By: Mitch Webster
My essay is about Vimy Ridge and how it affected Canada. Located in a northern region of France known as Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Vimy Ridge was the site where Canada won one of its greatest battles. The Vimy Ridge battle began on April 9th, 1917 and ended on April 12th, 1917. Winning this battle earned Canada a reputation for deploying new “thorough” tactics which became the foundation for future victories. Canada won a battle that no one expected Canada to win, which changed the way others thought about the strength of Canadian battalions. Winning the battle of Vimy Ridge ultimately gained independence and respect for Canada. Some of the ways that Canada was affected by Vimy Ridge include, 1) it was the first battle Canada ever won which helped Canada win many other battles in the future, 2) Vimy Ridge earned Canada a reputation for winning despite having fewer troops than those that had tried before them, and 3) Vimy Ridge led to independence for Canada.
Canada’s first battle being won at Vimy Ridge helped Canada be successful in future battles. Canada continued to deploy the same thorough tactics and did not ignore anything that could help soldiers succeed. The victory at Vim Ridge shaped a conviction that the same thorough preparation would result in success. The Vimy Ridge battle was a very expensive victory and resulted in 10,000 Canadians being lost or wounded. Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden led Canada through World War I, and Borden felt that as a result of lives lost during Vimy Ridge it was necessary for Canada to consider use of conscription to ensure sufficient troops going forward. “The federal government decided in 1917 to conscript young men for overseas military service. Voluntary recruitment was failing to maintain troop numbers, and Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden believed in the military value, and potential post-war influence, of a strong Canadian contribution to the war.”1 To the point of conscription, far fewer French Canadians had voluntarily enlisted themselves in war. Conscription meant that English and French Canadian men no longer volunteered to go to war, and that all Canadian men 19 years of age and older who were physically able were required to go to war. As conscription was put in place to fill the holes following Vimy Ridge and to keep the faith of front line troops, it confirms the effect Vimy Ridge had on Canada. “The 1917 conscription debate was one of the fiercest and most divisive in Canadian political history. French-Canadians, as well as many farmers, unionized workers, non-British immigrants, and other Canadians, generally opposed the measure. English-speaking Canadians, led by Prime Minister Borden and senior members of his Cabinet, as well as British immigrants, the families of soldiers, and older Canadians, generally supported it”2. The conscription debate caused division within Canada. While Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden had promised that farmers would be exempted from conscription, in the end conscription was applied to farmer’s sons as well. On the economic front, there were positive affects of Canada’s victory at Vimy Ridge. Following Vimy Ridge and implementation of conscription, Canada’s production of armaments and munitions soared and 25% of the shells fired on the Western front came from Canada. In fact, Great Britain was using Canadian funds for armaments, eating Canadian produced food and relying on dominion soldiers (mostly Canadian and Australian). The success at Vimy Ridge helped Canada get established for future success at war and at home.
Vimy Ridge earned Canada a great reputation for victory using thorough tactics, despite having fewer troops than the Germans and those that had tried to defeat the Germans before them. “In the spring of 1917, Canadian troops were sent to capture Vimy Ridge, which was being occupied by the Germans. The allies (the United States, Great Britain, France, etc.) had tried several