Canadian History During The Time Of World War 1
When World War I broke out in 1914 the Dominions of the British Empire, including Canada immediately and without hesitation supported the United Kingdom's declaration of war against Germany and its allies. Canada's sacrifices and contributions to the war changed its history and enabled it to become more independent, while opening a deep rift between the French and English speaking populations. For the first time in its history, Canadian forces fought as a distinct unit under a Canadian-born commander. Battles such as Vimy Ridge, Second Battle of Passchendaele and the Battle of the Somme are still remembered today by Canadians as part of Canada's heritage and identity. Canada's total casualties stood at the end of the war at 67,000 killed and 173,000 wounded, out of an expeditionary force of 690,000 people mobilized (39% of mobilized were casualties).
When Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914, Canada and the other members of the British Empire were automatically involved; they had not been consulted beforehand. On August 5, 1914, the Governor General declared a war between Canada and Germany. Canadians of British descentâ€”the majorityâ€”gave widespread support arguing that Canadians had a duty to fight on behalf of their Motherland. Indeed, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, although French-Canadian, spoke for the majority of English-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." Prime Minister Robert Borden offered assistance to Great Britain, which was quickly accepted.