"Watching."
Canada; An Illustrated Weekly Journal, 22 August 1914. ©Chinook Multimedia Inc

"Watching."

Canada, the young lion and first Dominion, is shown standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the mother country, ready to defend the empire.

At the beginning of the war, the poorly equipped and organized Canadian army consisted of 3,000 permanent force soldiers and the 57,000 or so citizen-soldiers of the militia. By the end of the war, the Canadian Corps had become an outstanding fighting force and was frequently used to spearhead major attacks. Read more about Canada’s participation in the First World War.

Causes

Bitter rivalries between the major European powers and Germany's long-standing desire to dominate Europe are often identified as significant causes of the First World War.

Going to War

As part of the British Empire, Canada was automatically at war when Great Britain declared war on behalf of all British subjects. Ready or not, most Canadians accepted that situation.

Canada's Army

From a poorly equipped, organized, and trained force at the beginning of the war, Canada's army quickly became very professional and would end the war having contributed in a major way to victory.

Battlefront, 1915-16

The early years of the war, including trench warfare and the costly battles at Ypres, Flanders, and the Somme, are examined.

Homefront, 1915-16

The nation had both to support the soldiers on the battlefront and to maintain the families of those soldiers at home.

Battlefront, 1917

In 1917, the United States entered the war, and new tactics started to break the stalemate of trench warfare. Highlights include the battles at Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele.

Homefront, 1917

The failure of voluntary recruitment in Canada to sustain a 500,000-man army meant that the conscription of men for national service had become a military necessity.

Battlefront, 1918

Highlights include the German Army’s spring offensive and Canada’s 100 Days Campaign, which included battles at Amiens, Arras, Canal du Nord, and Cambrai as well as the Pursuit to Mons.

Life in the Trenches

Learn about the grim daily realities of life and death in the vast trench systems of the First World War.

Sea and Air

Canada's wartime role in fighting on the sea and in the air is examined.

War & Sacrifice

Canada's contribution during the war came with a heavy cost to soldiers and to their families.

War & Nationhood

The success of the Canadian Corps under Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Currie and the efforts of the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, helped transform Canada from a colony into an autonomous nation.

 

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