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Lecture 10

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History 1810E
Margaret Mc Glynn

History 1810E Wednesday February 5 Lecture 10 The War Opens Up Outline: I. Kaiserschlacht II. Government Controls III. Meanwhile… IV. The Hundred Days V. Mons, November 1918 1. Kaiserschlacht (Kaiser’s Battle) • Russia had left the war at this time, which allowed the Germans to move their troops from the Eastern Front to the Western Front (gave the Germans a numerical advantage until the Americans arrived) o The Germans recognized that until the Americans arrived, they had a small window to win the war • Operation Michael targeted the Somme region o Overall it was successful o The Germans recaptured all of the places that were taken (Corsolet, Passchendaele, St. Eloi…) • The Germans brought 3 enormous railway guns to shell the city of Paris and show their supremacy o This created a lot of panic in the French capital • The British lost 250,000, the French lost 100,000 o It wasn’t so much the numbers that were lost, but how easily and quickly they were lost • However, the German state used up its last resources (machinery, soldiers) • Even if the Germans had been wholly successful in their 5 offences, their ability to follow up was limited (but we didn’t know this at the time) • On the Allied side, the end appeared to be near, and they thought the Germans would win the war o The situation was so dire that Douglas Haig issued an order on April 11, 1918 to the troops – he addressed that they were at the end of the war, but they shouldn’t surrender 2. Government Controls • The situation was so serious that the government felt they had to step in • Income tax was brought in in 1917 to pay for the war o It was sold as a temporary wartime measure o For a single person with an annual salary of $4000, you would pay 4% in tax • Daylight savings time came in the spring of 1918 as a way to conserve energy o The assumption was that the war would go on for a long time, and they needed all of the energy they could get • Food Controls – Canada didn’t have the same rationing system as Britain, but they had a Canada Food Board to guard against waste and so that people would use food efficiently o People were encouraged to save more and use less o Restaurants were publicly licensed for the first time to ensure food wasn’t being wasted • Censorship – made possible through the War Measures Act o The government didn’t have the resources to engage in censorship in 1914, but they decided they needed to take it on regardless in 1918 • Registration o For the first time, Canadians were required to carry identification to confirm they have been registered o Although we are used to carrying ID, it was a big step for people who didn’t carry any identification around with them • These government controls were generally accepted throughout the public because people believed that this war has become a fight to the death. o We know now that there was little chance of the war spilling over into North America, but at the time, they didn’t know that o Losing the war didn’t just mean being beaten on the battlefield, it meant the beginning of a new ‘dark age’, losing civilization (they were told that the Germans may take over, their children would have to learn German in schools, etc…) o As a result, almost anything was accepted if it could help win the war 3. Meanwhile… • While the British army was being hit, the Canadian army was in reserve (training, resting, being reinforced) o After Passchendaele, the Canadian Corps was out of the line • The Canadian Expeditionary Force has the benefit of the drafted soldiers coming in (a new influx of Canadian soldiers) • By 1918, there were Canadian centres all around the British Isles (they took over hotels, stately homes, etc…) • The Canadian Forestry Corps took up residence in Scotland, chopping down trees to be used in trenches o Witley/Bramshott  Became one of the big areas where the Canadian army was o Shorncliffe  Generally the last place Canadian soldiers went before they were sent over to France • Canadians generally assimilated well into British society o British social life had also been restricted because of the war effort (Canadians came and provided entertainment through music, sports) o They provided male companionship at a time when many local men were away at war (there were a large number of marriages between English women and Canadian soldiers)  The Canadian commanders did checks on the women the soldie
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