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THE WAR AT HOME
Transcript of THE WAR AT HOME
- By summer 1915 the committee
had orders worth $170 million but had delivered only $5.5 million in shells.
- The resulting Imperial Munitions Board was a British agency in Canada, though headed by a talented, hard-driving Canadian, Joseph Flavelle.
- By 1917 Flavelle had made the IMB Canada's largest workforce, with 250,000 workers.
- The IMB not only opened up jobs for the men staying home from the war, it also gave women the opportunity to work.
- Since most men were working in the trenches, the women had to step up to work for the economy. This motion put women on the map and earned them more respect. But the IMB was terminated shortly the war finished.
THE WAR AT HOME
THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE WAR
THE CONSCRIPTION CRISIS & WAR
THE SOCIAL IMPACT OF THE WAR ON
CANADIANS AT HOME
By: Fay, Aphi, Madison, Harshini, Kevin and Afrah
WOMEN AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO THE HOME FRONT
DISASTERS AT HOME
During the years of the great war, Canada itself had it partake in it's own tragedies.
There were 4 main tragedies that had affected Canada
The Fire at Parliament Building
On February 3rd of 1916 at 8:37 p.m, the parliament building was set on fire
The cause of the fire was due to a lit cigar that had been disposed of in the waste bin at the House of Commons. Fire safety at the time was inadequate as that was why smoking was not regulated
At around 9 p.m, the House of Commons had fallen
At around 11 p.m the Victoria clock tower had also caught on fire and finally fell at 1:21 a.m
Only the Library survived because of the foresight of librarian Alpheus Todd in insisting on iron fire doors and clerk "Connie" MacCormac's quick thinking in ordering them to be slammed shut before evacuating the building.
The casualties included 7 people, 2 guest speakers at the House of Commons, a policeman, 2 government officials, a Liberal member of the government from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and an assistant clerk in the House of Commons
Re-building of the parliament building began quickly ignoring the fact that a war was going on
The first parliament sat in the new building on February 26th, 1920, although the Center Block wasn't completed until 1922. The Peace Tower was finished by 1927.
The bridge with 2 tragedies
The Quebec bridge was thought of in 1877 but it was only until 1900 before the government decided to join in
The government started to fund the Quebec bridge project in 1903 because they wanted to see a national railway between Moncton and Winnipeg.
The bridge collapsed for the first time in 1907 at around 5:37 p.m. This was due to the error in alignment in the lower chord splices that had cost at least 75 of the 86 worker’s lives. That had also cost the government over $1.5 million dollars.
The government still wanted the bridge to be finished so they decided to contact the St.Lawerence bridge company in 1911
The construction started again in 1913
After 3 years, when construction was almost finished, on Spetember 11th, 1916, the southwest corner started to sag and soon after it collapsed once again
Investigations by the board shows that the cause was failure in the temporary casting equipment
The Halifax Explosion
On December 6th, 1917, the belgian relief vessle, Imo that was leaving Halifax and heading for New York and the French ammunition ship, Mont Blanc that was waiting for the convoy crashed into each other.
At 8:45 of that day, the two ships crashed into each other outside of the bay
The crew of the ship had escaped and headed toward the shore to warn the people on land
The exploded ships had created explosions so big that caused a tsunami.
