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Canada in the Twentieth Century

Millennium Film to Celebrate Canada's Greatest Accomplishments in the Last Century

J May

on 21 January 2011

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Transcript of Canada in the Twentieth Century

Canada in the Twentieth Century A Celebration of Canada's Greatest Accomplishments By Jordan May Few nations can boast of the incredible achievements and success Canada has accomplished within the last century. In the last 100 years, Canada has contributed to the victory of two great wars. We have seen times of prosperity and times of depression. Our country has emerged as a fully autonomous nation, bound by none and allied with many. We have produced talented athletes and inventions that are the envy of all the world. We have proven that we are not a nation to be overlooked on the international stage. We are abundant in resources and wealth. We serve as a place of refuge and a land of freedom. We believe every person is equal, regardless of race, religion, gender, or skin colour. In short, Canada has emerged as a leader in the Twenty-First Century, and will continue to develop into an even greater nation. World War I 1914-1918 World War I was thought at the time to be 'the war to end all wars'. The realisation of the destruction of modern warfare came as a shock to the world, and left more than 16 million people dead. It was a war on a scale of which the world had never seen before, and reminded us how horrible armed conflict really is. The Battle of Vimy Ridge: Canada's Greatest Accomplishment in World War I The Battle of Vimy Ridge is widely considered to be not only Canada's greatest achievement in WWI, but also one of the most important and reputable victories of the entire war. The Battle of Vimy Ridge occured from April 9-12, 1917. The Battle was part of the British Battle of Arras. Vimy Ridge was a 60 metre high escarpment on the Douai Plains in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais area of France. The ridge was a very important area for the Germans to hold because it gave them a clear view of the Douai Plains for miles and enabled them to see any approaching army. Both the British and French had attempted to take control of the ridge but had failed. The Canadians were now responsible for seizing Vimy Ridge under the command of British General Julian Byng. Byng and Major-General Arthur Currie planned and rehearsed every detail of the battle. Nothing was neglected in the meticulous planning for the assault. The battle officially began at 5:30 am on April 9, after two weeks of heavy bombardment. The Canadian Corps used a new tactic called "creeping barrage" to capture the ridge. In the Battle of the Somme, The heavy guns stopped shelling before the infantry attacked, which warned the Germans when the assault began, eliminating the element of surprise. Creeping barrage kept a line of fire just ahead of the infantry, leaving the Germans unprepared for the assault. This tactic required precise calculations and extremely detailed and careful planning to avoid bombarding the Canadian troops. However, the creeping barrage was very successful and by the end of the first day, the Canadians had control of most of the ridge. The ridge was defended by three divisions of the German Sixth Army. Before the battle, the Germans had developed a new defensive doctrine, which emphasized defending in depth rather than rigidly holding lines of trenches, which had failed in the Battle of the Somme. The fortifications on Vimy Ridge however had been constructed according to the old doctrine and therefore the Germans could not properly defend the ridge. On April 10 the Canadian Corps captured the town of Thelus and the crest of Vimy Ridge. On April 12 the final objective of the assault, the town of Givenchy-en-Gohelle was taken. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a great Canadian accomplishment because it demonstrated Canadians' prowess in battle and proved to the world that Canadians had the ability to thoroughly plan and execute a successful assault. Also, after the battle, Arthur Currie was promoted to commander of the Canadian Corps. Canadian officers could now command soldiers. The Roaring Twenties 1920-1929 The Roaring Twenties was the period after World War I. While a demolished Europe rebuilt itself and payed off huge war debts, Canada also was going through tough economic times. High tariffs in the United States cut off the market for Canadian exports. Then, in 1924, prosperity finally came with the recovery of European economies and a huge demand for paper in the U.S. But the good times were not to last. The Discovery of Insulin: Canada's Greatest Accomplishment in the Roaring Twenties The discovery of insulin by Dr. Frederick Banting was not only Canada's greatest accomplishment of the 1920's but arguably Canada's greatest accomplishment of the 20th century. The discovery saved millions of lives worldwide and even today is the only known control for diabetes. Dr. Frederick Banting was a medical scientist who was born in Alliston, Ontario in 1891. He became interested in diabetes after reading an article on the pancreas in a medical paper. In 1921, J. J. R. Macleod, Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto, granted Banting a laboratory, dogs to experiment on, and an assistant: Charles Best. In the fall of 1921, Banting and Best had successfully extracted crude insulin from a pancreas and kept a diabetic dog alive for the summer by injecting her with it. On January 11, 1922, 14 year old diabetic Leonard Thompson lay dying at the Toronto General Hospital. He became the first person to be injected with insulin. Banting received the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Macleod and shared half his award money with Best. In 1934 he was knighted by King George V. Banting was killed in an airplane crash in Newfoundland in 1941. He is regarded as one of the greatest Canadians in history. The discovery of insulin by Sir Frederick Banting was a great Canadian accomplishment because it demonstrated the ability of Canadian medical scientists and it was a discovery that saved the lives of millions of people worldwide afflicted by a common disease. The Great Depression 1930-1938 The Great Depression