HIST 203 Lecture Notes - Major Disaster, Battle Of Mont Sorrel, Canadian National Railway
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Canada at War
World War One (1914-1918)
Recap: Canadians had just arrived in England, their weaponry was not very useful and it was now evident
the war would not be over before Christmas. Sam Hughes was more or less in charge of the entire
production. He did not want a professional army but a citizens militia. He wanted volunteers, men
stepping forward, this is what he believed made superior soldiers.
Battles in 1915
4 Battalions would be formed. The first would see its first major action at the 2nd battle of Ypres. They
took to the trenches and five days later, a green/yellow cloud was seen rising from the German lines. The
Germans were using chlorine gas. Confusion set in amongst Canadian and British Generals. They held
the line as long as possible but had to retreat two miles. After the second battle of Ypres, the Germans
looked towards the east.
At Festubert in May they were mowed down by machine guns, 2500 dead
At Givenchy-Lez-la-Basse in June, 350 Canadians were killed
These battles were fought in Trench warfare
–they had three lines of trenches.
–Dawn and dusk were the most likely times for an attack.
–Day time was for relaxation
–Night time was reserved for making general repairs
–Proper dugouts were reserved for officers and soldiers slept in the trenches.
–The conditions were awful, rats, mice, lice, trench fever, rotting bodies, trench foot
Half of those killed would be due to mortars or artillery
When the war did not end before christmas, the British thought that it was a failure.
–They blamed Canada
–The British did not want to buy Canadian goods because they were not very good, instead they
wanted to buy american goods but this upset Prime Minister Borden
–Hughes had established a shell committee, they were supposed to make sure soldiers had
uniforms, guns, ammunition. They were also supposed to supply British troops as well. By May
1915, the British had ordered 200 000 shells and 170 000 000$ worth of goods. Up to that point
however, they had only received 5 000 000$ worth of goods. In December 1915, the shell
committee was pushed aside.
–Flavel took over. He was more focused, he crushed strikes, brought in women. He not only
cracked down on business but on capital as well. In 1917, close to 1/3 of the shells fired by the
British were made in Canada. The munitions board went outside the factories as well to
encourage farmers to produce more crops.
6 ways the government sought to finance the war
1. printing more money (causes inflation)
2. Through raising tariffs on things like coffee, sugar and tobacco
3. Bonds (London and New York -expensive)
4. War Bonds (enormous success)
5. Business war Profits tax (1916)
6. Income Tax (1917)
Government Involvement in the Economy