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Vimy Ridge: The making of a myth

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

The victory at Vimy has become inseparable from the Canadian identity. But how it got that status is a murkier matter, and a more interesting one, which Michael Valpy explains ...Read the full article

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  1. Michael Sharp from Daffodil City, Canada writes:

    On an international stage Canada achieved what no other nation had up to that point.

    It's a shame that WW1 cost us 67,000 lives, but gave us our national identity.

    It would have been so much more civilized to have received international recognition as the purveyors of the World's Best Maple Syrup.

    Alas.
  2. Dana Cruickshank from Canada writes: What this article is saying is very true, but I don't think it is the whole truth.

    The tone of this article means to say that Vimy was a pointless battle and was useless.

    Canada, along with many other countries, has its own myths on why we are better than anyone else. Whether it be the Charge of the Light Brigade or perhaps the peacekeeping myth for Canada (a myth that I think was alluded to in this article)

    Canada has two very seperate identities built on myths. Those who want to get out of Afghanistan allude to peacekeeping all the time. while those who want to stay sometimes use Vimy Ridge.

    They are both myths in their own way.
    And I personally think that the author of this article is trying to say something about what we as Canadians should be doing presently. Vimy Ridge did not have a great impact on the outcome of the war, but at the time it was being fought, the young men fighting up the slope did not know that. The battle was a brilliant tactical victory for Canada, and did not affect the outcome of the war because the British failed to push the Germans back to the south of Vimy.

    It should also be noted that both the British and French tried to take the Ridge but failed.

    I'm not saying Vimy Ridge was the greatest thing to happen to Canada, but I think this article downplays dramatically the significance of Canada's role in WWI. The Canadian Corps, by the end of the war, were the 'storm troopers' of the empire. That is a fact, there is no myth there. Go read about the last 100 days of the war, and see how the the Canadian Corps was moved secretly to spearhead the assault of the German lines.

    I'm just saying, Vimy Ridge is a little bit of a myth, but we should still be proud of it and the accomplishment as Canadians
  3. Tom Shaffer from Victoria, Canada writes: Vimy Ridge is indeed part of Canadian mythology, but what's wrong with that? Every nation, every people, every person needs his or her mythology to maintain any sort of sanity in this insane world. My own view of the battle of Vimy Ridge is flavoured largely by Pierre Burton's book, 'Vimy', which I enjoyed reading so much. So maybe an element of mytholgy has crept into the true history of Vimy. So what? Those who fought, suffered, died, or survived in the battle of Vimy Ridge are all heroes in the making of Canada, a great nation.

    Come on, Michael Valpy. Don't be so synical. Allow us some freedom of pride, even though we may not deserve 100% of it.
  4. James Clost from chaozhou, guangdong, China writes: a good article.

    nothing should overshadow the ceremonies on monday, lets just remember what happened at vimy ridge.
  5. Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes: I don't understand what it is about Vimy that gets Canadians so hard. Back in WWI, Canada was a little semi-country lorded over by Great Britain. Canadians only fought and died in WWI because our big brother Great Britain forced us to.

    How proud are we supposed to be of that?
  6. mike wood from Dryden, Canada writes: While I have always appreciated good journalism, I find it troubling that the author goes to great lengths to dismiss the efforts of so many great Canadians that volunteered and gave their lives for the freedom we still enjoy to this day. While I am quite certain that Mr. Valpy has every right to pass judgements on the acts of bravery and sacrifice that allow him to quietly sip a morning coffee, I am also quite certain that the acts of all Canadian soldiers deserve a tad more respect than the tone of this article affords them. I am quite sure that Mr. Valpy remains smug in his assessment that Vimy wasn't entirely special or relevant in the scheme of the war. That he has the audacity to judge the efforts and sacrifices of those who gave of themselves is astonishing. Whether Vimy was or was not the 'birth of our nation' is irrelevant insomuch as Canada and Canadians have decided that it should be considered so. Vimy was, is and always will be viewed as a symbol of our nationhood. Perhaps the only thing I find more disturbing than than Mr. Valpy's disregard for these soldier's sacrifices is the disregard that our current Conservative government has shown in their treatment of Vimy Ridge in 2007. While Mr. Valpy seems to disregard and denograte these sacrifices as trivial and inconsequential, our Prime Minister has chosen to use the 2007 ceremonies at Vimy Ridge as a partisan demonstration of national pride. Despite repeated requests from Liberal MP's to travel to Vimy to honour the Canadians who gave of themselves in this battle and throughout WW1, Mr. Harper refused to allow ANY opposition MP's to travel to Vimy to mark this occasion even on their own dime, save and except one representative. That Mr. Valpy dismisses the efforts at Vimy is troubling, but Mr. Harper's pettiness is appalling. Is this the Canada we should be proud of? A Canada that denogrates our past, exploits the present and sells our future? I will not. Mike Wood Dryden ON
  7. Dave Parry from Calgary, writes: I haven't read the book but the article seems to suggest that taking Vimy wasn't a large enough tactical battle to be treated with such importance. But sometimes it's little things that make an event important, that make it a turning point. Little, or not so little, things such as the volume and quality of innovations that were applied in that battle. Okay Canada's part was just a diversion, a diversion that originally wasn't expected to actually take the objective. But a great deal happened in that diversion, in the way that it was carried out by the Canadian Corps and the units supporting it, setting a course for the future. May they rest in peace.
  8. Jim Terrets from Vancouver, writes: No offence, but its just plain stupid to glamourize, glorify and mythologize this battle and try to imbue it with some sort of symbolism as it pertains to the 'Canadian identity.' Seriously, what is wrong with us? Why is necessary to glorify war? Can't we find something else that defines Canada? There is nothing glorious or glamorous about some 18 year old kid lying on a muddy battlefield in a pile of his own feces with his entrails hanging out, crying for his mother. Because that's what war is, and there is nothing good about it. Surely there is some other event that categorizes Canada better than a martial exploit from a completely senseless and avoidable war such as WW1.

    Don't get me wrong, all the Canadian soldiers who fought in that war deserve to be honoured for their patriotism and their sacrifice, but let's honour their sacrifice in a better way, by looking for something peaceful and beneficial to mythologize so that we never have to sacrifice young men in that fashion ever again.
  9. James Clost from chaozhou, guangdong, China writes: ' mike wood from Dryden, Canada writes: While I have always appreciated good journalism, I find it troubling that the author goes to great lengths to dismiss the efforts of so many great Canadians that volunteered and gave their lives for the freedom we still enjoy to this day. While I am quite certain that Mr. Valpy has every right to pass judgements on the acts of bravery and sacrifice that allow him to quietly sip a morning coffee, I am also quite certain that the acts of all Canadian soldiers deserve a tad more respect than the tone of this article affords them.'

    agreed. i read it a second time and i think the author has really shortchanged us here.

    mike, how did PM harper prevent ANY opposition MPs from travelling to vimy for the ceremony, even at their own expense? i imagine anyone with a passport and enough money to get to vimy is welcome to the view the ceremony. how did PM harper manage all this and when and where did he state that only one opposition MP could travel (as part of the official delegation i suppose you're saying) with government officials? just curious as i am not aware of any of what you say here.

    ' Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes: I don't understand what it is about Vimy that gets Canadians so hard. Back in WWI, Canada was a little semi-country lorded over by Great Britain. Canadians only fought and died in WWI because our big brother Great Britain forced us to.

    How proud are we supposed to be of that?'

    enzo, while most canadians can remember what happened at vimy with pride and sorrow, perhaps you can reflect on the 20th century military victories of your ancestral homeland.
  10. Vern McPherson from Toronto, Canada writes: I am offended by the unnecessary trivializing of the battle of Vimy Ridge. Who is Valpy pandering to ? Why would he write this story in the first place ? There are glaring gaps in the facts presented in support of what I consider an empty acedemic and pointless analysis. For example the innovations introduced by Arthur Currie, (a name conspiciously missing in the story), such as the the creeping barage and the idea of pinpoint (for that time) artilliary aimed by a host of spotters at the battle intended specifically to take out German guns while all the artilliary up to that time was simply a mass hit and miss proposition by the British and French shot in the general direction of oppositon trenches or into no man's land. While enormous barages preceeded every British/French infantry offensive up to the time Canadians attacked at Vimy, there were many and repeated reports after offences these hadn't even cut the barbed wire lines - the prime objective of artillary in the minds of British/French strategists. Not mentioned either was the conflict Currie had with British FM Haig the Chief of Staff and chief soldier on the western front British forces. Currie wrested control of the Canadian Corps from this mad pathetic man, united it into a full 4 division fighting force and proceeded to plan the offensive and take Vimy, a prime objective in the Arras battle since it provided a clear view and control of the area surrounding the Ridge and the Douay plain which stretched out behind the German lines. Canada did it mostly in one morning suffering 13 thousand casualties in total over 4 days while the previous multi attempts under Haig's old charge and charge again tacticts had cost the Allies 90,000 men. So what if there is a little myth involved,. The Charge of the Light Brigade was not a victory yet it was made into a myth. At least Canadians took their objective at Vimy and did not die needlessly that day as cannon fodder as the British calvalry had in the Crimea.
  11. Sheldon Maerz from fromadustyplace, Canada writes: As per normal, the usual losers come out of the woodwork- those bent on their social revisionist history so they can sell books, those who claim our soldiers died only to satisfy the needs of England, and those who claim by remembering our past we are glorifying war - all are equally dense and bring no credible voice to any discussion on Vimy, or Canada's contribution during the Great War. Although Vimy was not Canada's greatest victory of the First World War (now you will have to do some research, won't you), it was and remains incredibly important. Modern day know-it-alls can make all the claims they want - read the first hand accounts that still exist of those who where there - they tell you from the lowest Private to a BGen, what the victory meant to the men in the field, and more importantly to our Allies. For those who need American validation, like the losers you are, check the prominent American papers of the day - that will shut you up. You can think want you want today, but if you don't know your history, and don't know the context of the time, your are playing at folly. By the way, Vimy was a huge victory where other nations forces had failed - the only reason no breakout occurred was that the higher command, Gen Haig - Comd of the BEF prepared for none, as he did not think the Canadains could take the Ridge. Finally, the monument at Vimy is not about the Glory of War at all - if you had ever stood on the Hallowed Ground that is Vimy you would know it is about the sacrifice of a young nation and about loss of individual soldiers (hence their families).
  12. Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes: James Clost from chaozhou, guangdong, China:

    First, my ancestral homeland is a combination of Italy (50%), Ireland (25%), and Scotland (25%). Don't take swipes at people because of their names. Besides, all Canadians, except Aboriginals, come from other places.

    Second, I think we should all remember Vimy with sorrow, but not with pride. Like I said, it was not a war in which Canada had any say or willing participation. Insofar as any Canadians fought willingly and with great pride, it was the Anglo-Saxon Protestant Canadians, who love 'Mother England', but who have never been a majority in this country to begin with.

    It was a war controlled by others. Canada was led into it on a leash. Many Canadians would agree with me on that count.
  13. mike wood from Dryden, Canada writes: James Clost from chaozhou, guangdong,

    Dear Mr. Clost,

    Prime Minister Harper and his government have disallowed all but one opposition MP to attend the Vimy Ridge ceremonies in an official capacity. While nothing prevents any individual from travelling to Vimy Ridge, participation in the official ceremonies has been limited to members of the conservative party 1 member of the official opposition.

    In my eyes, this decision is tantamount to excluding Canadians from attending Remeberance Day ceremonies soley on the basis of political affiliation.

    In a world where perception is reality, what reality would Mr. Harper have Canadian's believe and embrace? Are we to believe that one must be a member of the Conservative Party to show respect, empathy and appreciation?

    I for one hope that our national identity isn't shaped by the political skullduggery which seems to be perfected by other nations.

    Canada has a National identity of tolerance, compassion and inclusiveness. I'm loathe to see it being traded away for the sake of a photo op.

    What is the point of nation without identity?

    We have been there. Let's not go back.

    Mike
  14. Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes: Also, I find it distinctly fascinating how most people who glorify Canada's participation in liberating the French during WWI and WWII tend to be conservative types who love to look down their noses at the French. I wonder why that is.

    Are we to be proud because we assisted the English to liberate their French allies? All the while, the Limeys and the Frenchies were colonizing other peoples in other parts of the world.

