship containing relief supplies for the war also entered the narrows • At 8:43am The Mont Blanc sailed across the Imo’s Bow and the two ships collided

  17. The Halifax Explosion • Halifax was a busy city and most people were already at work or at school near the harbour • At 9:06, the Mont Blanc’s cargo blew up as a result of a fire caused by the collision • Schools, factories, homes and businesses in a five kilometre radius were completely destroyed by the explosion • 2000 people were killed, 9000 were injured and 10000 were left homeless in the dead of winter

  18. The Halifax Explosion • Within days relief supplies started to pour in from across Canada and the United States and from as far away as Jamaica and New Zealand • The State of Massachusetts sent a relief committee to help out • Halifax sends a Christmas tree every year to the city of Boston as a thank you for their help • The Halifax Explosion was the biggest man made explosion to date (not surpassed until the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan) • Brought the full savagery of war home to Canadians