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HIST 325 (17)

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University of British Columbia
HIST 325
Jonathan Newell

Review: Canadian Response to the Great War: the Politics of Entering a War  The Prelude 1910-1911  New prime minister, Robert Border (first Nova Scotian PM)  1910 Quebec Nationalist Henri Bourassa opposed the Laurier government's Naval Bill ◦ Cabinet to turn over its proposed Canadian Navy to British admiralty without the permission of Parliament  1911 Robert Borden's Conservative Party anti-Laurier's free trade with US proposal; succeeded in winning the federal election of 1911 ◦ End of the Laurier Era; Borden the wartime PM  Robert Border (1861-1937) ◦ Prime Minister 1911-1920; from Nova Scotia ◦ Established wartime administration; orchestrated War MeasuresAct 1914 (repealed 1988) ◦ Formed Unionist (coalition) government 1917 for Military ServiceAct 1917 (conscription) ◦ Played a crucial role in transforming the British Empire into a partnership of equal states, the British Commonwealth, postwar  The “Great War” ◦ Canada automatically at warAugust 1914; most Canadians enthusiastic; French Canada too, if no compulsory service ◦ Easy to recruit; 1916 Borden promised total of 500000 troops. 600000 went (65K died; 60K injured). Canada's population was only 7 million ◦ Conscription needed in 1917 to make up the numbers; formed a coalition government to achieve; conscription resulted in internal dissent (French- & English Canada) ◦ Domestic industry flourished; Canada recognized Lecture: “EnemyAliens” in Canada, WWI (Aug. 1914-Nov. 1918)  For many recent immigrants and political radicals in Canada, the 4 year war meant: ◦ Censorship, repression, harassment, loss of jobs and property, and, for many, life in a concentration camp ◦ Originally recruited as immigrants to Canada, in wartime Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Romanians, Poles, Ukrainians in Canada became Enemy Aliens (heavy immigration from these countries in early 1900s) ◦ In total, 80000 EnemyAliens registered; 9000 were interned during, and some even after the war ◦ Enemy aliens were citizens born in Germany and countries of its allies (Austria-Hungarian Empire)  Being an EnemyAlien ◦ Required to register and check in with local police on a regular basis ◦ Banned from carrying weapons, leaving the country without permission, and reading or publishing material in languages other than English and French (also meetings in other languages were banned) ◦ Aside from the formal treatment, enemy aliens were harassed locally and the breadwinners usually lost their jobs (properties confiscated and not returned)  Fear and Distrust of Things German ◦ The US did not enter the war untilApril 1917, so almost 3 years after Canada; problematic ◦ Unsubstantiated rumours of possible invasions of Canada by masses of German-Americans; unrest in the German-American cities; Canadian anxiety about foreigners in their midst. ◦ Citizens of Berlin, Ontario (1854) renamed their city “Kitchener” in 1916; German
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