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WW1 Homefront

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by

Rhiannon Campbell

on 27 September 2016

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Transcript of WW1 Homefront

The Home Front
Farming
Europe couldn’t feed itself (
3/5 European soldiers were farmers
)
Most Canadian soldiers were farmers back home so valuable Canadian exports were in shortage
women and children filled the shoes of absent farmers

New markets and business opportunities
Make:
armaments, fuses, explosives (steel for shell cases)
Guns, plane parts, ships, subs
Uniforms, equipment, medical supplies
Industry
Women worked long hours without pay
Victory Bonds
People urged to buy bonds to help war effort
Afterwards – cash in bonds for money back with interest
(like an I.O.U.)
Banks and large companies would buy bonds (some citizens too)
Government institutes 2 “temporary taxes”
1. Business profits tax (corporate)
2. Income tax
Both still exist today.
Act gives power to arrest and detain without cause
Leads to creation of
Internment Camps
Fear and distrust of recent immigrants to Canada (especially from “enemy countries”)
“corner the market”
on products and goods
Companies don’t sell until they get the best price
Companies often bribed the government
for contracts (Sochi Olympics!)
Cheap material and sloppy work
Profiteering
Boots – were worn out in 2 months
Companies would bribe the government for contracts
Censorship
Good News Only
All news, especially bad, controlled
(report victories, heroic stories)
Sinking of dreadnaught HMS Audacious Oct. 1914 not reported
Reporters focus on good news
Nov 1916 – reporters allowed to visit trenches
Newspapers were keen supporters of war
After WW1 12 press leaders given knighthood for censoring war to the public
Soldiers Letters
All letters sent home inspected and blacked out
Independent press was more balanced in war response
Initially these papers were tolerated
Papers like pacifist Tribunal were quickly shut down as war continued
Socialist newspapers like Daily Mirror carefully monitored
Government feared info leak to enemies, in
1916 alone: Intelligence services examined 38,000 articles, 25,000 photographs, 300,000 private telegrams
Forced Censorship
Books and Periodicals
Leading authors signed Declaration by Authors in support of war
Produced patriotic publications at no charge
War Measures Act
1917: 1/3 of British shells were Canadian made
Largely Ukrainian immigrants (from Austria-Hungary)
8000 men sent to camps
• August 4th 1914: once Britain declares war, Canada is automatically thrust into conflict
• Prime Minister Robert Borden answered the call to action
• Declares the War Measures Act
• Borden called for 20,000 volunteers
• In less than 1 month, 40,000 recruits had voluntarily enlisted
Canada Goes to War
Excerpt from Robert Borden’s speech:
"It is our duty to let Great Britain know and to let the friends and foes of Great Britain know that there is in Canada but one mind and one heart and that all Canadians are behind the Mother Country."
Why do so many men enlist?
Adventure and excitement
"Romantic" notions of war
Experience from previous wars
Status
Kill the enemy
Money
Over by Christmas
Sam Hughes was put in charge of the Canadian militia
Prior to war Canada had 3,100 man army
Hughes created Valcartier training camp near Quebec
33,000 men were assembled in less than 1 month
Most men had no army training
Factories in Canada immediately start creating war products
Men trained in Canada and then again in England, most were fighting by 1915
How do we go from a "Great War" that will end before Christmas, to a 4 year war in Europe?

How do Canadians, so willing to volunteer initially, respond to this all-consuming Great War?
Thinking Questions:
INDUSTRY
new opportunities for women in workforce: women step into these shoes, as well
Boots - worn out in 2 months
Canned meat – from diseased animals
But... how were Canadians treated during WW1?
Collect information from the readings provided to complete the chart on minorities in WW1
Analyze the response of:
Women and Pacifists, Aboriginals, French-Canadians, Black Canadians, German and Ukrainian Canadians, Asian Canadians
WW1 is the first war to involve
ALL areas of society
- this is what we call
TOTAL WAR
. The contributions made by people at home (hence “home” front) were therefore very important to the war effort
Frank Jamieson, then a militia man in the 48th Highlanders of Canada from Toronto, recounted:
“I’ll always remember the first night war was declared. The 48th Band came out, played Rule Britannia, and that was the spark that ignited the thing. Away we went in crowds down through the streets. You’d have thought we was coming back from the war, let alone going there.”
(If you care about censorship!)
Full transcript