HIST*2600 W16 (01) Post-Confederation Canada (Essay Proposal; the Battle of
Submitted by: Andrew M. Smith (0865546)
It should be acknowledged that the successful campaign to dislodge the Germans from their
defensive positions at Vimy Ridge on 12 April 1917 had brought about significant magnitudes for
Canada. Four divisions from the Canadian Corps had been tasked to bring the coveted ridge into allied
possession in a calculated assault to advance their sphere in the western front. During the early 20th
century, Canada was obligated to follow all imperial orders and participate in the empire’s conflicts. The
Battle of Vimy Ridge had proven Canadian merit, enhanced national pride and symbolically represented
early nationhood. The sources provided below primarily focus on British imperialism over her colonies,
Canadian leadership and success at Vimy Ridge, European recognition and the rise of Canadian
Barris, Theodore, Victory at Vimy: Canada Comes of Age, April 9-12, 1917, Toronto: Thomas Allen
Theodore Barris displays evidence of European celebration in recognition for Canadian success at Vimy
ridge. French newspapers called it “Canada’s east Gift”, King George praised Canada and the corps
leadership and the New York Times mentioned it would stimulate Canadian nationalism. . Talbot
Papineau (Cpt of Princess Patricia's light infantry) believed that the Canadian was the embodiment and
symbolic representation of a birth of a nation. Barris also discusses Canadian domestic crises like
influenza, post-war economic inflation and political strife. He explains that though Vimy and the
armistice were celebrated, they were short lived as Canada faced new dilemmas after WW1. However
veterans had created the mythology of Vimy stimulation the birth of a nation.
Christie, Norm, For King and Empire: The Canadians at Vimy, April 1917, Ottawa: CEF Books, 2002
Norm Christie discusses details about the battle, artillery bombardments on German defenses, 2 weeks
of strenuous fighting the artillery bombardment by the British, Canadian and South Africans. He
mentions the Canadian advance towards its four objectives and capture of hilltop 145 on April 12, 1917.
Overwhelming artillery support-by-fire is arguably one of the key causes that helped Canadians
accomplish their mission. The Canadian legion made advertisements for the pilgrimage to Vimy ridge in
1939 when its national memorial was constructed and completed.
Granatstein, J. L., The Greatest Victory: Canada's One Hundred Days, 1918, Don Mills, Toronto: Oxford
University Press, 2014.
Granastein also discusses British imperialism. Canada's future was entirely in the hands of Britain and
the only thing Ottawa could do was measure the scale of contributed soldiers for the empire. British
elitists believed the colonies were there to serve the empire and they’re purpose was to serve as
economic and militaristic resources during the war.
Granatstein, J. L., and Dean F. Oliver, the Oxford Companion to Canadian Military History, Don Mills,
Ont.: Oxford University Press, 2011. The nation that emerged from the war had been shattered by its almost quarter million killed or
wounded. The human, material and financial costs had soared, "aliens" and "slackers" were scorned,
farmers were unhappy enough to have begun political mobilization. Against these discontents, however,
could be set the public's unbounded pride in the matchless fighting record of the Canadian
Expeditionary Force (CEF). The efforts of the soldiers had allowed Sir Robert Borden to press for
increased autonomy for Canada within the Empire. Canada signed the treaty of Versailles in 1919 and
took up a seat in the new League of Nations. The colony of 1914 was gone and replaced by a newly
emerged nation still struggling and divided.
Granatstein, J. L., Canada's Army: Waging War and Keeping the Peace,Toronto: University of Toronto
Minister of militia and defense, Sam Hughes, was the man chosen in Sir Robert Borden's government to
define and shape the Canadian war effort. He wanted Canadian soldiers to fight together and not be
assimilated into the British army like a melting pot. He desired Canadian identity and distinction from
British forces. How