The Battle of Vimy Ridge and Its Effect on Canadian Nationalism

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The Battle of Vimy Ridge and Its Effect on Canadian Nationalism

By | November 2012
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Many historians believe that the success of the Canadian Corps in the Great War was a primary source in the development of Canadian nationalism and pride amongst citizens and soldiers. Canada’s identity and reputation evolved on an international scale as a result of Canada’s war efforts through memorable battles such as the Battle of Somme and the Battle of Vimy Ridge. These battles also helped Canada earn its sovereignty, making them less and less of an imperial dominion under the control of Britain, therefore allowing Canada to make more independent decisions in regards to world affairs. French-Canadians sought for independence as they were opposed to both British imperialism and Canada’s involvement in the War; this would help spark Canadian nationalism and help preserve French culture. The Canadian Corps was formed by the Canadian Expeditionary Force and consisted of four divisions by August 1916. It was made up of people from different provinces and different ethnicities; however they all fought representing their Country. It was noted by one veteran, “We went up as Albertans and Nova Scotians. We came down as Canadians”. When Canadian troops first arrived in England, Lord Kitchener, the British Minister of War, intended to split up the Canadian divisions amongst existing British battalions. However, Sam Hughes, the Canadian military commander ignored Lord Kitcheners intentions and kept the Canadian soldiers together. This showed that Canada could fight as an independent unit and was not just an extension of the British army. Distinguishing the Canadian Expeditionary force from the British force gave soldiers a sense of national identity and pride. While Canada joined the war based on the obligation to help Britain, they were now representing Canada by fighting for their patriotism. The Canadian Corps was regarded as one of the most effective fighting forces on the Western Front. Their effectiveness came from their ability to study the successes from...
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