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Lecture 16

HIS311 Lecture 16 - Bothwell

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University of Toronto St. George
Robert Bothwell

Lecture 16: 11/04/10 Borden Sir Sam Hughes --------- Byng – Cuire  Canadian Corps (CEF) party of BEF Asquinth Lloyd George Ypres Vimy Amiens 1914: war begins. In Germany, there is a disposition to believe that conferences are not going to go well – so in June 1914, there is an issue in the Balkans and the Austrians are pointed out. Austria declares war on Serbia; Serbians are backed by Russia; Austria is backed by Germany; Germany declares war on Russia; Russia is an ally of France; France and Germany declare war… These alliances are publicly known – however the British alliance with France is unknown (the French ambassador meets with British parliament) The actual cause of the war was that in order to get to France, the Germans went to Belgium Borden was playing golf in Muskoka – he returns to Ottawa to find that his minister of Militia Sam Hughes was in a state of great excitement. Canada was at war. This is a very different war form the South African war and from various imperial expeditions – there had not been a serious war since 1815. The Canadian parliament had no idea what was going to happen. They thought the war might be short; like the Austro-Prussian war or the war between Prussia and Denmark, etc. The American civil war (1857-65) had been long and bloody and much of it had been fought in trenches in Virginia. Which was the predictor? Sam Hughes believed it would be a shorter war. Sir Willoughby Gwatkin was of another opinion altogether, and believed war would have causalities of the thousands and that if they were going to engage in it, they would need an army in the hundreds of thousands. We had a voluntary militia – the character of Canadian society before 1916 is that the militia was a social group. There is no real difference in the regions of Canada on this – especially between Quebec and English Canada, it’s impossible to distinguish between young male French Canadians and young male English Canadians and their perception of the militia. At this point, the militia had mostly been used to break up strikes, etc. It is organized by regiments which are local in nature/name; regionally based. These people are thrilled when the word comes that there might be a war; war means glory! A break from routine, from boredom The Canadian mobilization in 1914 was retarded by General Sam who had the Canadian volunteers CEF go to England. Eventually, just as Gwatkin thought, the order would be of 400 000. If we’re looking at the history of WWI, there are no units with names but units with numbers. Battalion  Brigades  Divisions  Corps Lieutenant Brigadier General  Major General  Lieutenant General Canada in the course of WWI becomes a serious power. This was not Borden’s idea at all – he was upset that it went into 1915. In 1915, recruits started becoming harder to find. Borden was meeting political problems. Borden had to persuade Canadians to step up and take the place of the wounded and the dead. Borden’s main priority becomes recruitment. In looking at recruitment, he was to 1) control the expenditure of lives (minimize the deaths) – this means he has to take an interest in how the war is run. This brings him into contact with the British government (headed by Asquith before 1916 and after 1916 Lloyd George). This mean Borden has to ask George what he planned on doing with the hundreds of thousands of Canadian troops because the Canadian force is part of the British force. The answer that Borden got from the George government was unsatisfactory because the British government was having trouble controlling their Generals. Newfoundland Regiment was wiped out in one day – Borden speaks to Lloyd George and asks what’s going on? The British military is not under control – the British government is informed that there are only so many potential recruits left and that they will shortly run out of soldiers. Lloyd George needs troops from the empire. The largest number come from India (but they are employed in the Middle East), Australia, New Zealand and the Canadians. Everyone begins sending troops to Europe to fight for the Empire. The politicians back in the colonies have to remain credible and it is inevitable that if you’re going to have taxation, then you’re going to have representation. You can’t construct an imperial parliament so instead you construct an imperial cabinet: Imperial War Cabinet (a collection of ministers that have executive responsibility; 1) they have a department with particular responsibilities; 2) they make decisions). Imperial War Conference (2 happen in London in spring 1916). Prime Ministers of New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, etc. and an Indian Maharaja meet with the British Prime Minister. This means all the colonies move up. Lloyd George (liberal) is part of a parliament filled with war mongering conservatives. The majority of his MPs in parliament support his generals not him. But, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia – selflessly sacrificing themselves for the Empire – these ministers are providing an essential service. Borden now has an important spot in British government. Lloyd George mobilizes the other PM of the empire to bring the British generals under control. The IWC becomes a hiring c
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