Even worse, after the explosion and the tsunami, Halifax experienced a snowstorm that lasted for 6 days
In 1917, Halifax, Nova Scotia was the main base of the new Canadian Navy and housed the most important army garrison in Canada. The port was a major hub of wartime activity and Halifax harbor was crowded with warships, troop transports and supply ships
All the un-order that was in the Halifax harbor was the main cause of the crash
More than 1900 people had died, around 9000 people had been injured, 1600 buildings were destroyed, 12,000 houses damaged, 6000 people were left homeless and 25,000 people were left with inadequate housing
The Spanish Influenza
The spanish flu started in 1918
It would mostly affect people between the ages of 20 and 40 and had a mortality rate of 2.5%
No one really knows where this pandemic started by the first recorded was in a military outpost caed Fort Riley in Kansas
On March 18, 1918, private private Albert Gitchell had experienced symptoms similar to a bad cold, he went to the infirmary and then was isolated, Within an hour, many other solders had entered with similar symptoms
Soon after, nearly 1127 people had died, the flu had spread throughout the military outposts and the people there were also affected. Then the infected solders went over to Europe, spreading the disease to them
After, the flu had spread to Russia, India and China. By the end of july after everyone had been infected, the first wave of people started to die out
In late August 1918, the second wave of the Spanish flu struck three port cities at nearly the same time
At the end of the war, people felt jubilant that perhaps they were free from the deaths caused by both war and flu. However, as people hit the streets, gave kisses and hugs to returning soldiers, they also passed started a third wave of the Spanish flu. The third wave of the Spanish flu was not as deadly as the second wave, but still deadlier than the first.
Politically, the nation matured with the war experience, BUT economically the situation wasn’t as clear.
- a financial effect that something, especially something new, has on a situation or person
The Conscription Crisis
On May 18, 1917, Prime Minister Robert Borden introduced the Military Services Act. Which was the bill for conscription
The Military Service Act was passed in the House of Commons on July 24, 1917
On August 28, conscription became law
Two days after, violence in Montreal started.
Easter weekend 1918 (March 31), 23 year old Joseph Mercier was arrested in Quebec City for not carrying his conscription papers and sparked a large riot
April 1, 1918, a very large riot took place, involving many police officers, weapons, and rioters.
All together there were four civilians killed and many injured
- The long and vigorous boom that had propelled the Canadian economy for fifteen years prior to 1914 had come to an end about a year before war had started.
- So Canada's debt began before the war but it quickly escalated because of it.
- 1914 (a little before the war), drought caused a loss in wheat crops, which in turn, caused farmers to lose more money than expected.
Let's get Started
Between 1914 and 1915, 50 000 railway workers lost their jobs due to Canada's railway debt (financed by heavy borrowing).
+ Drought =
Food Shortages, And Money Control During The War For People At Home;
There Were Many Social Impacts Of The War On Canadians
- Same with our trades - Canada's economic burden would have been unbearable without the huge exports of wheat, timber and munitions.
- When the British stopped buying in Canada in 1917, Flavelle (the IMB guy) negotiated huge new contracts with the Americans.
- Despite the belief that Canadians would never lend to their own government, White (Thomas White) had to take the risk.
- So in order to help pay for the war, patriotic Canadians were able to purchase victory bonds
Women Before WW1
Before the war, women were considered lesser due to sexism
They were traditionally given the jobs of wifehood and motherhood which consisted of chores like taking care of their children and husband, cooking and cleaning
Women were also given factory jobs such as fabric and textile making which produced simple products like clothing
-Men had gone to war believing in heroism. They believed that they would return as a hero.
- These beliefs changed after Trench Warfare and
the experience of war.
- The men were devastated, they felt very angry
- These feelings were not towards the enemy but towards the people who had sent them to war, making them think it would be an adventure.
During World War 1, numerous amounts of men went to the front lines to fight for the army
During this time, many jobs were left vacant on the home front. Because of the missing workers, women began to fill in the vacancies for men
The economy then switched to the “Canadian wartime economy” which had an increasing demand for workers.
Women had to balance their domestic/familial roles while also maintaining a “masculine” occupation
Minister of Finance Thomas White
-Some soldiers came home traumatized from the horrible experience of the war
-many did not talk about it, and left it as it had never happened
- There was a mood of emptiness and desolation
- The gas warfare caused a lot of fear amongst the soldiers
- Troops were afraid of the big guns and artillery.
When Lord Rhondda became Food Controller in July 1917 his aim was to fix the prices of essential foods of which the supply can be controlled. This work was decentralised to local food control committees who were to enforce the Food Controllers Orders, register the retailers of various foodstuffs, recommend necessary variations in the scale of retail prices, to continue and develop food economy campaigns and to administer a new scheme of sugar distribution.