was the worst economic time in history. It affected countries all over the world. The Depression was mostly caused by severely inflated stock prices, excessive credit spending, over-production and over-expansion, and drought and dust storms in the West, which left thousands of farmers broke. This caused an enormous migration of almost 200 000 people from the Prairie provinces to urban Canada. After eight torturous years, the Depression was finally ended by an even more horrible event: the outbreak of World War II. The Statute of Westminster: Canada's Greatest Accomplishment in the Great Depression In 1931 the British Parliament passed the Statute of Westminster. This finally marked the end of Canada's long struggle for autonomy; we were now a fully independent country, equal to Britain and under no obligations to fight alongside them in battle. Canada was no longer Britain's little brother. The first page of the Statute of Westminster On December 11, 1931, British Parliament passed the Statute of Westminster. The Statute outlined that all colonies of the former British Empire (except India) were equal in status to England. The self-governing dominions now had legal freedom and complete control over their relationships with other countries. The act also transformed the British Empire into the Commonwealth of Nations, thereby eliminating British superiority. Nations remained subordinate only in areas they chose to be. For example, England amended the Canadian Constitution because the Canadian government was undecisive on how to do it themselves. Until 1949, Britain's Judicial Comittee of the Privy Council remained the highest court of appeal for Canadians. However, Canada's government was no longer legally bound to Britain and Canada was considered to be a fully autonomous nation. The Statute of Westminster was a great Canadian accomplishment because it transformed Canada from a British colony into a fully autonomous nation. The act recognized Canada as a nation of equal status to Britain, that had free ability to determine its own relations with other countries. We could now decide whether we wanted to join Britain in battle if war broke out in Europe again (which it soon did). Most importantly, the act recognized Canadian independence. World War II 1939-1945 Sadly, WWI was not the war to end all wars. Just 20 years later, Germany's fascist dictator Adolf Hitler invaded Poland and Europe was once again engulfed in war. World War II last six agonizing years and claimed over 60 million lives. WWII surpassed WWI as the deadliest armed conflict in history. The Invasion of Juno Beach: Canada's Greatest Accomplishment in World War II The invasion of Juno Beach was Canada's part in D-Day, the largest mass invasion in history. 175,000 soldiers participated in D-Day, and 21,400 Canadians landed on Juno Beach on June 6, 1944. Canadians at Juno Beach faced intense opposition from German defenders, who were barricaded in cement fortifications and operated large machine guns. D-Day was the decisive battle in WWII. The Allies defeated the German defenders and landed more than 155,000 troops in France. Germany was now being attacked from three fronts, and Hitler didn't have enough troops to push back the Allies. The end of the war was finally in sight. Juno Beach was the codename of one of the five beaches that were invaded by the Allies on D-Day (June 6, 1944). The Juno Beach invasion force consisted of approximately 21,400 Canadian troops of the Third Canadian Infantry Division. The beach was defended by 7,771 German troops of the 716th Division. Juno was the second most heavily defended of the five beaches selected for the invasion. The seawall was twice as high as the wall on Omaha Beach, and the Germans had 20 heavy artillery guns. However, the majority of the 716th Division were untrained and had no air support. Unfortunately, the Allied bombardment prior to the invasion had not taken out many of the German pillboxes stationed along the beach. There was also a delay due to weather, which gave the Germans thirty minutes to regroup before the Canadians stormed the beach. Juno Beach was divided into two sectors: "MIKE" in the west, and "NAN" in the east. At 7:45 a.m. the first troops landed on Juno Beach. By 10:00 all soldiers have landed on the beach and reserve troops began to land. The Germans had planted mines in the water and on the beach. Some landing craft were hit, killing many soldiers. Many soldiers were killed or drowned before they even reached land. The ones that made it on were fired on by German pillboxes and scrambled to find cover on the exposed beach. Despite heavy opposition, the Canadians are successful and at 10:30 a.m. Major General Ron Keller, the commander at Juno Beach, reports to General Crerar, "Beach-head gained. Well on our way to our immediate objectives." The Canadians lost 340 men on the first day of the invasion, and suffered 739 other casualties. Despite the losses, the Canadians fought valiantly and by the end of D-Day they had pushed farther into occupied France than any other Allied force, about 10 kilometres from the beach. The invasion of Juno Beach was a great Canadian accomplishment because it was a great victory for our country that demonstrated Canadians' prowess in battle. Canadians advanced farther inland than any other Allied force. Canada's victory at Juno Beach contributed to the Allies retaking France and the eventual defeat of Adolf Hitler. This ended the persecution and genocide of Jews at the hands of the Nazis, and freed many European countries. Because of the chain reaction it started,the invasion of Juno Beach was a step forward in Canada's ongoing quest for social justice. The Post-War Era 1946-1959 The post-war years were a time of peace and prosperity. The West, having not suffered the damage that European countries had, maximized production and kept down inflation. Canada's factories were operating at 98% of their wartime production, and people enjoyed new technologies like television and air transportation. However, not all groups enjoyed the post-war prosperity, like Asian, Aboriginal, and Black Canadians. France Vimy Ridge Signing the Statute of Westminster Stopping the Suez Crisis: Canada's Greatest Accomplisment in the Post-War Era In 1952, the the old Egyptian king was