    As far as WWI is concerned, the laugh is on us, for having had 70,000 die in a war that had nothing to do with higher ideals, but only with the machinations of empires that had nothing to do with us.
  15. Vern McPherson from Toronto, Canada writes: Moreover, the memorial WAS erected at Vimy, not at Passchendale or Ypres. It could have been erected in Ottawa for that matter. But Vimy represented the greatest and victory and most rapidly executed success over the Germans up to that time and heralded new methods of co-ordinated attacks rather than over the top charge after charge that had failed and cost the British under Haig 60,000 men on the first day of the battle of the Somme for example - ad a total of 800.000 casualties in the entire battle over several months. Currie would not agree to wholesale slaughter on this level. At future offensives Currie rejected Haig's demand that the Canadians simply charge Passchendale and insisted on a co-ordinated attack in order to take that objective. In fact he predicted with astounding accuracy the number of casualties ( 16,000) the Canadian Corps would take - before the battle ! Haig had no choice but to follow his recomendations because he faced disgrace and being fired for lack of success and enormous losses in his recent offensives. So what if thre is a little myth attached to the Vimy story ? What is history without a little myth ? Cold hard facts and nothing else ? I suppose Valpy is entitled to make his own interpretation of it all but I just don't see the point. Are we to conclude the Victoria Crosses won by Canadians at Vimy were undeserved ? Or the sacrifices they made were myth ? Or the planning was entirely British when they had failed miserably up to then and cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of their soldiers needlessly in blind charges over the top ? Does anyone really think a few Spartans held off all those others on a bridge ? Or that America won both world wars all by their lonesome ?
  16. Sheldon Maerz from fromadustyplace, Canada writes: And beyond my previous comments, the reason why Vimy remains pivotal to the Canadian collective memory is the unquestionable fact that it was the anvil upon which the sword of the Canadian Corps was forged. The Corps had achieved a great succes, taking the most heavily defended part of the Western Front from the Germans where previous attacks had faultered and failed. After Vimy, the Canadian troops in the field regarded themselves as something special, and as any fool knows, once a body of soldier honestly believe they are the best, they usually become the best (hence the proliferation of all the Special Forces in almost all military forces world wide). As the Canadians were a National Corps, the believe that they were the best became rooted in their national identity. After Vimy, the Canadians succeed at Lens and Hill 70, at Passchendale, and during the 100 Days, and were truly the 'Spearhead to Victory'. Those Victories had their foundation in the success at Vimy. Wake up, and get to know your past - then maybe you will know who we are today.
  17. M McIsaac from London via Stoney Creek, United Kingdom writes: People, this article is not attacking the boys who sacrificed their lives at Vimy or anywhere else during that bloody conflict. Britain did not force Canadians to join arms in 1914. Boys did everything they could to get over there. That is why this battle is so important to Canadians. Towns and villages had lost a generation of young men, many returned shellshocked and injured. Vimy is a beautiful monument that doesn't conjor images of glory, it creates a very sombre and reflective environment. Anybody whoever has or wanted to study hisory needs to understand the importance and power of myths. I studied under Prof Hayes at Waterloo, I believe we looked at Mythology from the Spanish American War. But we also looked at War of 1812 Mythology, Paul Revere and even our beloved Laura Secord is shrouded in Myth. Do people who read History books really want facts left out? I want to know the spin on historical events and figures. It doesn't mean I don't want some romantacism in reading about the history of great nations. I just want the spot light shone in the corners. In England, most definitely East London, there is a real mythology about the blitz spirit of Londoners. Sure a lot of people carried on with life as normal and chipped in to do what they could, but many looted from their neighbours homes and shops, stirred up racial bigotry. This myth that Londoners all pitched to do their bit is rubbish, people would steal their neighbours ration booklet whenever a handbag was left unattended. But people glow when they talk about the Blitz. It helped them get over a traumatic experience. The article is saying that Vimy had a few details left out in order to help a grieving nation of mothers who would never see their little boys (some younger than 16) ever again. The mythology was useful but we are 90 years removed from that war. Mentioning that some British people had a hand in its success is not going to render the mood or importance of the event.
  18. Sheldon Maerz from fromadustyplace, Canada writes: Wow, you really try to get under the skin, don't you - 'old man', etc. Well Mr. Johnny come lately, Canada is much more than what you believe it to be, but then I am willing to bet you have never been East of Superior, have you, or how about evne out of Southern, On. The truth is most Canadian do give a damn, and it is mainly those here for economic gain that don't give to hoots - that is fine, but in time, as the generations pass, even their children will come to understand and to care. Go abroad, and some place other than Italy, and you will learn what the rest of the World thinks about Canadians - that perception is not due to your ramblings on us being a 'post-modern, post-industrial and multiculutural country. Instead it has everything to do with the fact that on two noted occassion in the last century and on many lesser ones, our sons have gone forward voluntarily (by the huge majority) to liberate other peoples. The world remembers that and I have experienced the gratitude first hand in Holland, France and Belgium. Perhaps when you wake up to a true Canadian indentity, you will appreciate this more and then realize the stupidity of your own drivel.
  19. Sheldon Maerz from Canada writes: Good night, Enzo - your drivel is not worth any more of my time. I will sleep well knowing you have been sorted.
  20. James Clost from chaozhou, guangdong, China writes: ' Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes: Also, I find it distinctly fascinating how most people who glorify Canada's participation in liberating the French during WWI and WWII tend to be conservative types who love to look down their noses at the French. I wonder why that is.'

    enzo, how did you reach the conclusion that conservative types look down on the french?

    as for the rest, people arent 'glorifying' war, what i think most people want to ensure in remembering this event, is to make certain that we never forget what our ancestors achieved under the most difficult circumstances that humans can be put into - war. and what they achieved is something to be proud of. i suppose for some people who've never spent a day in the military and who have no idea how difficult a soldiers work can really be, it may be difficult to see. if you dont feel any pride in anything our military has achieved in the past, then thats up to you. i dont see that you'll have a lot of company though.

    and enzo, as for the 'swipe' i took at your ancestry, it was well deserved in my opinion. reread your comment that led to it.
  21. Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes: ames Clost from chaozhou, guangdong, China: Indeed, you may be correct that my lack of pride in Canada's military history (or in Canada's current effete military) leaves me in scarce company. But that's okay. I don't run with the herd.
  22. Michael Sharp from Tuliporia, Canada writes:

    My grandfather fought the Second and Third Battles of Ypres, Paaschendale, and Vimy.

    What these men did and died for is something we should always be grateful for.

    We've lost 40 some-odd soldiers in Afghanistan (no disrespect) in three years and the current MSM-fed populace thinks we're part of a malevolent plot to take over the world?

    Perspective.

    It's a shame it had to occur in the bloodiest war of human history, but Canada did what no other nation could do before it.

