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First World War — Première Guerre mondiale

© The Begbie Contest Society - La Société du Concours Begbie
Multiple Perspectives - perspectives multiple

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"The First World War remains by all odds the greatest event in Canadian history."
                                                                                                    C. P. Stacey

Dreadnoughts, Puck, New York, L. M. Glackens, artist, 22 September 1909, LC2011647506
[Uncle Sam, William II, the German Emperor, Meiji, the Emperor of Japan, Armand Fallières, President of France, and Edward VII, King of Great Britain; the emperor of Japan.]

Cheer after cheer from the crowds of people who waited long and anxiously for the announcement of Great Britain’s position in the present conflict in Europe greeted the news that the Mother Country had declared war against Germany. Groups of men sang “Rule Britannia,” others joined in singing “God Save The King”; some showed their senses of the seriousness of the situation by singing “Onward Christian Soldiers”…
     Toronto Mail and Empire, 5 August 1914 

A. G. Racey, Cartoons Magazine, October 1914

McCutcheon, Cartoons Magazine, October 1914


"So far as the Ledger is concerned, we have but one policy and that is the condemnation of war. The workers of the world have absolutely nothing to fight [each other] for, they have no quarrel."
                                                   The District Ledger, Fernie, B.C., 8 August 1914


The War Measures Act, August 22, 1914



Philadelphia Inquirer, reprinted in Cartoons Magazine, Chicago September 1914



Canada and the Call. J. E. H. Macdonald, 1914, Library Archives Canada R11274-606







The Vital Issue, New York, 10 October 1914, Pro-German Digital Library@Villanova


Cutting off a foot -- Canadian Hospital, Le Touquet, Library and Congress LC-DIG-ggbain-18453, 1914

Maclean's Magazine, Toronto, 1 December 1914

Christmas Truce at Mesen, Belgium. Trêve de Noël à Mesen. ©Timothy Shawn Hack. Library and Archives Canada, France_Belgium_2017-0308 /, 7 June 2017

German immigrant arrested in Canada, LC-DIG-ggbain-1741, 1914-15

Dad's At The Front, LC-USZC4-12713, 1915

Scale of Pay, LC-USZC4-12690, 1915

I'll Make a Man of You From Oh! What A Lovely War, Arthur Wimperis and Herman Finck, 1914

The Rooms St. John's NL NA - 11028


1914-20 Women and children prisoners of internment camp. Femmes et enfants prisonniers au camp d'internement de Spirit Lake, en Abitibi (Québec). PA-170620

Canadian Patriotic Indian Chiefs, Western Canada 1915,
Ronald R. Mumford/Library Archives Canada/PA-030224

Your Country Calls, Paul Giovani Wickson, 1915

Simplicissions, Germany, reproduced in Cartoons Magazine, January 1915
[This cartoon doubted if Canadian indigenous people would accept conscription. They didn't but they did volunteer to serve in the Canadian army.]

Collier's The Nationl Weekly, NY, 16 January 1915

The Fatherland,  New York, 20 January 1915

Canadian troops "going over the top" during a training course, possibly at a trench-mortar school near St. Pol, France, ca. October 1916. Photographs are by Lieutenant W. Ivor Castle, LAC PA-000732

1914-18 LAC Acc. No. 1983-28-471

Richard Jack, "The Second Battle of Ypres, 22 April to May 1915," Library and Archives Canada, C-014145, London, England, 1917

"The Second Battle of Ypres was commissioned by the Canadian War Memorial Fund during World War I to memorialize Canada's contribution to the war. The painting was completed a year after the battle , by an artist who had not been there and had no photographs of the scene to work with."
                                                                Daniel Francis, National Dreams, 1997

Beware Poison Gas, posters, Canada, 1917, LC2003652829

The Spirit of German Science, Louis Raemaekers, America in the War, 1918, Public domain, via Wikipedia Commons

The Times history of the war London

Cartoons Magazine, Chicago, July 1915


Barclay, Cartoons Magazine, October 1914


Gassed, John Singer Sargent, Imperial War Museum, 1919

Heroes of St.-Julien and Festubert. LAC Acc. No. 1983-28-819, May 1915

Art Young, Metropolitan, New York, May 1915


1914-18 LAC Acc. No. 1983-28-4056

The Brooding Soldier, St Julien Memorial to the Canadian fallen. The inscription on the memorial is as follows: THIS COLUMN MARKS THE BATTLEFIELD WHERE 18,000 CANADIANS ON THE BRITISH LEFT WITHSTOOD THE FIRST GERMAN GAS ATTACKS THE 22ND-24TH OF APRIL 1915. 2,000 FELL AND HERE LIE BURIED. Frederick Chapman Clemesha, a wounded veteran who served with the Canadian Corps during the war. Unveiled on 8 July 1923

1914-18 LAC Acc. No. 1983-28-826

Art Young, Metropolitan, New York, June 1915


Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1983-28-2531 

Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1989-378-1

[Conscription during the First World War began in Britain when the government passed the Military Service Act in January 1916. The act specified that single men aged 18 to 40 years old were liable to be called up for military service unless they were widowed with children or ministers of a religion. Eventually the act included married  and men up to age 51.]

