Summer 2011

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Published on 16 Jun 2011
School
UTSG
Department
History
Course
HIS102Y1
Professor
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
HIS311Y
Prof. C. Pennington
Borden Canada and WWI - Part II
Canadian troops returning from the Battle of the Somme 1916
Borden always stated that the troops sacrifice and performance forced Britain to acknowledge the colonies and
grant them greater rights
Canada was the largest colony (within the dominion) to have the most troops killed
Borden felt very attached to the troops
If they were going to be making these sacrifices, Borden would get as much as he could for Canada
when Canadians were overseas and went under British command they got to see British operations
they weren’t impressed
tactics were incompetent, unimaginable and wasteful
this became a sore point between Borden and the British empire
Borden did not see the British government doing much to save lives
1921: Arthur Meighen PM
succeeds Borden in 1920
Other Canadian Involvement
Canadians mostly served on the western front
~425 000 actually were in combat
there were a significant number in other military posts:
railway building companies
forestry companies
medical core
some at sea and in the air - although navy was very limited
The Royal Air Force - collection of different parts of British armed forces then came together in 1918
courageous and extremely dangerous fighting
22 000 Canadians served in the RAF
most glorious of all soldiers
planes went down often - no parachute
e.g. 1st fighters had no guns attached to wings they had to fly up and try to shoot enemy w/their own gun
planes had a limited role - used for strafing (firing machine guns), recon work
most famous Canadian pilot - Billy Bishop: shot down 72 planes
10 out of 27 top aces were Canadians
Halifax explosion 1917
the only time war came to homeland
two ships collided in Halifax harbor (biggest British naval base)
one was a munition ship
flattened the harbor w/the explosion
2 000 killed instantly
10 000 wounded - many blinded by flying glass
incident was considered to be the largest man-made explosion until Hiroshima
The Cost of the war
www.notesolution.com
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R. Borden visiting wounded troops
20M dead worldwide
1/2 military
1/2 civilian - mostly from starvation
619,636 served in the Canadian expeditionary force - including air and sea service
59,544 CEF killed
172,950 wounded
60,661 killed overall (in a country with a population of 8 million)
called ‘The Great War b/c it was of such a vast scale / killed many people
of the original 30 000 troops sent over, all of them were killed and wounded
Borden felt he had a special connection to the troops - became attached to them when he visited them overseas and
felt he had a great obligation to help them out in any way he could
Si Robert Borden - Diplomacy
hard-working laborious serious character
not very politically skilled
Conservative party leader but hand no hand in building it and had only been a member for 5 years
what made him different is that his greatest concern was w/serving the public and winning the war vs. doing what
was in the interest of the Party
always felt the war effort was a good cause
if there were consequences to winning the war that was too bad - he did all he could to avoid conflict and
separation but Borden was willing to implement conscription to win the war
IMP: this stemmed quite a bit from Bordens idea that he was there to serve the public no the party
Loring Christie was a voice who supported imperial integration
to have a party in Great Britain w/all the empires colonies: to have a say in the war effort
Outbreak of war august 1914
Ready, Aye, Ready!” - seen in many different contexts (make sure you know them all!)
War Measures Act
Borden passed it to give government the right to do whatever necessary to win the war
Shell Committee: established to provide military contracts for factories to produce gun shells for troops
contracts given out to factory owners that were not competent
became great embarrassment to Canadians
Sam Hughes oversaw the Shell Committee
inefficient and corrupt organization - became a stain on the Conservative Party
Ross rifle: Canadian-made rifle (target rifle) - Hughes insisted that Canadians be outfitted w/the rifle but
it did not function properly when it got wet (overheated and jammed often)
became common practice for Canadians to pick up rifles of dead British soldiers
MacAdam shovel w/a hole in the middle - used as a shield - not efficient for either shoveling or
protecting oneself - a great failure
Internment ofenemies”
many were interned (put into camps) - lest they defect to the enemy
mostly unjustified b/c very few were a risk to country (some were Canadian citizens living overseas)
another instance of the vast reach of war time power by the Canadian government
www.notesolution.com
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Document Summary

Canadian troops returning from the battle of the somme 1916. Borden always stated that the troops sacrifice and performance forced britain to acknowledge the colonies and grant them greater rights. Canada was the largest colony (within the dominion) to have the most troops killed. If they were going to be making these sacrifices, borden would get as much as he could for canada when canadians were overseas and went under british command they got to see british operations.  this became a sore point between borden and the british empire.  borden did not see the british government doing much to save lives. ~425 000 actually were in combat there were a significant number in other military posts:  some at sea and in the air - although navy was very limited. The royal air force - collection of different parts of british armed forces then came together in 1918.  22 000 canadians served in the raf.