    It's our heritage, it's who we are.
  23. diane marie from calgary, Canada writes: Enzo:-- Whenever anyone questions war or militarism, these 'gentlemen' go on the attack. They use the language of anger and hate to refer to one's ancestors, and to question one's knowledge, understanding, and patriotism. I know, because I've been the target on occasion by several of these posters. A person who is not one-dimensional in his or her thinking can honour and regret the war dead yet deplore war and its institutionalization.
  24. Barry Johnson from Victoria-Canada not the US, United States writes: Great Article, the Globe and Mail got a bit more credible for allowing this to be published.
  25. Action Jackson from Kitchener, Canada writes: Enzo: we're not 'postmodern' -- that's a nonsense word. The news that we're 'postindustrial' will come as a shock to Ontario's auto workers. And if we're 'multicultural', it's in the sense that we allow for the expression of other cultural identities in conjunction with a central and robust Canadian culture, and not in any sense that requires Canadian culture to be hollowed out 'til it becomes just a blank space in which other cultures can be expressed. You talk about culture as if it were some ahistorical artifice that could be scripted by a committee ('social and cultural engineering'). Culture is far more complicated and grows unforeseen and unplanned from the accidents of history. It includes Vimy and the latest pop music and everything in between. I don't care what the 'new generation' thinks. They're still ignorant -- that's why they're still in school. (No disrespect: I was ignorant, too, when I was young.) Besides, a lot of them don't know much about WWII. So what? WWI wasn't as obviously a just war -- the Kaiser wasn't as bad as the Nazis. Still, it was good for Canadians to fight against Germany in WWI, for even in view of the many flaws of France, the UK and the US, those liberal democracies were better than their rivals, and we reap the rewards of their victory to this day. I don't care if Vimy Ridge turns out not to have had an impact on the direction of the War. The guys who died there didn't have to do so. They had choices. They chose to put their lives on the line for ideals that have helped to define our nation then and now. If you told me that 99.9999% of the younger generation doesn't care, I would still wear a poppy in early November and feel proud about this part of our history.
  26. Jim **** from Canada writes: I think the article pointed to some confusion about why Canadian troops fought at Vimy and elsewhere. My two Canadian Expeditionary Force uncles, despite having migrated from England five years earlier, were already patriotic Canadians. But the Canada they were patriotic to was also thoroughly part of the British Empire. So they weren't patriotic to Canada the way we might think of it today.

    Nor can I discern that they were fighting for ideals that we put at the top of our list today. When I read their letters I don't read about their loyalty directly to democracy, or human rights, or the independent Canadian nation. Rather I sense a loyalty and sense of duty to the British Empire, which they might have viewed as a great civilising force in the world, regardless of its deficiencies.
  27. Jim **** from Canada writes: Having visited many of the Canadian cemeteries at Vimy and near Ypres, I'm concerned that many of the memorials and much of the interpretive material seemed to have come from a particular mindset, one that glorifies the military successes and positive aspects of the conflict. The stunning Vimy Memorial itself is an exception.

    When my generation dies, there will be no one left who remembers the people who fought in WWI, and it will be time to give those memorials and cemeteries back to the people of Belgium and France. In perpetuity.

    I'm glad Michael Valpy has challenged the conventional view. I'm glad I live in a country where we don't cling to our illusions.
  28. James Young from Brantford, Canada writes: The only real tragedy is that the Generals and Senior Officers were not court martialled and possibly shot for creating such slaughter of their own.

    Most of the operations of WW1 epitomize ignorance, stupidity and incompetence of the military leaders, and not much has changed since.

    Durgan.
  29. Mariposa Belle from Leacockland, Canada writes: From the Pictorial History of the Great War, published in 1919. From that hour to the end of the war Canada always had a place in the line. To her credit stands one brilliant victory after another and many a stout defense. Langemarck and St. Julien are names on the Canadian honor roll. It was there that the sons of the Maple Leaf saved the day when the enemy, in April 1915, broke thru the line of the French colonial troops by the use of gas. Canada closed the gap, and, at terrific price held the enemy at bay for over 72 hours until re-enforcements could arrive. In the battle of the Somme the names of Courcelette and the Regina redoubt are remembered among the names of places that are forever identified with Canadian courage. The taking of Vimy Ridge will be one of the great and often told stories in the history of the Dominion. It was the Canadians, who, after other troops had tried for weeks to capture Passchendaele, northeast of Ypres, did the job and came back from victory a mere tattered and wounded remnant. Canada, by voluntary enlistment and conscription, raised an army of about 500,000 men. Her population is barely more than 8,000,000. An army of like proportion in the United States would number over 10,000,000. Interesting to see that the British writer of this piece was aware of the iconic status that Vimy was starting to take on as early as 1919.
  30. Tom Langford from Montreal, Canada writes: Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes:How proud are we supposed to be of that?

    We should be very very proud! Lets put it in modern day perspective and maybe you'll get it!

    If the majority of the able bodied Afghanisani men were as willing as our Canadian ww1 and ww2 vets to stand up and fight for their country just maybe THAT war would be over by now.

    Do I also have to mention the quality of life you now enjoy BECAUSE our vets were willing to fight for this country?

    God some of these posts make my Canadian blood boil!!!

    This article makes my Canadian blood boil. I wonder if MICHAEL VALPY would have the guts to go fight a war or would he think his part would be too trivial to make a difference!!!!

  31. Bob MacMillan from Hamilton, Canada writes: Vern McPherson, I thought your comments at 2:16 about the casualties were the most insightful ones posted last night. Both of my grandfathers were at the battle for Vimy. My mother's dad was a recent British immigrant who enlisted in Saskatchewan. My father's dad enlisted at Lindsay Ont. at the age of 15. He was 16 years old at Vimy. He grew up in a remote town in northern Ont. and was used to a rough outdoors lifestyle. His family had already been in Canada for about 5 generations. Both grandfathers survived the war. I never spoke with my maternal grandfather, but I had several conversations with the other. Two major themes came through. One was the appalling loss of life (and the indifference on the part of the British high command). The other theme was pride in Canada's role. The British were reluctant to give the 'Colonials' much independence. However, partially due to the Vimy success, Canadian farm boys built a reputation of being very capable and tough fighters. According to my grandfather, it got to the point where efforts were made to hide Canadian troops coming into the line. The Germans considered them as superior assault troops and an indicator that a 'Push' was coming in their area. Unfortunately, there were many questions I never got to ask my grandfather. I didn't get a proper understanding of what he went through until after he died. I was very grateful to Pierre Berton for his book on Vimy. He put in enough details that I could figure out where both grandfathers were on the day. War is a gruesome business and it's hard to the emotions right - Don't to be too proud or glorify it, and never forget the cost.
  32. D C from Canada writes: Nice piece of research from Messieur Valpy of course, and factually inarguable. Dry history often obscures deeper meanings, symbols which when taken at the flood in opportune times lead on to greater cohesion and purpose. This nation has faced the midnight hour on the doomsday clock several times, from within, with referenda being the instrument marking a division of myths. Today, given the Vimy moment in history we must understand that we have become essentially dysfunctional and we must understand Quebeckers no longer care about referenda, because like a women leaving the marriage bed, in their minds they are 'already gone'. It is an interesting analogy for me to compare the Quebecer with the feminine entity in society, as so much of the relationship can be so construed and defined. The male 'law-giver' in this rather Freudian scenario is the rest of Canada. Who really splits the marriage generally?
    More worrisome than anything else is a remarkable writing by David Warren in the Citizen today, 'We Are Men of Straw' because he touches upon the essential narcissism in our land... which when examined by even looking at all these writings above mine can be clearly seen, and it really is all about youse ! Warren says about the returned sailors --------- 'Worse, to my mind, was the cheerful reception they received on returning home, and the statements they gave to the media once they were in freedom. There was no condemnation of the Iranians for having held them illegally. Just expressions of happiness to be home, phrased in the contemporary way, so that every sentence can be parsed to reveal some underlying narcissism. It was as if the whole incident was 'all about them.'

