Mark Osborne Humphries, Dunkley Chair in War and the Canadian Experience, associate professor in the department of history and director of the Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University recetnly wrote a column for The Globe and Mail’s coverage of the First World War’s legacy at 100. In the article, “The War – and the question,” Humphries discusses why Canadians should remember the battles of the First World War:
One hundred years year ago this week, the men of the 1st Canadian Division were baptized by fire on the Western Front. Raised in the late summer and early fall of 1914, the First Canadian Contingent sailed for Britain in October, trained in the shadow of Stonehenge, and went into the line for the first time in mid-February, 1915 …
Why should we remember the battles of the First World War a century on? What relevance do they have today? Many Canadians would say that it is because we became a nation during the Great War. Literally, of course, this is untrue, but the idea doesn’t hold much figurative water either. While the Great War did unite English-speaking, middle-class, urban Canadians behind a common cause, it was under the banner of British imperialism, not Canadian independence.
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