Canada History

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Prehistory | 2 Worlds Meet | New France | England Arrives | Clash of Empires | Revolution | British America | Reform/Revolt | Responsible Government | Confederation | Nation Building | Laurier | The Great War | Roaring 20's | Great Depression | WWII | The Peace | Cold War | Trudeau | PC's in Power | Modern Canada

Golden Summer | European Powder Keg | Sarajavo | Canada Goes to War | Building an Army | Union Government | Nationalism | Women Get the Vote | Conscription Act | The Home Front | Victory | Aftermath

Canada entered the First World in support of the British Empire and ended it in many ways a divided country due to the conscription crisis, but, it also had found a new sense of nationalism or a Canadian identity which was forged in the fires of battle and hardened in the politics of the peace. Much of the consciousness of being Canadian was in relation to other countries which Canada had fought with and against during the war.

The Canadian forces that went overseas were originally going to feed into the British units as replacements and units within larger British formations. The Canadian authorities stood up against this and Canadian divisions were trained on Salisbury plain and then dispatched to France. Sam Hughes refused to let the Canadian units be split up and the British leadership slowly acceded to this desire. The ultimate achievement during the war of Canadian fighting ability came in April 1917 during the Battle of Vimy Ridge when several Canadian Divisions and units, fighting together swept up and over the ridge, capturing the German positions which the French and the British had failed to do. The news of this great Canadian victory, delighted Great Britain and France but absolutely thrilled Canadians.

A spirit was ignited which held within it the belief that the young viral country had come of age and where the other countries could not quite get the job done, Canada could. Although Vimy Ridge was only one of many in the war, and only one of many Canadian engagements, it came to stand for a newfound Canadian nationalism which showed that the former colony had come to the rescue of the old world and would no longer be satisfied with colonial status on any front.

Canada was given a seat during the Versailles Peace Conference and within a dozen years, the Act of Westminster was passed which handed over the control of Canadian policy to Canada.