Millions for 'Defence', The Masses, New York, Art Young, artist, 1 January 1916, Public domain, via Wikimedia Common

Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1983-28-834

To the Women of Canada - For Recommendations. Aux femmes du Canada, quatre recommendations, 1914-1918, LAC e010697550.

"This country was born Bi-lingual and it will remain Bi-lingual, or it shall end . . . We will have [the official language of this country], just as English, taught in our schools or there will be no schools at all."
                                                                                      Armand Lavergne. 1915
[Conservative Premier James Whitney passed Regulation 17 in 1912. It severely restricted the use of French in the schools of the province and had a devastating effect on French-English relations.]

Arthur Young, The Masses, New York, May 1915

Robert Minor, The Masses, New York, July 1916


"We are loyal to the British Crown and will defend the Empire in Canada with the last drop of our blood, but we are free and independent and no one - not Laurier or even His Majesty - has the right to ask us to go beyond our shores."
                                                                                           Henri Bourassa, 1911

"Those who have undertaken to bleed Canada white to uphold the forces of England and France in Europe tell us occasionally that our first line of defence is in Flanders. I say that our first line of defence is at Ottawa."
                                                                                           Henri Bourassa, 1916

Testing a Vickers machine gun. September, 1916. LAC PA-000635, September 1916

The battlefield after a Canadian charge, October 1916, LAC PA-000868

"It can hardly be expected that we shall put 400,000 or 500,000 men in the field and willingly accept the position of having no more voice and receiving no more consideration than if we were toy automata. Any person cherishing such an expectation harbors an unfortunate and even dangerous delusion."
            Letter from Robert Borden to the Canadian high commissioner in the UK, 1916

"The Canadians played a part of such distinction that thenceforward they were marked out as storm troops; for the remainder of the war they were brought along to head the assault in one great battle after another. When ever the Germans found the Canadian Corps coming into the line they prepared for the worst."
                                            David Lloyd George, after the Battle of the Somme, 1916

1916 Assembly Department, British Munitions Supply Co. Ltd., Verdun, P.Q. LAC, PA-024436

1916-17 Elders and Indian soldiers in the uniform of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Aînés et soldats indiens vêtus de l'uniforme du Corps expéditionnaire canadien. LAC, PA-041366

1916-1918 Unidentified Canadian soldier with burns caused by mustard gas.
Soldat canadien non identifié présentant des brûlures causées par de l'ypérite. LAC, C-080027

Imperial War Cabinet. Prime Minister Robert Borden, fourth from left. Photographer Elliot V. Fry,  LAC C-000241, March-May 1917

Robert Borden visits the wounded, Library and Archives Canada

Two soldiers wearing gas masks examining a Lee Enfield rifle.  LAC PA-001027, W. I. Castle, March 1917

The Battle of Vimy Ridge, Jack Richard, Library and Archives Canada, C-000148

The Tank returns after the first time in action. July, 1917. LAC PA- 001481

The Canadian Courier, James Fergus Kyle, 14  April 1917

[left, German ambassador to the US, Von Bernstorff; right, German general Von Hindenburg]

The Better Fighter, Louis Raemaekers, America in the War, 1918

"Bound by no constitution, bound by no law, equity or obligation, Canada has decided as a nation to make war. We have levied an army; we have sent the greatest army to England that has ever crossed the Atlantic, to take part in the battles of England. We have placed ourselves in opposition to great world powers. We are now training and equipping an army greater than the combined forces of Wellington and Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo."
                                         Speech of Sir Clifford Sir Clifford Sifton at Montreal, 1917?

Troops returning to Vimy Ridge, W. I. Castle, Canada Dept. of National Defense,
Library and Archives Canada, PA001332

Vimy Ridge, 26th of July 1936

Vimy Memorial 1936 LAC PA - 066786

"[Before the conflict] we were content to be Colonials . . .  but Vimy Ridge was the first battle in which Canadian divisions fought as a whole, and it was purely a Canadian effort. [A] National spirit was born . . .; we were Canadians."
                                                                                    Corporal F. F. Worthington

"There they stood on Vimy Ridge that 9th day of April 1917, men from Quebec stood shoulder to shoulder with men from Ontario, men from the Maritimes with men from British Columbia, and there was forged a nation tempered by the fires of sacrifice and hammered on the anvil of high adventure."
                                                                                       Lord Byng of Vimy, 1922

Sir Robert Borden’s visit to Britain coincided with the Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge. The victory was costly. The 10,000 dead or wounded made conscription necessary.

