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The Day Canada Became A Nation

2209 words - 9 pages

In World War I, the victory of the Allies was caused by the turning point of a stalemate on the Western Front of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. It was “the Canadians willingness to forgo nationalism in the interests of efficiency and effectiveness that marked a new” (Dickson 40) transition of the ending of war. Through the second battle of Ypres, the Battle of Aras, and observing the previous bloodbath at the Battle of The Somme, the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F) perfected their defense tactics and techniques to fight in the evolutionary battle that made Canada a nation.

When Great Britain declared war on Germany in 1914, the Dominion of Canada was automatically motivated to mobilize. Nationalism and determination got Prime Minister Robert Borden to send the first Canadian contingent overseas, which held 33, 000 men.1 As Byng’s biographer states, “Byng admired the Canadian’s for their ‘fighting qualities and their high morale’ but believed that they were undisciplined and inadequately trained” (Dickson 41), showing how the C.E.F was considered to be inefficient and unproductive. The C.E.F was not mentioned or dignified until the Battle of Ypres. This was because the contingent’s that were sent over were considered part of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F). Canadian’s tried to strengthen their nationalism through technology and military artillery, for instance the Ross Rifle was manufactured in Canada, but this shotgun was a better target shot and overheated in the middle of battle. Another example is the Macadam shield shovel was used as both a shield and a shovel. Conceived by Ena Macadam, it was a complete failure in every aspect. The handle was to short, the shovel was to dull to dig with, the hole in the blade was too low to shoot through unless mounted on a low pile of dirt, and worst of all it was not bullet proof. The entire shipment of 22,000 shovels which had cost the government over $29,000 was sold off as scrap in 1917 for $1,400. 2 Other weaponry included colt machine guns and even Canadian made boots, “…many of which fell apart in the rain of Salisbury Plain, were all criticized and eventually replaced with British issue” (Dickson 35). The C.E.F battle tactics were renewed and artillery was adopted throughout the course of 1914 to 1916, bringing success to the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

On 22 April 1915 the second Battle of Ypres established the reputation of the Canadians’ being a fighting force. This was created through the Ypres Salient, which is where the British and allied line pushed into the German line in a concave bend. The Germans held the higher ground and were able to fire into the allied trenches from the north, the south and the east, but the Allies prearranged defense strategies: On the Canadian right was the British Expeditionary Force, and on their left was the 48th Algerian and 87th Territoral French, which were militia regiment enlisted into service a French division.3
On April 22 the...

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