J.L. Granatstein is a former Director and CEO of the Canadian War Museum and author of many books, including Canada’s Army: Waging War and Keeping the Peace.
From party politics to standard of living to national identity, the Great War transformed Canada
The Great War, lasting from August 1914 to November 1918, had a huge effect on Canada. In the hothouse atmosphere created by the conflict, attitudes changed faster, tensions festered more quickly and events forced governments and groups to take new positions at an unheard-of pace. The war changed everything.
First, there was the military aspect. In 1914, Canada had a tiny standing army, a two-ship navy and no air force. By the end of the war, 620,000 men and women had put on a uniform, an extraordinary effort from a population of just eight million.
The army had a corps of four divisions and 100,000 men fighting in France and Flanders and winning laurels, while the casualty toll over four years approached almost a quarter-million killed and wounded. Some 22,000 men served in the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Air Force, and the navy patrolled Canadian waters with some effectiveness. Continue Reading →