1917 24 May, Montreal, Anti-conscription parade at Victoria Square, Library and Archives Canada / C-006859


"Our position in Canada is that the material wealth must be conscripted before manpower is conscripted. That we insist upon."
                              Trades and Labour Congress, B. C. Federationist , 1 June 1917,

"We have brought this in as a temporary fundraising tool for the war. Only families with earnings of less than $3000 per year shall be exempt."
                                                                                  Canadian government, 1917

Everywoman's World, Toronto, July 1917

LAC Acc. No. 1983-28-79
Forward! For the King. For the Fatherland. For France. Your blood for humanity and freedom. To Arms! Sons of Montcalm and Chateauguay.

LAC Acc. No. 1983-28-776
"Canadians – it's time to act – Don't wait till the Jerries come spread fire and blood in Canada."

LAC Acc. No. 1983-28-281
"Canadians – it's time to act – Don't wait till the Jerries come spread fire and blood in Canada."

Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1983-28-693

Will Frost, Canadian Courier, Toronto, 28 July 1917

Captain William A. Bishop, V.C., Royal Flying Corps, who has up to this date shot down 37 German aircraft. Le capitaine William A. Bishop, V.C., Royal Flying Corps, qui a, jusqu'à maintenant, abattu 37 avions allemands. William Rider-Rider, LAC PA-001651,
August 1917

Captain W. A. Bishop, V.C., Royal Flying Corps, who has up to this date shot down 37 German aircraft, August 1917, PA-1225

LAC a008158

Art Young, Metropolitan, New York, October 1917


1918 A Canadian sleeping in the front line. February, 1918. Soldats canadiens sur la ligne de front. PA-002468

Canadian and German wounded help one another through the mud during the capture of Passchendaele. November, 1917, Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada

Wounded Canadian being taken to a Field Dressing Station. July, 1917. Canada. Dept. of National Defence, LAC PA-001545

A wounded Canadian and wounded German in the mud on Passchendaele, light up. Canada. Dept. of National Defence, LAC PA-003683, November 1917

Case of trench feet suffered by unidentified soldier. Cas de pieds des tranchées (soldat non identifié). LAC PA-149311, 1917

"Mr. Prime Minister [Lloyd George], I want to tell you that if ever there is a repetition of the battle of Passchendaele, not a Canadian soldier will leave the shores of Canada as long as the Canadian people entrust the government of their country to my hands."
                                                                                           Robert Borden, diary

Louis Raemakers, New York American, New York, Library of Congress LC-USZ62-94503, 4 August 1918

John McInnis was a miner and business owner. He was also a member of the Socialist Party that opposed the war.

The British Colombia Federationist, Vancouver, 7 Decmember 1917

                               Help the Halifax Blind
Canadian Courier, Toronto, 16 February 1918

American Red Cross Service in Halifax, LC-A6195-7234-Ax

The Fiddler, Nero "Fiddling" With Politics While the Flames Spread :  Union government electoral campaign. A. G. Racey, LAC Acc. No. 1983-28-735, 1917?

Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1963/135


"[The federal election campaign of November and December 1917 was] the most bitter in Canadian history, viciously fought on both sides. Virtually everyone's loyalty and morality were called into question."
                                                                      Michael Bliss, Right Honorable Men

Knot and Lashings, St. Johns, Quebec, 17 December 1917

Canadian sisters at a Canadian hospital during the voting, Dec 1917, Dept. of National Defense, Library and Archives Canada, PA-002365

Scenes at Canadian hospital during the voting, Dec 1917, Dept. of National Defense, Library and Archives Canada, PA-005593

Scenes at Canaian hospital during the voting, Dec 1917, Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1983-28-905

1918 rehabilitation LAC Acc. No. 1983-028 X PIC e010697117-v8

Canadian Food Board, 1918

Taking a Break, Canadian War Museum, 1918

The World Cannot Live Half Slave Half Free. LAC Acc. No. 1983-28-1985, 1917-18?

