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Lecture 14

History 2201E Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Military Service Act 1916, Total Carnage, Canadian Nationalism

Course Code
HIS 2201E
Linda Sabathy- Judd

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Lecture 14 Part 2 - World War I
o Ross rifle replaced by the Lee Enfield rifle
o Enthusiasm died quickly when they realized how many people were
being killed
o French Canadian enlistment dropped quickly
o French Canadian nationalism reemerged
Had no emotional ties to Britain
Recruiting officers were English Protestants who didn’t speak
Wanted to have their own units in the army, not granted for a
long time
French-English relations tense during this time
o Just not enough people to enlist to support the war, total carnage in
Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden
o Went to Europe and saw the need for men
o Conscription the only way to solve the problem
Huge issue, Borden in a very tough spot
o May 1917 Borden forms a coalition government
Wartime Union Government
Took liberals into his cabinet forming a government together
o June 1917 Military Service Bill introduced
Bitterly debated in parliament
Becomes the Military Services Act
Borden called an election on the issue, to see if his Union
Government would stand, it did
English overwhelming in favour, French wanted nothing
to do with it
o Wartimes Elections Act 1917
Gives women the vote who have male relatives fighting the war
in federal elections
Took the vote away from certain Canadians: former citizens of
Germany, Austria, Italy, etc.
o What did Conscription accomplish?
Thousands more troops enlisted, most didn’t end up going to
Opens the door to women’s voting, but does nothing to smooth
English-French situation
Canada’s Position within the Empire
o Borden wanted Canada to have a greater voice within the empire
o Britain wanted to absorb Canadian manpower, but Borden insisted
that they remain separate as a Canadian unit and be commanded by
Canadian officers
Canadian Corps created
o “Canada grew up during World War I”
o Canadian commanders: Sir Julian Byng and Sir Arthur Currie
o Borden wanted Canada and the other Dominions to have a say in
wartime policy
Imperial War Cabinet formed
Made up of 5 British ministers and each Dominion had a
Discussed the war program, strategy, etc.
Format of the British empire needed to be examined and
o Pushed for Canada to have a say at the Treaty of Versailles
Didn’t have too much of a say
Canadian parliament had the right to sign the treaty as a nation
who fought in the war
o League of Nations
To promote international peace, etc.
Forerunner of the United Nations