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World War I had a great impact on Canada’s growing identity. During and after the war, events that took place contributed to Canada’s independence from Britain and to Canada’s worldwide recognition and respect. Three major things which helped Canada’s identity were Canada’s involvement in major battles, Prime Minister Robert Borden and The Treaty of Versailles. Many battles fought by Canadians will not be forgotten. During the gas attack at Ypres, the Canadians were the only ones able to hold their positions and even extend their lines to fill in the gaps left by the French.
They were the only ones who were able to mount a successful counterattack- they were able to stall the Germans. Also, it was a Canadian medical officer who recognized the gas and came up with an antidote – soak a handkerchief in urine and hold it over your face. In the Battle of the Somme, Canadians fought so bravely that they were often marked as storm troopers and called to spearhead an attack.
Britain’s Prime Minister wrote “whenever the Germans found out the Canadian corps were coming into their lines, they prepared for the worst. Also, the Canadians were the only ones able to conquer Vimy Ridge. The British and French has tried and failed. Four Canadian soldiers won the Victoria Cross and witnesses wrote they saw the “birth of a nation” at Vimy. Also, it was Canadian General, Authur Currie, who came up with the strategy to take over Vimy Ridge.
In Passchendale, British General Haig called Authur Currie to come up with a plan to take Passchendale, and he, once again, was successful.
Prime Minister Robert Borden also contributed to Canada’s growing sense of identity. First, he made sure that Canada was seen as a strong military. Under his leadership, Canada trained and equipped a large fighting force. Businesses were reorganized to support the war effort and new measures were introduced to finance the war. Second, he made Canada more independent from Britain. He wrote a resolution that made Britain promise to give Canada and other dominions autonomy.
Finally, he made sure Canada was recognized and respected on the world stage. In 1917, Canada was finally given its own representation at international events. Borden insisted that Canada have a greater voice on the way war was waged. He said that “if there is ever a repetition of the battle of Passchendale, not one Canadian soldier would leave the shores of Canada. ” The Treaty of Versailles was another factor which helped Canada in its growing sense of identity. Canada was represented as a separate nation at the meetings and at the fficial signing of the treaty. Also, because of the results from the Treaty of Versailles, Canada joined the League of Nations as an independent nation. Canada’s involvement in major battles, Prime Minister Robert Borden and the Treaty of Versailles all helped with Canada’s growing sense of identity. Canada entered World War I as a colony of Britain with no say over its own foreign affairs. By the end of the war, it has gained a new sense of nationhood and international recognition.
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