Canada offers support Great Britain declared war on August 4, 1914 at 11 pm. As part of the empire, Canada was automatically at war. Canada’s involvement was made official when the Governor-General announced Canada’s involvement the next day.
Sir Robert Borden Once Britain declared war, Canada’s Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, offered Britain support from Canada in the form of troops.
Initially, Canada was united • Sir Wilfrid Laurier spoke for the majority of Canadians when he proclaimed: "It is our duty to let Great Britain know and to let the friends and foes of Great Britain know that there is in Canada but one mind and one heart and that all Canadians are behind the Mother Country."
Canada not prepared for war Canada’s army and navy was minimal. The Canadian army at the outbreak of WWI consisted of 3000 regular soldiers. Because of Wilfred Laurier, Canada had a navy, but it was insignificant.
To get ready… Sam Hughes, Canada’s Minister of Militia and Defense, pledged 25 000 troops. In his role, it was his responsibility to ready Canada for war. Readiness required: • Leaders • Militias • Soldiers • Uniforms • Weapons • Training
Readiness in action • Militia colonels were sent telegrams ordering them to recruit healthy single men. • Contractors and manufacturers were included to build a training camp and provide uniforms and weapons.
As a result of the preparations • by September 4th, there were 32 000 volunteers at Valcartier training camp being readied for war. • After a month of training, the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) along with the Newfoundland Regiment sailed for Britain. • The soldiers trained in Britain over the winter and by the spring of 1915, they were fighting in Belgium and France • And when the first wave was training in Britain, the next wave was arriving at Valcartier
By mid 1915, • More than 100 000 men and women from Canada and Newfoundland had volunteered. • Women could not fight, but served as nurses and ambulance drivers. • Aboriginal men volunteered at twice the national rate. One of the most famous recruits was Tom Longboat, an Olympic runner who served as a dispatch runner.
Initially, volunteers were easy to find. • Canada’s population with a British background wanted to support Britain • For the unemployed the army provided wages and three meals a day • Everyone assumed the war would be over quickly • Volunteering to be a soldier appealed to a sense of heroism and duty
The romanticism of war It was believed the war would be over by Christmas It was believed that victory would be easy and swift. Nobody could imagine the horrors of war and were caught up in the image of the hero and victory.
The fight begins • To win the war in Europe, troops were needed. • Initially, Canadians volunteered, but as the war dragged on and the realities of war were seen, volunteers became fewer and fewer. • Canada needed to win support at home, and to win at home and abroad, Canada used propaganda,
Something to think about… Now that you have viewed the Powerpoint, consider the reactions of Canadians to the war… • A mother of sons in their teens and twenties • Leaders of businesses that make rifles, clothing and luxury items like wedding rings. (Many got married before going overseas) • And young men on farms and in small and large towns, in B.C, the prairies, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.