The Bradford committee first met on 19th August 1917. Sub committees for sugar, meat, flour & bread, potatoes and milk, which had Food Orders, were quickly established containing representatives from relevant trade associations.
Sugar was the first item to be rationed and Sugar Cards were issued to every householder in October 1917. In November 1917 the Ministry of Food approved the spending of £1 per thousand population on food economy campaigns providing Bradford with a budget of £256.
Two inspectors were appointed to ensure that the Food Orders were known to everyone and to detect and prosecute offences. The policy was to be lenient however there were cases of breaking the law wilfully and with knowledge leaving no alternative but prosecution.
In the run up to Christmas 1917 there were shortages in particular of butter, margarine and tea with queues outside shops. The Committee told the Ministry of Food that a scheme of rationing of all necessary food stuffs should be introduced without delay. However, it wasn't until February 1918 that ration cards were issued for butter and margarine. Wednesdays were fixed as meatless days to overcome shortages in supplies but it wasn't long before meat too was rationed in March 1918. Adolescent boys and heavy workers were provided with supplementary rations to keep their strength up.
When the war ended world food prices were expected to rise exacerbated by removing the Food Control Orders. The Ministry of Food however wanted to decontrol as soon as possible. The committee was strongly of the opinion that as long as any shortage exists the supply should be controlled. The General Railway Strike of summer 1919 caused further distribution problems and the committee was authorized to commandeer supplies as they saw necessary. The committee was finally wound up in June 1920.
Women and Their Contribution Overseas
Women also showed their support overseas through supplying resources for the soldiers. They made/supplied things such as bandages, quilts, clothing and food
They also created weaponry like guns, ammunition, and grenades. Something that women produced that made a huge impact in war was war machines such as fighter planes and ships.
Opposed to raising taxes
Women who produced the ammunition for the war were know as "munitionettes" and they produced 80% of the weapons and shells used in the army
These women were exposed to many poisonous chemicals with very little protection which was very risky
Munitionettes were exposed to sulfur quite often causing their skin to have a chemical reaction , creating a yellow hue hence giving them the nickname canaries
There were barely any safety precautions like the ones we have today which caused many unnecessary accidents and deaths to occur
About 400 women died from handling ammunition shells that contained TNT
- In 1915 we estimated we would get about $50 million; but instead we got $100 million (Victory bonds).
- In 1917 the government's Victory Loan campaign began raising huge sums from ordinary citizens for the first time.
Victory bonds (When Canadians purchased a victory bond, all the money automatically went to the country's debt crisis, and after the war the patriots were refunded the original amount of money they paid along with interest).
-Not enough soldiers at the front line due to death, injury etc.
- Volunteer rate decreasing, not enough volunteers/ new recruits.
-French Canadiens did not voluntarily sign up as much (less than 1 in 20 men in the army were French) compared to English Canadians due to lack of relationship with Britain.
- Canada decided to gain soldiers by sending out conscriptions.
-Canada was still part of the British Empire
-Canada was brought into the war to help Britain.
-Many Canadians volunteered for the war out of patriotism to help out their mother country.
-Canada was still a fairly small country at the time of The Great War
- Many Canadian imperialists wished to prove that Canada was more than just a colony of Britain, but an equal.
-Many wanted Canada to become bigger, more important and a force to be reckoned with
-To do that they had to prove their strength and importance by contributing in the world.
-The French Canadiens were a minority in Canada and did not feel loyal to Britain or France
-They were already angry at the time due to Canada banning French from being taught in schools. (1912: Bill 17) This caused a loss of equality and their rights were not being respected.
-Believed they did their part, and that the conscription was because not enough Quebec citizens signed up voluntarily to fight for Britain.
-Support for conscription was high in all provinces except Quebec
More Involvement, but Little Regulation
Some of the occupations women took over are...
factory workers (e.g ammunition, clothing, jar making, etc.)
post office workers
- Government at first appealed to voluntary efforts. It asked the public to reduce the consumption of scarce commodities, including fuel, to produce more food, and not to hoard essential items.
