The Wars Essay Research Paper Robert Ross

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The Wars Essay, Research Paper Robert Ross was a fictional character, but one who could be viewed a representative of how seriously the horrors of World War One affected impressionable young Canadian soldiers. Canada’s involvement in the First World War was one of immense proportions. However, this tremendous commitment introduced many battle-unsullied Canadians to the horrors of war. The Dominion of Canada sent over 625,000 men and several thousand women to the front from the years 1914-1918. ” This was the beginning of the second phase of a battle that the Canadians had thought was already over ? In it 30,000 men would die and not a inch of ground would be won.” (1) This was an enormous contribution for a country with a total population of only 8 million. Of all the

Canadians that went to fight in the Great War, 1 out of every 10 died, and many of those who returned home were maimed either mentally or physically. During the war effort, Canadian solders gained fame for their assault capabilities on the Western front. For this reason, Canadian soldiers were often the ones that had to face the brunt of many battles in which they were pitted against huge odds, introduced to chemical warfare, and expected all the time to deal with the horrors of trench warfare. “Raid this morning. Two waves of gas at 3:00 and 5:00 a.m. Our guns took part in barrage to cover infantry. Fired for 10 minutes. No.4 gun hit direct and Sergeant Knox, Welsh and Naffis (?) killed. Retaliation heavy and gas not a success and raiders suffered pretty heavily. Fritz seemed

to be ready. Rest of day fairly quiet. During night enemy made a direct hit on our Head Quarters with high explosive. No one hurt.”(2) Many of the names, places, people and events that Findley refers to in “The Wars”, have actual historical significance. The Ypres Salient (3) “These two thousand men, armed with rifles, were thrust into the gap between the British and French, along with the last regular reinforcements, two composite battalions, and a Canadian motorized machine-gun battery.”(4), for example, is the site of an actual battle in which the Canadians gained fame for their heroic action against the Germans in April 1915. Verdun is another battle which was mentioned in the Wars; this was a horrific battle in which half a million men were killed in less than

eight months “The cost of Verdun are best recapitulated in cold, round figures, no exact statistics being possible, due to the battles confusions.” (5) It was also another instance in which the Canadian military performed at high standards. In Verdun many Canadians lost their lives. The town of Verdun, Quebec, is named after this famous battleground. Tom Longboat (6) was mentioned in the novel and he is a significant character in Canadian history. Longboat was an Onondaga Indian from a reservation near Hamilton Ontario. He was a distinguished Canadian marathon runner. Kingston, Ontario, is where Robert Ross went to study military law and trajectory mathematics at The Royal Military College. In the novel the hospital where Canadian Soldiers were taken for medical services was

Bois de Madelaine. This was an actual hospital located in France, located 4 miles from Bailleul which was a battleground referred to as “the last place in civilization.” The Somme offensive (7) was also mentioned in the Wars. This was an actual offensive in which the Canadians floundered in the mud and barbed wire; The Canadians main role in this operation was the amazing seizure of Vimy Ridge (8). ” The only bright spot for the Allies that spring was the capture of Vimy Ridge on April 9 by the Canadians.” (9) On Easter Monday, 1917, Canada won its greatest victory. 100000 Canadians (all 4 Canadian divisions together) forced their way up the hill, and in a few hours the ridge had been captured. It had been the most successful day in the first two and half years of the