he eople’s Response
June 28, 1914: Gavrilo Princip assassinates Archduke Franz
Ferdinand, heir to the Austria throne
August 4, 1914: G.B. declared war Canada is at war. In 1914
Canada was still a dominion of Great Britain
Great Britain still controlled its Dominions foreign policy
This meant that when Britain went to war Canada, along with
the rest of the British Empire, also went to war.
When war was declared people in Canada celebrated in the
Background to WW1
• At the beginning of the 20th Century
much of Eastern Europe was
dominated by three weak and
1.) Austro – Hungarian
- Many countries formed alliances to
Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy
formed the Triple Alliance in 1882
- France, Russia, and Britain formed an
alliance called the Triple Entente 1907
Canada’s Military Contribution
1. The Canadian Expeditionary Force: consisted of
approximately 600,000 soldiers
2. The Air Force had approximately 20,000
personnel. They served under the Royal Flying
3. The Navy had approximately 10,000 personnel
4. The rest was primarily made up of the infantry
or as the British soldiers called them the “PBI”
By 1917, 1 in 6 Canadian men between 15 and
54 was a member of the military
Command of the Army
• At the start of the war Canadian soldiers were under the
command of British generals notably:
• Field Marshall Douglas Haig who was responsible for
ordering many Canadian soldiers to die in battles of
attrition. In one example during the Battle of the Somme
the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was ordered to
advance in error and lost the vast majority of their men.
• June 3, 1917: Sir Arthur Currie, a Canadian general, assumes
command of the First Canadian Infantry Division
Sir Arthur Currie
Nicknamed “ Guts and
Gaiters - - ->
These battles signified both the sacrifice and the
success of Canadian soldiers in the war:
• Victories generated pride amongst soldiers and
Canadians at home, improving morale
• They also helped foster a sense of Canadian identity
and independence from England.
• The maple leaf became an internationally recognized
symbol of Canadian identity during WWI.
1. Ypres in Belgium: April 1915
The first battle for Canadian troops.
Chlorine gas is used by the Germans, and 6000 Canadian soldiers are
• CBC Archive Clip Remembering Ypres
The second battle at Ypres lasted from April to May 1915. It was the first
significant battle that Canadians had spearheaded.
Ypres marked the first time a colonial force (the Canadians) had pushed
back a major European power.
The Germans dropped Chlorine Gas onto Allied forces from planes above.
Canadians were quick on their feet and used urine-soaked cloths to cover
their mouth and nose to neutralize the chlorine while advancing to the
German lines, stopping German success.
2. The Somme: 1916
A British offensive
Lasted 4 months.
600,000 dead, including 24,000 Canadians
Canadian casualties included the Royal Newfoundland Regiment
which was virtually wiped out at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916, only
about 110 of the 780 men from the regiment survived the first day of the
Battle of the Somme. Since then July 1 has been marked as Memorial Day in
Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Somme was fought in the summer of 1916 and cost the lives of over 1
million men between both sides.
The original intention was to draw troops away from the Battle of Verdun
where the Allied forces were attempting to break German lines.
The first day of the Somme became the bloodiest day in British human
Offensive methods utilizing the “Over the Top” philosophy were not up to
par with the advancements of defensive weaponry.
CBC Archive Clip About The Battle Of The Somme
3. Battle of Vimy Ridge: April 1917
A major success for Canadian soldiers
Canadians, under command not by Britain, but by their own Canadian
commanders, capture the ridge
3,598 soldiers are killed.
Fought April 1917, seen to be the deciding moment in Canadian WWI history.
This would be where Canada developed an identity.
Vimy Ridge was planned for months, while the battle lasted only 5 days.
Canadians used the ‘Creeping Barrage’ technique to hold defensive troops at
bay while offensive troops moved in.
4. Hill 70:
Led by Arthur Currie Canadians faced German Flamethrower and mustard gas
The Canadians took Hill 70 using the same “Creeping Barrage” techniques they
used at Vimy Ridge.
German Flamethrowers: As used
during the battle for Hill 70
Mark II female Tank Number 598
advancing with Infantry at Vimy
German prisoners captured during
Battle of Vimy Ridge
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial: A memorial in France dedicated to the
memory of Canadian Expeditionary Force members missing or killed during the First
4. Battle of Passchendaele: Oct. and Nov. 1917
Canadian soldiers break German defenses.
15,000 soldiers are killed. third battle of Ypres in Belgium. If the allies
could get through Ypres they could breach the German submarine
bases that were responsible for shooting down hundreds of allied
and commercial ships. Swamp like conditions killed many forces on
5. The Hundred Days offensive saw the Canadians under Currie take
both Cambrai and Mons in the last hundred days of the war
Radio clip regarding the battle that raged around the village of Passchendaele
Canadian Pioneers laying trench mats
over mud at Passchendaele
Battle of Passchendaele - 16th Canadian Machine Gun
Canadian soldiers survey a destroyed
German bunker at Passchendaele
Canada supplied munitions and equipment for the war
Also supplied raw materials for war production and
food for the war effort
Pilots for the early planes many of the “Aces” of WWI
were Canadians including: Billy Bishop, Ray Collishaw,
and Roy Brown, W. “Wop” May among others.
The Canadian Army Medical Corps saved many lives.
The “Bluebirds” Female Canadian nurses proved
women were capable of dealing with the realities of
Aka Manfred von Richthofen
• In general, non-whites and those born in enemy
nations were not welcomed into the military.
• When blacks from Sydney, Nova Scotia volunteered
their services, they were told, "This is not for you
fellows, this is a white man's war.”
• Some segregated units were still formed.
• In 1915, Aboriginal Canadians were allowed to enlist
and accepted into a 114th battalion as well as
Athletic History: In 1907 Tom Longboat won the Boston Marathon in record time
After winning a rematch of the 1908 Olympic Marathon, Tom turned to a
professional career as a runner, and in 1909 won the title of Professional
Champion of the World in another marathon.
He served as a dispatch runner in France in World War I while maintaining a
professional career. He retired following the war.
In 1908 he married Lauretta Maracle. After he was mistakenly declared dead
during World War I, Lauretta remarried.
He later married Martha Silversmith, with whom he had four children.
After the war Longboat settled in Toronto where he worked until 1944. He retired
to the Six Nations Reserve and died of pneumonia on January 9, 1949.
Time line of World War I
1912-1913: Balkan Wars
28 June 1914: Archduke of Austria-Hungary assassinated
1 August 1914: Germany declared war on Russia
3 August 1914: Germany declared war on France
4 August 1914: British ultimatum to Germany
26-30 August 1914: Battle of Tannenberg
5-10 September 1914: Battle of the Marne
6-15 September 1914: Battle of the Masurian Lakes
February to November 1916: Battle of Verdun
31 May 1916: Battle of Jutland (only major naval battle of WWI)
June to November 1916: Battle of the Somme
6 April 1917: USA declares war on Germany
January 1918: Wilson’s 14 points made public
March 3 1918: Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
11 November 1918: Armistice signed
18 January 1919: Peace of Paris convened
28 June 1919: Treaty of Versailles signed