- In most cases, it avoided trying to set prices or regulate commercial activity.
- Rising prices for Canadian commodities such as wheat were good for farmers and exporters, but inflation eroded the purchasing power of many families.
- In busy, fast-growing cities energized by war employment, prices rose faster than wages, leading to labour unrest and strikes.
- Inflation posed special hardships for people on fixed incomes or those who did not benefit from the competition for skilled workers.
- Women living at home on the fixed salaries of soldier-husbands overseas often faced difficult social choices: a lower living standard; or entry into the growing paid labour force and daycare for their children.
By 1918, Canada had to pay $164 million per year to pay off their debt.
This caused the introduction of the modern day income tax.
In 1916, the Business Profits War Act went into action.
Any Canadian corporation that made $50 000 or more in capital had to file a yearly tax return. This helped to recover Canada's debt crisis by a little.
Background Causes of the Conscriptions and the Crisis that followed
AFTER THE WAR + OTHER INFO.
- When all of the soldiers came home, they were out of a job.
- Many went back to farming, but most looked for jobs in factories.
- After the war there was a heightened need for goods and services.
- Chemical and steel plants shut down due to low demand.
-Some soldiers came back injured
-Some soldiers never returned and their families would wait for them
- Children would ask about their fathers
- The men who didn't go to war were sometimes called cowards or worse
-Due to wartime scarcities luxuries were impossible and unfavourable.
-By the time the war had ended there were more woman left than men
-List of woman rights started to increased due to their participation in the war
- There were more restrictions (eg. curfew) after the gov't gained more power in order to protect the people.
-The gov't increased the police's power
-Since a lot of men died birth rate decreased
- The political & labour groups were outlawed through an order in council PC 2384. It banned freedom of association and speech for many people living in Canada.
In the months of April, May, and June 1917, over 2 million tons of allied shipping was lost. High food prices and claims about profiteering were contributing to unrest, the Board of Trade estimated that the cost of food had on
average more than doubled.
Forced service in the military
Even before war was declared there was fear that food prices would
increase and indeed they did, resulting in people hoarding and pushing
prices up even higher. But a few days into the war confidence
was restored as the government set official retail prices on the 11th August 1914.
Shortages in food supply and difficulties ensuring food distribution
resulted in National and local food control committees being established.
The war took men and horses away from farm work. Imports of nitrate
fertilizers were hit. Reduced agricultural output forced up prices and encouraged
hoarding. Governments responded by putting price controls on staple foodstuffs.
Food queues formed of women and children became a common sight in
cities across Europe.
Agriculture and food distribution suffered from strains imposed
by the war and naval blockades reduced food imports. Some
countries met this threat more successfully than others.
A new Board of Grain Supervisors coordinated bulk sales
of the West's most important product, wheat, at high fixed
prices to European markets.
In the summer of 1917, Ottawa resorted to more direct efforts,
appointing food and fuel controllers to encourage production,
avoid waste, and manage shortages.
Conscription did not help very much in the war effort (only about 24 000 new soldiers joined from conscription)
Conscription changed the relationship between Francophones and Anglophones in Canada, creating a sense of distrust and a division between them
Votes were harder to gain for the conservative party (who introduced conscription) from Québec after WW1
Propaganda was used to influence the way of thinking of the viewer into doing something.
It was mainly in poster form, and its objective was to get the message across Canada to every Canadian effectively
During World War 1, the government used propaganda to persuade Canadians to:
Enlist in the war
Raise money for war supplies/buy war bonds/buy victory bonds
Change their eating habits due to shortages in food, and so they can be sent to soldiers overseas
Propaganda now has a negative feeling in current times and is associated as lies.
Many Canadians stopped volunteering for war due to hearing details of how gruesome war really is, not just how it was presented on the propagandas
Therefore the effectiveness of the propagandas is questionable.