A century ago in Pas-de-Calais, France, the First World War waged its terror. The two main combatants in this period from April 9-12 were the powerful Germans and the ambitious Canadians. Germany at this point had buried itself within the borders of France and waged a vicious assault on the allies. The purpose of the battle was for the Canadians to regain control of an escarpment ridge from the Germans.
The Battle lasted only a few days but proved to be an iconic moment in the history of the First World War. This is especially true for the Canadians. The victory at Vimy Ridge became a national symbol for pride and unity in Canada. It was the first time that all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force fought together in a battle. The battle also demonstrated to both Canadians, but also the British and French, that the small Dominion of Canada was evolving into a state of independence and legitimacy. Years after the First World War many historians have reflected on the moment with great symbolic significance. While at the time the gains of the victory were limited, it is the recognition and symbolism attributed to the victory that have elevated this Battle into the consciousness of Canadian nationalism.
Many Canadians interpret the Battle of Vimy Ridge as a moment when Canada stepped up on the World stage and defeated a Superpower, assisting in the war effort, and protected both of Canada’s founding countries, Britain and France. The French erected a memorial at the site of the Battle to pay respect to Canada’s contributions and to its fallen soldiers. Canada by the Battle’s end had over 10,000 dead or wounded.
This April, we give our recognition to the centennial anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Canadians fought and died to protect the Allies, this year we pay respects to the anniversary of this iconic moment in Canadian history.
– Daniel Govedar (Mar 2017)