World War I was very influential in the shaping of Canada as a nation. Canada earned recognition, respect and admiration from the rest of the world through their successful and dedicated participation in WWI. Canadians successfully participated in a war that introduced the horrors of modern warfare to the world. Technology developed at a rapid pace during WWI because of the increasing demands of modern warfare.
Although many Canadian lives were lost during the war, Canada grew stronger as a nation, and moved closer to becoming an independent nation. A distinctive and lasting Canadian identity was forged on the battlefields of Europe during WWI. Canadian women also made tremendous strides during the war, some voting for the first time, several serving as nurses and volunteers at the front, and many others becoming well established in the Canadian labor force.
World War I brought many issues of racism to the forefront in Canada. The unjust internment of many "enemy aliens" or immigrants from "enemy" countries in Canada during WWI will be remembered as one of the most embarrassing aspects of Canadian history. The immigrant population of Canada today, including those who came from war torn Europe after 1918, has become a major part of the Canadian identity.
Those living in Canada during the First World War could not escape the sudden pressure to 'do one's bit' and help assure an Allied victory, nor the enthusiasm for the war that swept the country. As one woman said, "Everybody wanted to be there; you were in the swim of things; everything was war, war ,war".
Through taxation, conscription, volunteering, war bonds, munitions work and so much more, the war effort involved everybody on the home front. This brought about many changes in Canadian society.
One major change was the increased use of propaganda to influence public opinion. Caroline Playne describes how "The war of 1914-1918 was very popular, but even the most popular war has to be stimulated...
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