"Mr. Prime Minister, I want to tell you that if ever there is a repetition of the battle of Passchendaele [a battle in which many lives were needlessly wasted], not a Canadian soldier will leave the shores of Canada so long as the Canadian people entrust the government of the country to my hands."
                       Statement by Robert Borden to British P.M. Lloyd George, London, 1918

Invalided Soldiers Commission, Artificial Limbs. LAC Acc. No. 1983-28-699, 1914-18

Artillery, Captain Kenneth Keith Forbes, CWM19710261-0142

Lieut. McKean, V.C. "Painting". Lt. George B. McKean had been awarded the Victoria Cross, for actions storming German positions in April, 1918. He is wearing the ribbon for the V.C. and what appears to be one for the Military Medal he had previously been awarded. He would also receive the Military Cross for his actions in Sep., 1918, where he sustained the wounds that he is depicted recovering in England from. He was also still reportedly suffering the effects of shell shock when Varley painted him. Canada. Dept. of National Defence, LAC PA-006219, Frederick Varley, 1918-1919

Nurses and Men, LAC 011157200-8

For What? Frederick Varley, CWM/MCG8911, 1918

"I'm mighty thankful I've left France - I never want to see it again. This last trip over has put the tin hat on it. To see the land half cultivated & people coming back to where their homes were is too much for my make up. You'll never know dear anything of what it means. I'm going to paint a picture of it, but heavens, it can't say a thousandth part of a story. We'd be healthier to forget, & that we never can. We are forever tainted with its abortiveness & its cruel drama - and for the life of me I don't know how that can help progression. It is foul and smelly - and heartbreaking. Sometimes I could weep my eyes out when I get despondent... To be normal, to be as those silly cows & sheep that do naught but graze & die, well, it's forgetfulness."
                                                                Fred Varley, letter to his wife, May 1919

Victory Bonds Will Help Stop This - Kultur vs Humanity :  victory loan drive. Poster depicting the aftermath of the torpedoing of the Llandovery Castle. In the ocean, a man wearing a Canadian service uniform struggles to hold onto a nursing sister as he shakes his fist at a German U-boat. Wreckage, including a "Llandovery Castle" life preserver, floats nearby. The Llandovery Castle was a Canadian hospital ship built in Glasgow, Scotland in 1914. On June 27, 1918, Llandovery Castle encountered a German U-boat and was torpedoed off of the coast of southern Ireland. A total of 234 people, including 14 Canadian nursing sisters, died as a result of the attack. Lorne Kidd Smith, LAC Acc. No. 1983-28-553, 1918

The Listening Post, France, April 1918

La Presse, Montréal, 2 April 1918

"Under the orders of your devoted officers in the coming battle you will advance or fall where you stand facing the enemy. To those who will fall I say 'You will not die, but step into immortality. Your mothers will not lament your fate, but will be proud to have borne such sons. Your name will be revered forever and ever by your grateful country, and God will take you into Himself. '"
                                                                                 Sir Arthur Currie, 9 April 1918

New York Evening World, reprinted Cartoons Magazine, May 1918

Collier's The Nationl Weekly, NY, June 1918

"Canada entered the war a colony, she emerged from it close to an independent state."
                                                                   Arthur R. M. Lower, Colony to Nation

Canadian War Records Office, London, Thomas Rare Book Library, 1918

The Canadian Courier, Toronto, 14 September 1918

Maclean's Magazine, Toronto, 1 October 1918

How to make influenza Mask, Edmonton Bulletin, 21 October 1918

Over 200 Japanese Canadian soldiers served in the First World War. VPL 86045, 1914-1918

Cemetery of the 7th Battallion, BC. Mary Riter Hamilton, 1919, Library Archives Canada C132006

Intervention in the USSR

The Globe and Mail, 2 April 1919

Spanish flu, Camion Cartoons by Kirkland Hart Day, 1919, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Canadian National Exhibition Toronto : national exhibition held in Toronto from August 23rd to September 6th, 1919. LAC Acc. No. 1983-29-111

Allies around conference table - Treaty of Versailles, Paris.Les Alliés autour de la table de conférence - Traité de Versailles. LAC C-000242, 1919

They are to blame for our misery. Vote Social Democracy, translation, Miha´ly Bi´ro´, 1920, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Venereal disease poster, Department of Public Health, 1920s, Archives of Alberta, A11821


"In Germany we honour all heroes no matter their nationality. In the pages of Germany's History of the Great War, General Currie is mentioned as the greatest General the war produced. Had it not been for you Canadians, and the far-seeing tactics of Sir Arthur Currie, victory would most certainly have been ours."
                                                                                                  German officer

Good Morning, New York, 1 May 1921

The Messenger of Peace, Richmond, Indiana, July 1921

Hamilton Spectator, 25 April 1935

University of Saskatoon, The Sheaf, 6 November 1936