overthrown by a new republic. Egypt, a British colony, wanted to gain independence and seized the Suez canal in 1956, severing British and French connections to Asia. The British and French, along with Israel, attacked Egypt. The Soviet Union threatened to launch rocket attacks against the invading force. Almost immediately, the UN called for Israel to withdraw from Suez. Israel ignored the request and the fighting continued. It wasn't until Lester B. Pearson, Canada's Secretary of External Affairs, proposed the creation of a United Nations Emergency Force to occupy Suez that a ceasefire was called. The UNEF kept peace in the area until a political settlement was worked out. By April 24, 1957, Suez was completely demilitarized and reopened for shipping. In 1952, the "Free Officers Movement", led by Gamal Abdul Nasser, overthrew King Farouk and established a new republic. Nasser became the new president of Egypt. Four years later, in 1956, Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal in an attempt to gain independence from Britain. Britain decided to use military intervention to take back the canal. Britain secretly allied with France and Israel, and the three countries invaded Suez on October 29, 1956. Both the United States and the Soviet Union requested Israel's withdrawal from Suez, but Britain and France refused to call a ceasefire. The Soviets then threatened to launch rocket attacks against Britain, France, and Israel. On November 2, The United Nations called for an immediate ceasefire. In the subsequent days, other resolutions were put in place to restore peace to Suez. Lester Pearson, the Secretary of External Affairs of Canada, suggested that a United Nations Emergency Force be created and occupy Suez while political resolutions were negotiated. Pearson's idea was successful and on November 6, the British called a ceasefire. All British and French troops were withdrawn from the area by December 22. Israeli troops left Suez by March 1957, and on April 24, the canal was reopened for shipping. Lester B. Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his work defusing the Suez Canal Crisis. He went on to become the Prime Minister of Canada from 1963 to 1968. Pearson is known as the "father of peacekeeping" and is recognized as one of the most influential Canadians of all time. Lester B. Pearson, 14th Prime Minister of Canada This was a great Canadian accomplishment because Canada was responsible for the first successful peacekeeping mission of the United Nations. The defusing of the Suez Crisis proved that a middle power like Canada could successfully mediate and resolve conflicts involving major world powers. The Suez Crisis marked the beginning of Canadian peacekeeping, which continues to this day. In 1956 Canada proved to the world that is was a very valuable peacekeeping force, and that Canadians are very capable of carrying out their mission to maintain world peace. The 1960s 1960-1967 The prosperity of the post-war years continued on into the 1960s. By the mid-1960s, most of the baby boomers had been born and population increase rates began to decrease to normal levels. In the midst of the Cold War, a new threat began to rise in Canada: The separation of Quebec. In 1961, Jean Lesage began "The Quiet Revolution". The Front de LIberation du Quebec carried out terrorist bombings and violent raids in the second half of the decade. Meanwhile, women began to rise up again and fight for equality. The Royal Commission on the Status of Women: Canada's Greatest Accomplishment in the 1960s The 1960s saw women rise up once again to fight for their rights. In the early 20th Century, women had focused on the right to vote. The second wave of feminism in the 1960s wanted overall equality in society. There was a dark side to the movement this time, however. Radical feminists thought that society was centred around men, and that they must steal power from them to gain status. In 1966, thirty women's groups combined to form the Comittee on Equality for Women. The Comittee believed that they needed to make a study to show the unequal treatment of women throughout Canada. The goal of the Comittee was to move for social and economic reforms for equal pay, paid maternity leave, and freedom of career choice in the workplace. In 1967 the Royal Commission of the Status of Women toured Canada, studying what concerned women and what needed to be done to attain equality with men. The Commission made some shocking discoveries, such as: In 1970 only 3.9% of managers were women Eight of the ten provinces had laws that established equal pay between men and women, but women were still paid lower salaries than men for doing identical work Two thirds of all people receiving welfare recipients women The report was finished in 1970. It contained 167 reforms to create social and economic equality between men and women. Some important recommendations were: "Gender" and "marital status" be prohibited as reasons for discrimination by employers Training programs offered by the federal government be made available to women The federal government allow more female judges to all courts within its jurisdiction More women take seats in the Senate until there is an equal balance between men and women Employed women be allowed eighteen weeks of paid maternity leave The report by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women helped to create an order of reforms in the 1970s. The work by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women was a great Canadian accomplishment because it was a step forward towards equality for men and women. The women of of Royal Commission knew that there was an issue of equality in Canada, and stood up for their rights. The report was a very effective way to present the issue because it stated actual facts in a formal way. The investigation proved that men and women were not treated equally in society, which led to reforms in the 1970s, and contributed to Canada's ongoing quest for social justice. Florence Bird, head of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women Contemporary Canada 1968-2000 In the last three decades of the Twentieth Century, Canada became a leader on the world stage. During the 1990s Canada was ranked several times as having the highest quality of life in the world.
