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Canadian History for Kids: The Great War

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One and Canadian History for Kids have assembled 31 remarkable stories about incredible people, places and events which helped shape our amazing nation.

A grateful nation never forgets a hero.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.

World War 1, for Canada, began on August 4, 1914, when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. This small conflict between two countries spread rapidly: soon, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, Canada and France were all drawn into the war, largely because they were involved in treaties that obligated them to defend certain other nations. Western and eastern fronts quickly opened along the borders of Germany and Austria-Hungary.

World War 1 was triggered on 28 June 1914 by the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his pregnant wife Sophie. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was the nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the throne of Austria and Hungary.

The assassination was planned by a Serbian terrorist group, called The Black Hand and the man who shot Franz Ferdinand and his wife was a Bosnian revolutionary named Gavrilo Princip. Here are some major events that happened after the assassination:

28 July – Austria blames the assassination on Serbia government.

29 July – Russia has promised to protect Serbia against any Austrian attack and begins to prepare its army.

1 August – Germany hears about Russia preparations and declares war on Russia.

2 August – Britain mobilises its fleet of warships.

3 August – Germany declares war on France because Germany is worried about a France attack or because the Schlieffen plans says France must be attacked before Russia.

4 August – German soldiers march into Belgium Britain and Belgium declare war on Germany

4 August – Canada goes to war against Germany, Austria/Hungary.

Over the next four years, the Canadian troops were in such battles as Vimy Ridge, Second Battle of Passchendaele, and the Battle of the Somme. These battles are still remembered today by Canadians as part of Canada’s heritage and identity. Canada’s total casualties stood at the end of the war at 67,000 killed and 173,000 wounded, out of an entire force of 620,000 people mobilized (39% of mobilized were casualties).

Arthur Currie, one of the many heroic faces of World War 1 and was appointed General commanding the 1st Canadian division of the new Canadian corps, September 13th, 1915.

He is generally considered to be among the most capable commanders of the Western Front, and one of the finest commanders in Canadian military history. Currie participated in all major actions of the Canadian forces, including PASSCHENDAELE, during the war but is best known for his planning and leadership during the last 100 days, beginning August 8 and lasting until 11 November 1918, perhaps the most successful of all Allied offensives during the war.

British wartime Prime Minister Lloyd George called Currie a “brilliant military commander,” and might have appointed him commander of all British forces had the war continued.

Today, (August 4th, 2014) Currie’s hometown of Strathroy, Ontario will be unveiling a full life-size bronze statue of Sir Author Currie, honouring the World War 1 hero.

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