Please respond to this question about Canada and WWI.Historian Desmond Morton has said “For Canadians, Vimy Ridge was a nation building experience. For some, then and later, it symbolized the...

Please respond to this question about Canada and WWI.

Historian Desmond Morton has said “For Canadians, Vimy Ridge was a nation building experience. For some, then and later, it symbolized the fact that the Great War was also Canadian’s war of independence… ”(A Military History of Canada, 145.) Do the facts about Canada’s role in the war support such a conclusion? Write an essay giving you position.

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In order for you to write your essay, you are going to need first of all to find out some facts about Canada's role in the war.  I would suggest that you try to find out at least these things:

  • How many Canadians participated in the war?
  • How many was this compared to English people?
  • How did the two countries' participation compare on a per capita basis -- in other words, did one country have a much higher percentage of its people fighting?

In order for the war to be a war of independence, you would need to see high rates of Canadian participation because that would indicate that Canada was becoming a country on its own.

You should also look at how the Canadians fought.  Were they under their own commanders or were they commanded by British officers?  The more autonomous they were, the more it supports the conclusion Morton makes.

You might also want to see if your text says anything about Canadian attitudes towards the British Empire after the war.  Was it more anti-British?  If so, then WWI could have been a war for independence.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The British Empire collapsed at the conclusion of World War I.  England, entirely spent from the conflict, had neither the resources nor financing to continue to maintain its empire. Certainly it called upon members of the Commonwealth to fight in Europe during the conflict; many British Colonies felt that such service was their payment for liberation from the Mother Country.  Examine how many former empire colonies became separate nations after the war, and you'll find that the Canadian experience was not unique, but perhaps the largest example of empire collapse.