    and that my friends is something you should fix on as to the ikon or date from which and when the end of our way of life can be mythically measured.

    but I grow weary and feel as if I cast pearls before......
  33. Lisa Jones of the Anglo-Celtic nation within a nation from !,, Canada writes: Furthermore, let's not forget that a huge number of the volunteers fighting in Canadian units were volunteers from the USA. I don't know why Canada's media constantly omits that important detail.
  34. billy bob from Timmins, Canada writes: Let's talk myths shall we how about the liberal myth or how about lie that Canada was a multicultural county when Trudeau came to power because it was'nt .A quick look at a high school yearbook from that time will quickly expose that lie. How about the lie that recent immigrants are contibuting to canada when it is estimated that 18 billion has been spent on them than they have contributed in taxes.How about the lie that Canada was always a peacekeeping country when Canadians have a long and distinguished history of fighting for freedom.Lots of myths/lies from the left but why aren't they questioned?The list of myths from the left is endless.
  35. Paul Jay from Canada writes: This Valpy article is another example of someone thinking about something, and we can't have that in today's day and age. If we applied the thought process to war issues, the west would never have invaded Iraq, and then where would we be? Good on you commentaters who don't like thinking about things.
  36. Jason Roy from Nova Scotia, Canada writes: Vern McPherson - very well researched!!
  37. William Hunt from St. John's, Canada writes: I find the whole notion that Canada became a nation at Vimy Ridge a bit simplistic. I don't for a minute question the incredible courage it took for those young men to climb out their trenches that morning. I do question the idea that it took that sacrifice to make Canada a nation. I think we'd now be much better off if the politicians of the day had managed to avoid a stupid war, and if those young men had lived, had careers and families, and made positive contributions to the growth of the nation.
  38. Jack MacLeod from Moncton NB, Canada writes: Reviewing a lot of Canadian Media reporting and comments on the Battle of Vimy Ridge I am astonished that the late Pierre Berton's masterpiece
    'Vimy' is never mentioned nor considered for what it really is, the best and most informative real reporting of the famous Battle. When I was a teenager in Halifax NS in the 1940's I remember that just up the street from us was a well known member of our Irish Roman Catholic Parish who fought on Vimy Ridge.
    I remember my father saying, (himself a Veteran of World War I) 'won
    a Medal next to 'the VC' -the Distinguised Conduct Medal (DCM) now gone like all the other famed Commonwealth Medals thanks to Pearson and his Defence Minister Helyer. There is nothing whatever 'mythical'
    about Vimy - it was a typical massed infantry battle in a war fought by the use of masses of troops most of whom were killed or wounded on
    both sides. The British and Canadian Armies succeeded at Vimy because of the steadfast quality of their troops, and the fact that the German and Austrian soldiers were decimated - God bless them all.
  39. L.B. Murray from Canada writes: LISA JONES and others of the same racist and hateful group, let me REMIND YOU that this weekend, I am thinking of my American grandfather who volunteered in 1914 to go fight in Europe with the Canadians, since US was not yet at war. I am thinking of my grand-father and my great-uncles on my mother's French-canadian side who fought at Vimy ... I am also thinking about all my family members on both sides of the border US-Canada border, some French-speaking, some English-speaking, who fought in wars from WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, and the latest, a cousin in Gulf War 1 . LISA JONES and others of the same racist and hateful group, you do not deserve to live in peace-loving Canada. God help our BRAVE TROOPS in Afghanistan and bring them home safe and sound. Thank you.
  40. D B from Canada writes: Once again, Canadian accomplishment is minimized, in an attempt to erase all forms of national identity. Michael Valpy, your pencil-neck revisionist history makes me sick. How dare you question the significance of the sacrifice made by over 10,000 Canadians at Vimy, and before you thumb your nose at it, ask yourself this question: Could I have done what so many did, in such a selfless manner?

    Every time Canadians try to believe they've contributed something worthwhile to the history of the world, there is always some (Canadian) intellectual racing to find a way to discredit it.

    This Monday, I will take the time to remember what other Canadians have done so that I can live in one of the best countries in the world. Michael Valpy, on the other hand, will be working on his next article: 'Hey Kids, The Easter Bunny Isn't Real, You know?'
  41. L.B. Murray from Canada writes: Lisa Jones, following your comments yesterday, let me remind you that QUEBEC's French-speaking Royal 22e Regiment are going to Afghanistan during mid-Summer and since the Vimy memorial conversation closed just before I could answer attacks on the 22e and French-canadian troops in general, I hope the Globe and Mail will allow me to post this answer to the racist comments re troops from Quebec. LISA JONES, you do remember SAM HUGHES who refused to accept French-canadians in ''his'' military... Shame on you, LISA JONES, for posting such hateful garbage non-stop, especially about the Royal 22e Regiment. The 22e is sending at least 2000 troops to the worst part of Afghanistan around August 1st, when it is expected the Afghan war will take a turn for the worst with Taliban pouring in from the Pakistan border. May God protect our BRAVE TROOPS in Afghanistan and bring them home safe and sound. Thank you.
  42. Rob C from Toranna, Canada writes: Vern McPherson from Toronto ... Well stated!

    This article does this event a great disservice with it's one sided view.

    The revolution in strategies and military tactics that the commanding officers and men back then executed; are still to this day practiced in modern warfare. How come that wasn't even mentioned and given its proper share in the article?

    It was also one of the first times, documented proof, of how the truly 'Canadian' identity was born. Look at the graffiti in those tunnels and the patches that those men wore proudly- it had the Maple Leaf- The future symbol later to grace the modern Canadian flag.

    Yes- it may be 90 years later- but the forging of a nation, with one hell of a backbone and guts to match was shown back then.

    So when I see people belittling it and missing the entire historical context- it shows the ignorance and downright 'revisionist' stupidity that the author seems to revel in labeling others with- yet is guilty of himself and is shown throughout his entire article.

    Now isn't that bloody ironic?
  43. Dave T from midwest, Canada writes: Readers who are interested in the Great War from a literary point of view are reminded of Paul Fussell's classic work The Great War and Modern Memory. His discussion on how the concept of irony, for example, was imprinted on the modern pysche as a consequence of the war is cited even today. With respect to Valpy's discussion of mythology, it is likely that mythology has greater resonance than a mere chronicle of events, but mythology has also its own trappings not the least of which is that it contains elements that are fictionalized. I think the soldiers deserve to be honoured for their sacrifice on Monday, but I also think the WWI was among the most pointless wars ever fought.
  44. Lisa Jones of the Anglo-Celtic nation within a nation from !,, Canada writes: To: LB Murray: Is that your real name: MURRAY - Name Meaning & Origin Last Name Meaning & Related Resources for the Surname MURRAY Definition: 1- A name given to a man from the region in Scotland, called Moray, which means 'by the sea.' 2- Possibly a modern form of the ancient Irish name 'O'Muireadhaigh.' Surname Origin: English, Scottish, Irish Alternate Surname Spellings: MURREY Now, I too have relatives from Quebec who would swear on the bible that they are French, and the truth is, that there's barely an ounce of French blood in them. Sure, somewhere way back in history, one of the men married a woman who was of mixed French/Anglo-celtic ancestry, who then stomped up and down and swore the entire anglo-celtic line was purlaine French because SHE has some French blood. This happens all the time in Quebec, where there are truly not that many French people, especially purlaines. Your ancesters likely fought because of the lineage to the United Kingdom or Ireland....Now, are you going to force me to post here again yet another posting about how the French Canadians of Quebec refused to fight in WW1, or are you going to believe the quotes and statistics I posted yesterday? As I said before, as someone who has so many ancesters who fought in those wars, as far as I know, most French Canadians who fought in the war were very ashamed of the way Quebec behaved (that being French Quebec) and they had no issues with the fact that French was not on the Vimy memorial. It didn't really deserve to be there. Furthermore, the origins of the Vandoos of Quebec, being the RCR had a huge number of anglo-celtic soldiers in WW1, as well as those of mixed French/anglo-celtic ancestry. It is only now that it has become exclusively French. And I sure hope then end up doing more than guarding the airport in Afghanistan, as they are now doing. But if Dion of the Quebecois nation had his way, they would not fight.
  45. Jack MacLeod from Moncton NB, Canada writes: Just up the way from the Grave of Major Audie L Murphy Medal of Honor US Army World War II in the US Arlington National Cemetary Virginia
    stands the Canadian Sword of Sacrifice Memorial erected on the order
    of Prime Minister MacKenzie King, Canada, to honor the thousands of
    United States Citizens who volunteered to serve in the Canadian Military in World War I and II -many lost their lives serving with Canadians in the Wars. Journalist Stevie Cameron's late Father a famed RCAF Pilot in World War II, an American Citizen and Veteran of the Spanish Civil War is one of those brave men commemorated there. The author of the famous poem
    'High Flight' was an American serving in the RCAF in World War II where he lost his life. MacLeod
  46. Michael Shannon from Iraq writes: It's amazing how the Germans are never considered in discussing Vimy. The Germans, prior to Vimy, had decided that most troops (up to 90%) should be kept out of the front lines ( to avoid massive artilery barages) and hidden in deep bunkers to emerge and counter-attack from the flanks and rear. The German commander at Vimy failed to employ this new tactic and the Canadian Corps was able to succeed in an attack with limited objectives. Later in 1917 at Ypres the German commanders would follow their docrine of defence in depth and seriously bloody the BEF. It was only after the incorporation of tanks, ground attack aircraft and wireless communications in 1918 that the British could overcome defence in depth.
  47. Another Opinion from Toronto, Canada writes: The author seems to be going to a lot of trouble to paint this 'issue' as some sort of secret conspiracy. The Canadian 'myth' that Vimy was important either to us or anyone else can, in the author's opinion apparently, be refuted by the fact that the Canadians were commanded by gasp* British troops and supported by *SHOCKING! British artillery.

    In the end, Vimy means something to Canadians because we chose to make it mean something to us. Every nation has, somewhere in their history, made heroes and martyrs out of people who may not have deserved it. Ultimately, there are very few heroic tales that can stand up under the cold light of hindsight.

    All that really remains is to pause briefly to wonder why, when so many Canadians have chosen to stop and honour these men, the author would choose to spend so much zeal pointing out one or two minor historical inconsistencies.

