Language selection

The Aftermath

The armistice of November 11, 1918, brought relief to the whole world. The horrible struggle with its death, destruction and misery was at last halted. It had truly been a world war. Sixty-five million men from 30 nations were involved in it; at least ten million men were killed; twenty-nine million more were wounded, captured or missing; and the financial cost was measured in hundreds of billions of dollars. Never before had there been such a conflict.

The Great War was also a landmark in Canadian national development. In 1914, Canada entered the war as a colony, a mere extension of Britain overseas; in 1918 she was forging visibly ahead to nationhood. Canada began the war with one division of citizen soldiers under the command of a British general, and ended with a superb fighting force under the command of one of her own sons.

For a nation of eight million people Canada's war effort was remarkable. Over 650,000 Canadian men and women served in uniform during the First World War, with more than 66,000 giving their lives and over 172,000 more being wounded. Nearly one of every ten Canadians who fought in the war did not return.

It was this Canadian war record that won for Canada a separate signature on the Peace Treaty signifying that national status had been achieved. Nationhood was purchased for Canada by the gallant men who stood fast at Ypres, stormed Regina Trench, climbed the heights of Vimy Ridge, captured Passchendaele, and entered Mons on November 11, 1918.

Date modified: