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Lecture 11

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Western University
History 1810E
Margaret Mc Glynn

History 1810E Monday February 10 Lecture 11 Canada As It Might Be Outline: I. The Balance Sheet II. A Land Fit for Heroes III. The Spirit of the Canadian Corps IV. A Classless Society V. Ending Racial Animosity VI. Uniting the Two Solitudes VII. Full Citizenship for First Nations The Balance Sheet • The fighting stopped on the 11 of November, but the war didn’t officially end until 6 months later • The Versailles Conference wasn’t about the winners and losers deciding that the war would end, but the winners sitting down and deciding what kind of a treaty to impose upon the losers • The map of Europe changed • 4 Empires Fell: o German o Austro-Hungarian o Russian o Ottoman • The British Empire was almost fatally weakened by the First World War o They went into the war as the world’s leading financial power, but by the end that became the United States o Britain became in debt, primarily to the U.S. • There came a whole host of new states made up of those dissolved empires: o Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, USSR • The primary legacy of WWI was a legacy of violence o It eventually led in Germany to nationalist socialism, the Nazi era, and eventually the Second World War o Russia – Stalin, social engineering, conflict between Nazism and Communism o Middle East – the superimposition of borders left tension which still continues today • The war created more sharp-edged, tougher societies • Total casualties: 37 million o 8.5 million dead o 7.7 million prisoners and missing o 21 million wounded o 50 million dead in influenza pandemic (1918-1919)  Without WWI, there wouldn’t be the influenza pandemic o It may be the first time in modern history where life expectancy dropped  From 52 years for males in 1914 to 44 years in 1918, and 55 years for females to 50 years A Land Fit for Heroes • There was hope that Canada after the war would live up to the ideals of the war (and those who gave their lives for it) • There was celebration at the end of the war o There were parades, people celebrating in the streets • Although there was a celebratory mood, people were also exhausted and stressed from being at war for four years • It was seen as Canada’s chance to recreate society and make it better than before • There were a lot of ‘self-help’ books, ideas of what Canada could do to be a better place o Fixed terms for senators o Proportional representation (change the voting system) o Prohibition (banning alcohol) o Tax on land values o Abolition of party politics o Flat tax (one tax for everyone) o Subsidies for military bans (the government should pay for trombones, trumpets, etc…) • Stephen Leacock, The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice o He was an economics professor and social commentator o He thought that Canada after the war should be a social welfare state (what would come in 1945)  Unemployment insurance  Pensions  Aid for parents o He wanted to use the war to build a better country The Spirit of the Canadian Corps • The spirit of the Canadian Corps was seen as an example for what Canada could become – it was a metaphor for Canada • What Canadians achieved at war together was what Canadians could do at home • Everyone put aside their differences and worked together for a common cause during the war • A spirit of unity, self-sacrifice, cooperation • They could do this by eliminating class conflict and discrimination based on race A Classless Society • The idea was that in the Canadian Corps, class was irrelevant o You were promoted on merit (it didn’t matter how rich you were, what school you went to, who your parents were…) o eg. Arthur Currie was a failed real estate agent and probably an embezzler, but he reached the highest office in the Canadian Corps • The Boy Who Came Home by Harry Amoss (1921) o The story is about two young lovers, Harry and Jeanette o Harry is English and Jeanette’s father is a French Canadian nationalist o Harry joins up, and when Jeanette’s father learns that h
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