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Canadian Theme Unit
Canada in World War I, Part 2



Canada in World War I, Part 2
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.16

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    henri, incompetent, men-it, quagmire, referendum, conscription, remainder, uninjured, rallies, engagement, armistice, battlefield, artillery, massacre, formidable, crucible
     content words:    Second Battle, Great War, Prime Minister Borden, Henri Bourassa, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Newfoundland Regiment, Vimy Ridge, Canadian Divisions, Third Battle, Robert Borden


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Canada in World War I, Part 2
By Mary Lynn Bushong
  

1     During the Second Battle of Ypres, the Germans sent nearly 6,000 canisters of chlorine gas into the French position. This forced a French retreat leaving a four mile gap in the line of defense.
 
2     The Canadian soldiers moved to close the gap and block a German advance. They fought through the night to do so.
 
3     Two days later, the Canadian line was attacked with chlorine gas. Instead of retreating, they held their position until help came, at a loss of 6,000 lives. They proved themselves to be formidable fighters. It was also the first instance where a Colonial army caused a major European power to retreat in Europe.
 
4     By 1916, people at home understood that the Great War was not going to be a short war. Stories about the horrors of war circulated at home. The numbers of volunteers to fight fell off rapidly.
 
5     Prime Minister Borden had already promised another 150,000 troops. How was he to get them? The answer seemed to be conscription.
 
6     Many of the English-Canadians approved of the plan. It would force the French-Canadians to take part and do what the English thought was the French share.
 
7     Henri Bourassa and Sir Wilfrid Laurier strongly opposed the action. Riots, marches, and rallies proved the anger of the French-Canadians with the plan. Even so, conscription became law.
 
8     The Battle of the Somme in the fall of 1916 was meant to relieve Allied forces at Verdun. Of the 801 men of the first Newfoundland Regiment, only 68 men were uninjured. The British lost 57,550 men-it was the largest ever massacre in one day.
 
9     The next major engagement for the Canadian troops was the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917. The ridge was an important part of the German defense. It was also a valuable source of coal. Both the British and the French had attempted to take it. Now it was up to the Canadians.

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