HIST 261: The Great War 1
The Great War
January 27th 2014
*Canada had control over what happened within it’s borders, but had little power over foreign policy.
Asiatic Exclusion League: attempt in Vancouver to prevent Asian people from entering BC
● attempts were made to make Canada a “White Man’s” country
French Canadians in the Early 20th century were angry about the Manitoba Schools Question, and the
passing of Regulation 17 in Ontario
● Regulation 17 was a provincial law that curtailed French language instruction, limiting it after
grade 1, and phasing it out entirely after grade 4. Indication the the French Canadian were not
● BNA Act guaranteed Catholic separate school in ontario
Komagata Maru: japanese ship full of East Indians, tried to challenge racism in BC
● In 1908: Laurier introduced amended the Immigration Act that meant people had to come direct
● This made it difficult for people from Japan and India to come to Canada, as there were no
● Komagata had come from Kalakuta via Hong Kong. The Canadian government forced them to
sit in port for 5 weeks. They argued they were British Subjects. Some were allowed into
Canada if they had been citizen of BC before, the rest were sent back.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was shot by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on June 28th, 1914.
● Austria and Hungary declared war on Serbia.
● Russia allied with Serbia. France allied with Russia
● Germany allied with Austria and Hungary, and took over Belgium.
● England, obligated by a treaty to defend Belgium, entered the war on August 4th 1914, taking
Canada with it.
● Germany and AustriaHungary vs Britain, France, and Russia (Central Powers vs. Entente
On August 22nd 1914, the government introduced the War Measures Act.
● allowed government to take over economy (command economy)
● allowed suspected war dissenters and enemy immigration to be interned
● allowed government to censor all means of communication (could read mail)
● Canada was very worried about German spies, worried about what US would do (which at the
time was neutral) HIST 261: The Great War 2
● When the House of Commons burnt down, Germans were immediately blamed (really careless
smokers, oiled desks)
○ Towns with German names changed their names.
○ Most German Canadians had been there for a while and were British subjects.
○ This was not the case for some 70,000 Ukraines, who came from AustriaHungary
● Ukraines had to register home address with government, if they tried to leave the country they
were interned. Interned Ukraines were used as labourers.
● Most Canadians wanted to join the war effort. There had been economic issues in 1913 and
1914, and a military paycheck was desirable.
● By September 1914, VanQuentin Quebec was a massive training ground for the Canadian
Expeditionary Force, armed with a Ross Rifle (could only fire 5 round per minute and easily
● The young men that joined the force were unaware of the problems of trench warfare.
○ First experienced Chlorine gas attacks in the second Battle of Ypres in the spring of
1915, took 16,000 casualties, but defense held.
○ Battle would inspire Flanders Fields.
● By 1916: enlistment number fell, military relaxed rules (ex. men with bad teeth could enlist,
married men didn’t need wife’s permission, and those which were flatfooted could wear
military boots )
● Enlistment in French Canada
○ viewed it as Britain's conflict, and Francophones didn’t feel connect to France or
○ French language was not part of the army, few officers at training school could speak
■ The 22nd Battalion: The Bandeaux only all french regiment, and then divided
up once they got to France, which wasn’t good for morale, many were put in
○ French Canadians married younger, more likely to have a farm and a large family.
1917: a great deal of pressure was being placed on Canada to send troops, Canadian politicians
wanted more a say.
● March 1917: Borden went to Europe and learnt about the allies positions, and became involved
in the decision making process
● April 9th 1917: Battle of Vimy Ridge
○ both Britain and France had failed to take Vimy Ridge
○ Canadians surged forwarded, suffer 10,064 dead or wounded HIST 261: The Great War 3
○ Borden began to replace commanders with Canadian ones, first canadian commander
was Arthur Currie
Russian Tsar government fell to Bolsheviks in 1917, made peace with Germany
● Germany would be able to concentrate on the western front
Passchendaele: for every km gained, Canada lost 1000 men, suffered 16,544 casualties in 12 days.
Enlistment had dropped significantly: recession was over, fe