General World War 1 Information

General Outline of the War


- Europe was divided into two large alliances: the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance


Triple Alliance: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy


Triple Entente: Britain, France, Russia


- Archuduke Ferdinand in Austria was assassinated, thus starting the war


- Sir Robert Borden freely allowed Canada to enter the war


- At that point, Canada’s army only had 3,000 men, but quickly swelled to over 30,000, then 70,000. Volunteership quickly spread all across Canada


- At that point, war against the Triple Alliance was viewed as a heroic crusade against the villainous Germany and its friends


- On the battlefields, plans for quick victory were lost as casualties swelled


- Trenches were dug with on the Eastern and Western Front. Canada primarily worked in the Western Front


- At the stalemate at Ypres, Germany started using Mustard gas to decimate Entente forces


- Chlorine Gas was introduces in the 2nd Battle of Ypres by the Germans


- Canada lost 1 in 3 men


- Within the trenches, diseases quickly spread


- The demand for war supplies quickly radicalized Canada’s manufacturing industry: Women were allowed to work in factories


- At The Battle of the Somme, Britain began an all-out offensive strike against enemy forces – which largely failed.


- However, due to far better planning, Vimy Ridge was captured within 4 short days


- This began to create a distinct Canadian identity that was separate from

Britain’s identity – Canadian troops were known as “Storm troopers”


- The Canadian forces were ordered to capture Passchendale – but with heavy, heavy casualties


- Because of the economic boom in Canada, potential soldiers were often kept at home because of good pay


- Because of the collapse in the Eastern Front, Germann troops were now contributed to the Western fronts


- However, this German offensive was not widely effective


- Armistace in 1918 brought Peace to the world at last


- Sir Borden insisted that Canadaa have a separate seat in the Versailles treaty, giving it a presence in the international stage


- Through the war, Canada had created a separate presence in the world




- Machine Guns


- Ross Rifle: Canadian made weapon, constantly jammed up due to wet weather, often dropped and switched with British rifles because they were better


- Sam Hughs: profited from helping friends and companies by providing them with $170 million in government contracts. The weapons that were created were not good/reliable and he was forced to retire.


- Tanks: used for the first time in war, made of armour, could withstand machine gun fire. However they often broke in mud


- Chlorine Gas: Caused troops to have watery eyes and gag. Was first used in the Battle of Ypres, however the problems were that it dispersed quickly and that it sometimes backfired due to wind.

War at Sea



- Subs were created (by Germany) and used to destroy enemy ships. They were called U-Boats. They torpedoed Allied ships carrying food, munitions, and soldiers


Convoy System: ships sailed in large groups to prevent being sunk by U-Boats


War in the Air




- Canada had no air force at the beginning of WW1


- Many Canadians wanted to become pilots, therefore they went to Britain and served in their air force. 22800 Canadians became part of the Air force, 40% of Britain’s air force was Canadian by the end of the war


- Planes back then had open cockpits and were called “Flying Coffins” due to the sort 3 week life expectancy



Canada’s Hundred Days


- August 8, 1918 – Nov 11, 1918 (Remembrance Day)


- Allied forces are pushing the German line back


- Germany and allies declared an armistice on Nov 11 ,1918


Armistice: Truce


Paris Peace Conference, 1919


- Included France, Britain, and the USA


- Canada was allowed to send delegates, however they did not have a say in the discussions


- The result of this conference was the treaty of Versailles



Treaty of Versailles


- Germany lost all of its colonies


- New nations that were created: Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania


- Monetary Compensation: Germany was required to pay $33 billion


- Germany was not allowed to build tanks, military airplanes, poison gas, and battleships over 10,000 tons and submarines


- Germany was forced to accept the blame for starting the war


Financing the War


- The war cost the Canadian government almost $1 million a day


- The government sold Victory Bonds


Victory Bonds: used to raise money for the war, bondholders promised that at the end of a fixed term, they will get their money back with interest


- First selling of bonds raised $100 Million +

Income tax - In 1917, government took portion of Canadian’s money earned - supposed to have been a temporary measure, but government never stopped taxing Canadians




Propaganda: Shaping people’s beliefs in an effort to achieve a certain goal


During World War I: posters promoted patriotism, and encourage people to join the war. Also, promoted hatred of enemy (Germany)




Jobs – when men signed up for the war, woman took on jobs like farming, labor, running business. Women lost jobs to men once they came home from the war


Wages - Worked for less than half of what men earned


Woman were only allowed to vote starting 1917 (provincial)



Government had unlimited power - extended to police. Anyone could be arrested, detained without cause to without trial


Enemy Aliens - Immigrants or Canadians whose background is from “enemy” countries (Germany, Australia Hungary, Ukraine). Theses people were arrested for no reason, had

less rights; made to work hard labor



Law requiring all able-bodied men to enlist in the army

Military Service Act, 1917


Pushed by Prime Minister Robert Borden


Volunteers for the war were down and Britain was asking for more support


Main Issue (Quebec)


People were against it, began rioting


French Canadians felt they were losing their rights

Military Voters Act, 1917


All members of military right to vote overseas, female relatives of men who were in the military could also vote


Aboriginal women, enemy aliens and people opposed to the war could not vote


Borden exempted farmers’ sons from conscription


Most Women in Canada got the vote in 1918