Canada became "the promised land" for millions of immigrants and refugees around the world. However, the evolution of Canada into an official multicultural nation made it impossible to find a defining Canadian identity. Nevertheless, Canada had one of the best records in the world for treatment of refugees. The early 1990s saw the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The threat of a nuclear war was no longer imminent, and Canadians were able to concentrate on the many new national issues. Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Canada's Fifteenth Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau becomes Prime Minister: Canada's Greatest Accomplishment in Recent Decades In 1968 Pierre Elliot Trudeau became Canada's fifteenth Prime Minister. Trudeau was one of the most influential Canadians of all time. He changed Canada's foreign policy, removed all of Canada's nuclear weapons, exponentially increased Canada's spending on foreign aid, made Canada more independent from the U.S., and went on a peace crusade when the Cold War flared up again in 1983. Trudeau decided it was time to change Canada's foreign policy. He outlined the new foreign policy in a document called "Foreign Policy for Canadians". The policy contained three goals, which included fostering economic growth and protecting Canadian sovereignty. Although international affairs were important, Canadian national interests should take priority. Removal of Canada's Nuclear Weapons and Defence Budget Cuts After Trudeau finished reviewing Canada's foreign policy, he began removing all nuclear weapons from Canadian soil. All the "Honest John" missiles were taken out of Canadian NATO bases in Europe and Canadian fighter jets had their missiles replaced with conventional rockets. Trudeau also removed the Bomarc missiles silos in the North, reduced spending on defence, and cut off Canada's contributions to NATO. However, he still valued Canadian peacekeeping and in 1975, 1500 Canadians were on peacekeeping missions around the world. In the 1960s, Canada had donated only $300,000 to twenty-one French-speaking countries in Africa. By 1973 Canada donated $80 million, twenty percent of the total Canadian International Development Agency budget. Canada was second only to France for donations to French-speaking countries in Africa. Canadians were becoming increasingly concerned about how close their relationship was to Americans. The United States had huge amounts of investment in Canada, and they were heavily involved in the very unpopular Vietnam War. Canadians wanted less to do with Americans and more independence. In 1970, Prime Minister Trudeau recognized the People's Republic of China as the official government of China. The U.S. did not like the communist government and supported the exiled government in Taiwan. Canada also stood behind China joining the U.N. Prime Minister Trudeau taking the Prime Minister's office was a great Canadian accomplishment because he was a very bold and influential leader, and greatly changed Canada in numerous ways. He improved Canada's foreign policy to prioritize national concerns, removed all of Canada's nuclear weapons, increased international aid spending, and brought Canada away from the U.S. and closer together as a nation. Trudeau was a great leader and a great Canadian, which is why his time in office was such a great Canadian accomplishment. Over the past century, Canada has changed from Britain's little brother into one of the best places to live in the world. Our armed forces have performed heroic actions in both World Wars and continue to peacekeep today. We have made scientific discoveries tha have saved the lives of millions of people around the world. We, as a middle power, have mediated and defused conflicts before they ballooned into deadly world wars. Groups that were discriminated because of race, religion, gender, or skin colour have risen up and fought for equal rights. We have had powerful and influential leaders to lead us through tough times and bring us together as a nation. Most importantly, we have become an independent, united, and strong nation, which is why we are proud to be... CANADIAN
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