The Effects of World War One on Canada’s People

This essay has a total of 910 words and 4 pages.

The Effects of World War One on Canada’s People


When Britain called on Canada to help in World War One, Canadians dutifully volunteered.
Many Canadians thought that this would be a glamorous adventure that they could not miss.
However, Canadians were in for a rude awakening as this glamorous adventure turned out to
be more than they bargained for. This was a new kind of war, one that cost Canadians
dearly. Poor organization among troops, appalling war conditions Canadians endured and
lack of effective leadership that did not support the best interests of Canadian troops
all contributed to the pointless suffering Canadians endured in this supposed glamorous
adventure.


In the beginning, the poor organization among the troops resulted in some of the mishaps
that occurred in battle. In particular, soldiers were all very inexperienced and needed a
great deal of training. “Many recruits had only two hours of target practice a day-not
nearly enough to prepare them for battle” (Newman 139). These green soldiers went into
battle only knowing the basic necessities of combat. Without these vital techniques and
lack of practice, the basic Private stood a slim chance of survival in the front lines.
Poor organization was also evident when equipment was being outfitted for the Canadian
troops. “On one occasion a load of boots arrived, all for the right foot” (Newman 139). As
well, when Canadian troops were given equipment, it was often found to be inadequate. A
Canadian soldier commented, “We have been given new black boots, magnificent things, huge,
heavy ‘ammunition’ boots, and the wonderful thing is they don’t let water in. They are
very big and they look like punts, but it’s dry feet now.” (Newman 140). In this, we are
given the impression that the Canadian troops were provided with adequate boots; however
they did not fit properly. The evident lack of organization caused unnecessary anguish for
Canadian troops and their misconception of the war.


Canadian soldiers endured much pointless suffering through the appalling conditions they
encountered. The worst experience for Canadians was in the trenches. These endless zigzag
trails were the soldiers’ home for as long as they were assigned duty to them. The
trenches were often infested with “rats and lice… ‘There are millions! Some are huge
fellows, nearly as big as cats…’ The soldiers often went weeks without washing or changing
clothes, and most were infested with body lice” (Newman 141). Conditions were so wet and
dirty and the men had to live with it. As a result of the wet and dirty conditions, many
soldiers got ‘trench foot’. “Their feet swelled up to two or three times their normal size
and went numb…but when the swelling went down, the pain was agonizing. If gangrene set in,
the soldiers’ feet and legs were amputated” (Newman 141). Soldiers were expected to patrol
in sometimes knee-deep trenches with only the large, clumsy boots provided. Their feet
were always cold and wet, basically meaning they were in constant discomfort. Many
Canadians were committed to battles in which they had no chance of surviving and those who
survived, watched others die. “Of 801 men who went into battle only sixty-eight unwounded
men answered roll call the next day.” (Giesler 2). Many of these battles were just ‘meat
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