    I, for one, like having heroes.
  48. David Bareich from Windsor, Canada writes: While an interesting article and educational, I am saddened that the author has shown himself to be a true Canadian. Why is it that we can't praise ourselves in a modest way, allow ourselves the pride to create heros or create as the author suggests - myths based on reality. It's OK for other countries, but somehow Canadians just can't allow themselves to do it. Why should we feel less impressed or proud of the sacrifices made a Vimy by Canadians who where assisted and even commanded by others? Do not forget that WWI was not won by a single country, but rather by many working together. It is not insignificant that Canadian men, perhaps born in England, lost their lives while thinking of Canada - documentaries show that they carved their names, home towns, and a Canadian maple leaf - the same leaf as was on their insignia (because Canada lacked a flag at the time) into the cave walls below Vimy. They were Canadian at heart. Thank you for pointing out that even Vimy was a colaborative effort, but Canadians took the hill where others had not. Give them their due and let us live on with the myth that what we did there was great. I will teach my two children, and will likely take them to Vimy when they are old enough to understand, that Canadians fought for their freedom, that the efforts and sacrifices of those Canadians continue to be held in the hearts by Europeans and that respect is still shown at sites like Vimy. Even if it wasn't our biggest victory, it was significant at the time. Allow us to be proud of our heritage in a manner that every other country does. Come on Canada, it OK to pat yourselves on the back once in a while. Be proud, have heros, I don't consider it a myth, I respect what we lost on the ridge.
  49. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Nice try Mr Valpy. Vimy is a poignant moment in Canadian history. Countries are born of fire and steel. Those who live in flower land and wish the world was driven through bee pollen and dancing nymphs are always disappointed. History is a collection of opinions and people's recollections of events. The combination of all these opinions become the history of the time. This is yet another opinion on an event that has been cemented into the Canadian psyche as a positive and dramatic event in out Country's history. Be proud of those men at Vimy that went over the trench line for freedom - lest we forget.
  50. Lisa Jones of the Anglo-Celtic nation within a nation from !,, Canada writes: Murray, how dare you come on here with your totally revisionist take on WW1. At NO TIME WERE FRENCH CANADIANS REFUSED PARTICIPATION IN WW1, BE THEY FROM QUEBEC OR OTHERWISE. Now, you have forced me to put this quote on this blog, something I did not want to do: Here is a direct quote from the times:'...........:..........By 1917 - after almost three years of fighting - the numbers of dead and wounded mounted overseas. In addition, voluntary enlistment by Canadians dropped drastically as jobs became plentiful at home. On May 18, 1917, Prime Minister Borden retreated from his earlier promise and introduced a conscription bill, the Military Services Act. While some English Canadians opposed conscription, nowhere was the outcry greater than in French Canada. The archbishop of Montreal, Monseigneur Bruchési sent a warning to Prime Minister Borden. 'Dear Sir Robert, Do you not think, in light of our population, that we have largely done our share? The people are agitated. ... In the province of Quebec; we can expect deplorable revolts. Will this not end in bloodshed?' Wilfrid Laurier, now Leader of the Opposition, was also convinced that conscription would tear the country apart. 'Is it not true that the main reason advocated for conscription - not so much publicly as privately, not shouted but whispered - is that Quebec must be made to do her part, and French-Canadians forced to enlist compulsorily since they did not enlist voluntarily?' .....Less than 5 percent of Quebec's males of military age were enrolled in infantry battalions, compared to 14-15 percent in Western Canada and Ontario. Moreover, half of Quebec's recruits were English Canadian and nearly half of French-Canadian volunteers came from provinces other than QuĂ©bec. The result was an angry national debate concerning French Canada's, and especially QuĂ©bec's, manpower contribution.
  51. Vern McPherson from Toronto, Canada writes: ' Lisa Jones of the Anglo-Celtic nation within a nation from Canada writes: Enzo, like it or not, Canada is a commonwealth country which recognizes the Queen as head of state. If you can't stomach that, then you SHOULD return to your ancestral homeland. England was not a foreign power at the time of WW1, .................... ' ------------------------------------------------- Where did you get this information ? 'England was not a foreign power at the time of WW1' ? Nothing could be further from the truth. Britain was near the height of it's colonial power with control over India, African colonies, colonies around the world and was THE sea power on the planet above all else. The truth is their massive Navy was the tool they used to keep world order and to maintain their colonies in subjugation by protecting the trade ships who robbed resources and built fabulous fortunes for British upper classes. Read up on the Battle of Jutland for a little background on the British Navy at that time. It could be argued in hindsite Britain's world influence was on the wane at that time and the forest was quite clear despite the trees on that subject but it wasn't until post WW2 that Britain's colonial reach had seriously declined and the world colonial power they had been for centuries previously was finished. Lisa if you insist on making up stuff, misinterpreting facts ( that's my gentle euphemism for lying), and creating history where it doesn't exist to fit your view of things I can only conclude you have some type of inferiority complex or perhaps a persecution complex relative to your pronouncements on 'anglo-celts'. The poor ignorami among us here (I include all the new uneducated little COns, poorly educated little COns for a little knowledge is dangerous and some older more sneaky ones), run a serious risk of believing the nearest big lie already if it is told often enough. So be careful with your bullsh.. out there eh.
  52. Dik Coates from Canada writes: 3500 deaths... for what? brought up now for the Afghanistan adventure... just government smoke and mirrors...
  53. Cup of Tea from National, Canada writes:
    Finally, an article that tells it like it is.

    If we were to listen to the politicians and their spin doctors we would continue to believe this was a war about freedom.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    It was a battle of petty political politics between elites and royals that manifested itself in the horrors of trench warfare. It was a disgrace and was known as the War to End all Wars.

    Get ready to hear Harper and his entourage try and tell you it was about freedom this coming Monday. And he will try and link Vimy to Afghanistan and the War on Terror.

    This alone is enough to have the man removed as a national disgrace.

    Thank you G&M for cutting through the hubris put out there by Harper and departmental spinners.
  54. Cup of Tea from National, Canada writes:
    Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: ... went over the trench line for freedom - lest we forget.

    Keep smoking that stuff Brad, WWI had nothing to do with freedom.

    May they rest in peace.
  55. Michel Préfontaine from montreal, Canada writes: Thank you Micheal Valpy.
    My granduncle died at Arras, his brothers (my grand father included) voluteered and did their duty as did my father and his brothers in WW2. Third page recognition in Amercan and British newspaper never impressed my family very much however, and this sacrifice never made much sense from a 'nation building' perspective either. These lives, energy and resources would have been better spent elsewhere. Omar Bradley said that a soldier's job is to make war when politicians fail to make peace. When I see a war monument, I mostly see it as a monument to poltical failures.
  56. Matt Cross from Niagara, Canada writes: Can we take up a collection and send Enzo Campini to Vimy?

    Maybe then he'll understand the sacrifices made by those he denigrates, the same ones that have allowed him the freedom to express his ignorance of history for all to pity.
  57. L.B. Murray from Canada writes: Lisa Jones, Yes, L B Murray is my name, same name on my Canadian passport and same name on my social insurance card.

    Lisa, is that your real name? You sound very much like a very disturbed and hateful MAN. Shame on you for posting such hateful messages especially on this weekend when we should be thanking God for living in a peaceful country, Canada.

    Time for the once respectable Globe and Mail to return to fully moderated conversations. Thank you.
  58. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: ok Cup of Tea....living as a German wouldnt give me a lot of freedom. They fought for our freedom and our way of life. That's the way it is.

    Michel, war is the way humans resolve their differences. One group always want to push it too far (usually the bad guys).

    But I guess these posts are anonymous places to fight against the reality of the world. Show me how it's different.
  59. Bob Beal from Edmonton, Canada writes: Lisa Jones: The conscription debate is over and done with. And, Canadian Minister of Militia, the at-least-slightly-unhinged Sam Hughes, was very much anti-French. When Hughes was finally forced to resign in November, 1916, a Montreal newspaper commented: 'Hughes has managed to antagonize everyone in Quebec. Those French Canadians who have volunteered for the English war have been insulted. The recruitment posters, training and instruction manuals are in English only. More importantly, promotions have only been given to the English-speaking officers. How can Hughes and other Canadians expect French Canadians to join in the war effort when they are treated so poorly?'
  60. James Young from Brantford, Canada writes: Lisa Jones of the Anglo-Celtic nation within a nation from !,, Canada writes: James Young, read my submission to Enzo. Are you too descended from cowards?

    Lisa I did my time in the line. But I suspect I have descended form people who can think and reason, and can recognize BS when it appears. Jingoism has been the cause of a lot of unnecessary deaths in the past and also the present.

    WWI was a totally unnecessary war and the civilized world's growth was inhibited considerably by the deaths of a whole generation. Most of the poor dumb dead had no idea why they were fighting except their masters ordered such. Most were like lambs taken to the slaughter. Maybe someday we as people will rise above the stupidity of killing our own for obscure reasons.

