The impact of D-day on Canada's Identity
Throughout the twentieth century, Canada had formed its true identity and brought the freedom and opportunities we know today. Throughout this course, we have learned about multiple topics, but there were three that stood out bigger to me, being the 2nd Battle of Ypres in 1915, The Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917, and D-Day in 1944. I feel these key events are comparably bigger than the others and impacted Canada's identity most.
In 1915, Canada appeared on its first European battlefield and fought in the 2nd Battle of Ypres. Throughout this war, Canadians had faced overwhelming odds and fought through the first poisonous gas attacks, as well as shrapnel and machine gunfire. At the cost of over 6,000 Canadian lives, Canada experienced horrific losses and established the country's reputation as a strong fighting force. It is said that Canada’s famous “In Flanders Field” poem by John McCrae was written during this battle, and this brings me to my point of how this event specifically impacted Canada's identity. This poem is seen as a symbol of the sacrifices made during the first world war, and is recited every remembrance day as a memorial throughout Canada, and worldwide. It is also a reminder that we must remember the soldiers that fought for us. The poem can be found on Canadian 10 dollar bills, and is overall an important artifact in Canadian history, as it has resonated with us over the years.
In 1917, arguably one of the most prosperous wars for Canada occurred, being The Battle of Vimy Ridge. The ridge itself was considered to be impossible to overcome and take, due to previous attempts and many casualties later. It was crucial to Canada’s success due to the overlook it had on German positions below it. Canadians had come up with a plan for all four divisions to fight together and it was highly successful. This was the result of extensive training, and gaining intelligence on Germans overtime. With this, they accomplished the impossible and completed a task that even more skilled forces wouldn't have been able to overcome. This was extremely significant to Canada, as this brought to light once again not only Canada’s brave and courageous soldiers but made people see Canada as a separate entity and not a part of the British empire. It also made the soldiers feel proud to be Canadian rather than calling themselves immigrants.
The last topic I have to talk about is D-Day. It occurred on June 6th, 1944, and was the largest cross channel invasion in history. With 156,000 troops (Canadian, UK and Americans), they used deception to make Hitler believe they would attack pas de Calais when in reality they were heading for Juno beach. They were prepared for anything coming from the Germans and did not take anything by surprise by using intelligence through divers, listening to german communication, nuns doing laundry for the germans, and even postcards used as landmarks. This event is significant to Canada's identity because although they didn't reach their objectives, they advanced the furthest inland out of the entire force, and was still able to take control of the beach. They did suffer high casualties but were also able to take the Germans by surprise. Overall it was a great success for Canadians, as they won alongside allied forces.
In conclusion, as I have demonstrated throughout this piece, the Battle of Ypres, Vimy Ridge, and D-day all significantly impacted Canada's identity through their historical significance, and great successes. These events also bring great pride to Canadians, due to our historical impact throughout the 20th century, and the great losses we were faced with. They further inspire Canadians to continue adding to Canada's identity and to recognize the greatness and strength of our past soldiers.