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#5 & 6: Borden, Canada, and the First World War, 1911-1921 .pdf

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Department
History
Course
HIS311Y1
Professor
C.Pennington
Semester
Summer

Description
BORDEN, CANADA, AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR, 1911-1921 INTRODUCTION •1911 -- end of Laurier era •1921 -- end of Conservative era, Mackenzie King becomes Prime Minster •A war that was fought for democracy? •Not a war fought for democracy or to save the world •It was just a conflict between imperial powers on a larger-scale •The whole argument that this was a just war doesn’t really wash, especially when you know the causalities •The first world war sprang out of 19 century sensibilities Winston Churchill said that “there would a short cleansing thunderstorm” • •The First World War wasn’t really worth the great loss •An enormous, unrelieved tragedy •The War was such a shattering experience -- there had been nothing like it on that scale of destruction and horror •The amount of pain has to be recognized before you can mention the diplomacy S IR R OBERT B ORDEN •Intelligent, plodding Nova Scotian lawyer •Conservative party leader, 1901-20 •Prime Minster of Canada, 1911-20 •Better choice than Tupper, who was entering his 80s •Made decisions well -- if the party didn’t like the decisions he made he would resign Didn’t care for politics • •Not a very successful political leader, initially •Lost his first elections to Laurier •Became Prime Minster in 1911 •Never campaigned in Quebec •His government was not opposed to any kind of imperial action •Nationalist and imperialist •Experienced what it was like to be part of the empire in the midst of a crisis •The British were very secretive about their military planning •Believed in the British empire -- it was a good and just thing, subjugation was for the greater good Became a nationalist as the war went on -- separate Canada’s best interest from • Britain •Gained a greater share of independence and sovereignty for Canada •Not acceptable to accept British decisions -- had to be a greater Canadian role •“Call us to your councils” •Meant what he said, unlike Laurier •Improved Canada’s status •Made the office of Foreign Affairs a real deal BORDEN, CANADA, AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR, 1911-1921 • Loring Christie became the first legal advisor • First genuine policy making individual B ORDEN ’S D IPLOMACY , 1911-1914 RELATIONS WITH THEUS • Against free trade with the Americans • Wasn’t well received in the United States of America • Woodrow Wilson, US President was elected on a low tariff platform -- underwood tariff, 1913 • Canadians were able to achieve a much more open market • The great mythology of the undefended border arose -- celebrations around the fact that there hadn’t been any wars since • Peace Years, 1914 • This relationship will grow RELATIONS WITHB RITAIN • Needed a contribution to imperial defense • The ships in the Canadian navy were not good enough for wartime • Visit to London, 1912 • Winston Churchill impressed upon Borden to contribute to the Imperial Navy • Wanted 3 dreadnoughts • Introduced the Naval Aid Bill, 1912-13 • A proposal to make a 35 million cash contribution to Great Britain, used to construct 3 large battleships • Like the Naval Service of 1910, nothing really came of this Bill -- doing what the British had asked • British Canada -- many felt that giving money was not good enough • French Canada -- opposed to the idea because it didn’t appeal to them, but the British • Senate was devised by MacDonald -- didn’t entirely trust the people • 1913 -- held up the Bill • Refused to approve the Bill, never became law -- the ships were never built • The Canadian Navy hadn’t achieved anything • Borden lost support of French-Canadian cabinet minster • Borden was impressed with the consultative nature of British government • Committee of Imperial Defense • A body based in London • Brings in leaders from all the colonies Once war broke out, meetings were no longer held -- decisions were made • exclusively by the British BORDEN, CANADA, AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR, 1911-1921 T HE G REAT W AR THE EUROPE OF TWO A RMED C AMPS , UNE -AUGUST 1914 •Europe was split into two alliances groups •1914 -- the Triple Alliance were aligned against the Triple Entente •An Entente is a different thing than an alliance -- France and Russia were aligned in it’s concrete terms An entente was an understanding between countries and potentially militarily • support • If French interests were to be attacked, Britain might help • If Britain had allied the war would have been different •Assassination of Franz Ferdinand on June 28 1914 •Assassinated by Black Hand, Serb Nationalists •Austria-Hungary wanted to punish for Serbian actions •Needed German support for fear of Russia allying with Serbia •Germany had been ready for war -- issued the Blank Check •When Russia did signal its support for the Serbians -- France would have been drawn in Germany undertook the Schlieffen Plan on Belgium/France • •Germans throw everything they had at France, in order to destroy the Western Front to focus on the Eastern Front later •Russia had not mobilized yet -- it would take 6 weeks to reach the front •After Germany’s Blank Check, armies began mobilizing •Britain couldn’t decide what to do -- knew what Germany was going (invade Belgium/ France) •By the end of the month the Schlieffen Plan was enacted -- they invaded Belgium which was neutral •Britain comes in to protect neutral Belgium O UTBREAK OF W AR , UGUST 1914 •Great sentiment in favor war all over the world •Only in Russia was there a sense of sadness -- didn’t like the idea of going to war •The prevailing opinion was that this was going to be short and exciting •Borden’s wartime effort was a united effort — “ready, aye, ready” •Didn’t go down that well in French-Canada -- wanted the war to be kept voluntary •No conscription in this war -- they thought this would do for the entire war, since it would be so short •War Measures Act •Shell Committee -- ammunition needed for war •Enemies of the states were interned to protect the nation -- like in the second world war BORDEN, CANADA, AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR, 1911-1921 C ANADA S INVOLVEMENT IN 1914 • Automatically drawn in the war at its inception • Britain wanted 25,000 infantry men -- created the Canadian Expeditionary Force • No shortage of recruitment • Recruiters met and surpassed their targets • Sir Sam Hughes, Minster of Militia, was in charge of recruiting and training men before the war was over • They thought the war would over by Christmas -- they thought they wouldn’t be able to make it because it’ll be so short • Canada was not a war footing -- the country only had a permanent standing military of 3000 men, 2 old ships, and a few 1000 militia men • The militias were revamped by Hughes • Eventually Canada would have 5 divisions, with 25,000 men each • 350,000 would see action abroad • 100,000 men fought on the front • Not commanded by a Canadian, initially • Not until 1917, would Canada have a Commander and Chief • Signed up for one year of service or longer • Got $1.10 /day Had to be able to carry a pack that carried 80 lbs. • • Weren’t fussy about how old you were -- this was the enthusiasm of the period • Most were not prepared • ValCartier Camp, August-September 1914 • Ill-equipped -- their tools were almost useless • Sam Hughes hit upon the idea of bringing a Shovel -- it was small and could be used as a shield • It was an ineffectual tool • Didn’t have helmets until the second year POSTERS • Appeal to ethnicity “Irish Canadian Rangers” poster “Canadiens-Francais Enrolez-Vous” -- BORDEN, CANADA, AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR, 1911-1921 •As the war went on, recruitment became more difficult -- sense of abandoning the country for not fighting “Victory Bonds will help stopddy what did you do in the Great “This is your flag. Fight for itthis” -- Implication being the Germans aren’t even humans “Your Chums are fighting. Why aren’t “Destroy this mad Brute. Enlist” you?” BORDEN, CANADA, AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR, 1911-1921 THE W ESTERN FRONT , 1914-1918 •Was not the war they thought it was going to be •The Schlieffen plan failed -- Battle of the Marne •When it was halted, the Germans found themselves in a predicament -- they would not be able to defeat France and move onto Russia •They began to bunker down -- they were digging trenches •Modern technology had made the weapons of war so destructive -- rapid movement was impossible •Development of the machine gun •Could not send infantry men across the open field Once things settled down into Trench Warfare, they didn’t move • •Space in between trenches was known as “no man’s land” •All that stood between the two sides •It was so hard to achieve any kind of breakthrough -- the war became a war of attrition •Make the enemy suffer more than you •Sent their men out to die to drain their resources •The majority of soldiers who were killed were killed in their trenches •Artillery bombardment -- nothing to do, but hide in the trenches British and French commanders like to the think of the trenches as a temporary • staging point •Bombardments went on throughout the entire war •No antibiotics, but infection was rampant •Trench foot •In the trenches you didn’t know when you were going to fight •Experience and expectation were very different •Questions civilization ND 2 B ATTLE OF YPRES , 1915 •Never really safe •Threat of a coming enemy attack •First major Canadian battle •Canadians were holding a salient •Known as the “Wipers” •Majority of soldiers were black •First chlorine gas attack was made •The morning of the attack saw a greenish cloud •Effects are agonizing -- burns eyes and lungs to disfigure, but not kill •hard to not breath in the gas, while fighting •Canadians held the line •After this battle, Major John McCrae wrote “In Flanders Fields” BORDEN, CANADA, AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR, 1911-1921 M AJOR CANADIAN B ATTLES B ATTLE OF THESOMME , 1916 •Along the Somme river •Diversionary tacit •To protect Verdun -- couldn’t afford to lose the city •German intent: bleeding France White An offensive that would divert German troops • •British empire lost 50,000 men in a single day •The British general ordered the man to walk, not run across No Man’s Land -- didn’t expect much opposition •Canadians didn’t get involved until September, but Newfoundland had been fighting since the beginning •30 mins in the battle, 90% of Newfoundland troops died at Beaumont Hamel VIMY RIDGE, 1917 •Meant to take a large ridge held by the Germans since the beginning •Said to be invincible •Canadians were tasked with the responsibility •All 4 canadian division would fight together -- the first time this happened Led by Arthur Currie -- very frugal with lives, didn’t believe in the war of attrition • •Planned the details of the battle •Used the creeping barrage -- fire artillery just in front of the opposition to leave a cloud of smoke •70,000 canadians attacked on Easter Monday •Sweep
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