History Essay

Submitted By mackedwards123
Words: 1129
Pages: 5

Before 1931 Canada was governed by the British Empire. Canada could not negotiate a treaty

with another nation, declare war on another nation, or change its constitution. Canada was not an

independent nation at this time but from 1914-1928, Canada grew from being a colony of Great

Britain to being a truly independent nation by its involvement with World War One, the Treaty

of Versailles and its attendance of Imperial conferences.

During World War One, Canadian’s gained self-confidence by being victorious in the battle of

Vimy Ridge against Germany. The battle was fought in 1917 and lasted three days.[1] Vimy Ridge

was difficult to attack because of its great advantages, such as, it was located on a hill which

allowed the Germans to see over into the allied trenches as well as firing their guns at a greater

distance. It was also very difficult for Canadians to attack uphill because of the rough terrain.[2]

Before the battle, Canadian’s prepared by making a huge model of the ridge to instruct soldiers

where their individual tasks would be. The ridge was divided into four divisions and they were

assigned a different part of the ridge to attack instead of attacking the ridge as a whole. The

soldiers were trained to use German guns, so it would be to their advantage to use any that were

left behind. This helped them understand what they had to do and how to be successful.[3] Since

they knew they would not be successful attacking up hill, they made a system of tunnels going

underneath the battlefield to the ridge. During the battle, the Canadian’s performed a surprise

rolling barrage and the Germans were unprepared. Canada captured the ridge, and this is known

as Canada’s greatest accomplishment since both the French and British failed in earlier attempts

to capture the ridge. After Canada’s great accomplishment, the people started to feel more like

“Canadians”. H.F Mills said “ I never felt like a Canadian until Vimy. After that I was Canadian

all the way”.[4] The success at Vimy led Canadian’s to feel a great deal of pride and helped them to

be seen as an independent nation.

Before the war officially ended, allied delegates met to draft a treaty at the Paris Peace

conference in 1919. At this time, Canada was still apart of the British delegation but Prime

Minister Borden insisted that because of Canada’s success on the battlefield, Canada

should be allowed to represent itself as a separate nation and vote as a separate delegation.[5] The

U.S did not like this because they thought that the other dominions would want the right to vote

and Britain would have too much power. In the end, Canada voted separate from Britain but the

vote did not count.[6] On the Treaty of Versailles, there were many terms that Germany had to

agree to even though some of them were harsh and they did not want to agree to. Canada said the

terms were too harsh on Germany, but since its vote did not count, Canada did not have a say.

This was a big step for Canada because it has always been part of the British delegation. In

1919 the Treaty of Versailles was signed and the war was officially over.[7] Even though Canada’s

vote did not count, they still gained a seat at the Paris Peace Conference and also signed the

Treaty of Versailles as a separate nation. This showed that Canada was now starting to be seen as

an independent nation.

The Imperial Conferences of 1923 and 1926 made a great impact on Canada becoming its own

nation. There were many other events that led to Canada becoming and independent nation and

gaining complete autonomy such as the Chanak Crisis, the Halibut Treaty, and the League of

Nations. In the Chanak Crisis, Britain and Turkey were about to go to war because Turkey and

Britain signed a treaty allowing Britain to occupy territory on the Turkish coast but later on,

Turkey decided it wanted its land back