    Durgan.
  61. D C from Canada writes: jingoism is never healthy. Forged in battle Canada stood strong, on the myth or the reality, no matter. We belonged .... to a nation that had a leader who opined ....'if it last for a thousand years, men will say this was their finest hour...' Their finest hour.... was Vimy our finest hour? Passendale perhaps where my Grandfather took some shrapnel, on top of the gassing he'd already suffered and living for 86 years never lived truly normal with the breathing and all?
    But jingoism has a flip side - embarassed tolerance, and moral relativitism...wherein we placidly go about unmindful of the forces yet arrayed against our way of life, our sisters and brothers and our churches and indeed our Parliamentary Democracy, and we blindly allow it into the land, spreading , seeping like a plague under the doors of our land , appeasement.
    Are we yet worthy of the sacrifices of Vimy ? or indeed the Scheldt Estuary which my regiment cleared and upon whose colors the battle is listed... the RHC 'Blackwatch' ! nemo me impune lacessit
    have our purile policies and politicians put 'paid' to the myth finally and at last? Has our spine been dissolved in the stew of benign neglect ? Yes. Our current government is our last best hope.
    Pray for us.
  62. Bob Beal from Edmonton, Canada writes: Unlike other posters, I do not see that this article denigrates the efforts and sacrifices of the Canadians at Vimy. It puts the battle in the larger context of the war and in the context of the 'Vimy myth' that developed after the war. It is not revisionist, and says nothing that historians have not been saying for a long time. Vimy was just one of a number of WWI battles in which Canadians distinguished themselves. But that particular battle was emphasized and mythologized in a way that contributed significantly to a developing Canadian identity. The war-to-end-all-wars itself was mythologized in various ways. One of my great-uncles, who was badly wounded near Vimy in 1918, wrote a book about the home front during WWI. He concluded: 'The issues of 1914-18 are the paramount issues of today and will be the paramount issues of the future as long as hate, greed, discrimination, inequality, frightfulness and injustice exist.' I don't agree that WWI was fought distinctly for those reasons, but I rather like the sentiment.
  63. Marc Lucas from Ottawa, Canada writes: Here is proof that the Globe and Mail still doesn’t mind publishing pointless, self-deprecating stories about our country. Michel Valpy did his best to belittle the Canadian victory at Vimy - even pointing out that some of the soldiers were only recent immigrants! How petty is that? I was expecting him to mention that the rifles the Canadian soldiers used were not even made in Canada.
    He neglected to point out numerous facts about the battle that should still make Canadians proud &8211; including Canadian-developed strategies that were rejected by the French and British before this battle. Before the Canadians took Vimy Ridge the British and French suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties trying to do what the Canadians did in 4 days.
    Is there nothing that Canadians can be proud of without being subjected to miserable self-deprecating journalism?
    War is horrible, but I don&8217;t think Canadians were hoodwinked into feeling national pride about the victory at Vimy.
  64. Don MacNeil from Barrie, Canada writes: I found the article completely insulting. While Mr. Valpy is thumbing his noses at Canada he might want to take some time to do consider the facts. Canadian commanders and officers came up with many innovative and successful strategies implemented at Vimy. From simple things like giving the men maps of the ground they had to cover to using machine guns in the same way as artillery are Canadian inventions. And as for the matter of the battle having no significance Hindenburg himself wrote in is diary after the battle that the war was lost.
    Mr. Valpy, you should be ashamed of yourself and the Globe should be ashamed of employing a 'history vandal' who would rather tear down the accomplishments of the brave men that fought and died at Vimy than acknowledge their contributions. You owe Canada an apology
  65. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Well said Marc Lucas

    Don MacNeil...agree with the sentiment. These types of 'articles' are ironic in their intent because they enhance Canada's nationalism and passion for all things Canadian. Maybe Valpy is trying to employ reverse psychology!? Most likely he ran out of things to write so googled a contrarian view.
  66. Rob Doupe from Canada writes: Odd that many here accuse Valpy of denigrating the sacrifices of Canadians soldiers at Vimy. He does no such thing. All he's doing is putting the battle into historical perspective, and explaining how we built the mythology around it. I honestly don't see what folks here are getting upset about.

    I mean, Arthur Currie himself didn't want the memorial to be built at Vimy. He didn't think it was the most important battle fought by the Canadian Corp. I suppose Arthur Currie was a pencil-necked revisionist, and no patriot.
  67. Bob MacMillan from Hamilton, Canada writes: Oh well, wouldn't be a proper board without a bit of cat fighting... Conscription came up and I'd like to pass on my favourite story from my grandfather which ties in. (Applogies to anyone bored by this). By 1918 my grandfather had been found out and sent home as under-age. He returned to northern Ontario where the major mode of transportation between towns was the railroads. By that time some young men from Canada and the USA were trying to avoid conscription/draft by hiding out in remote northern towns. However it was easy for police to get on a train and search it from one end to the other looking for men trying to avoid service. My grandfather fit the profile and was regularly stopped to present his identification papers. He didn't like this process very much but it gave him great pleasure to point out a couple of things. One was that he was still underage at 17, so out of their control (he turned 18 two days before the war ended). The second was that he had discharge papers to show that he was already a veteran, and had been over there getting shot at while they had been fooling around riding trains... Sorry if that was a bit off topic, but I thought it shed a bit of light on Canadian conscription. It was also his favourite story about the war. He chose that one for me when I was young instead of more graphic details of what he had seen.
  68. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: A piece about Vimy without the usual cheese about freedom and democracy. Too bad the kids in school still have to go through the indoctrination.
  69. Vern McPherson from Toronto, Canada writes: Another poster (perhaps more), have broached the idea that Canadians refute their identity in the face of it, based on an idea of some mysterious type of pathology of inferiority measured against other nations. There are those who believe this and those who practice it- this I know. Mostly they are afraid to be proud I think. An entire political movement in Canada is founded on the premise that Canada is somehow sadly broken and needs fixin - which of course is not true. It neesa a little tweak here and there perhaps. Many mistake the quietness, politeness and quiet strength of Canadians, including those of all origins (once they get hold of what it means to live, survive and procreate here), with the idea that Canadians are weak marks and diluted. Well we are not. Until quite recently we were never big flag wavers as are Americans for example. In post 9/11 days when we also lost innocent citizens to blind pointless terror, we gladly and proudly fly our flag everywhere and even wear it on lapels when it isn't even Nov 11 ! We are not world military powers and never have been although our military history is one of courage and victory and even defeat. We have been the seekers of peace over the last 50 years although we did not hesitate to make war as required - and to refuse when it was deemed unjust. We are a little like the quite neighbor who can be relied upon to take the high ground, tell the truth and do the right thing. The great contribution to the definition of what Canada means made by Berton and all his work was his phrase that Canadians are strong, quiet and steadfast because they are touched by the quiet, forbodeing wilderness, even overcome by the wilderness and own the greatest respect for the wilderness that was and is Canada. We ought never measure Canadianism by people's origins because we are all from some other place are we not ? If a little myth is required here, what of it ? 10,000 Canadians at Vimy Ridge couldn't all have been wrong.
  70. Clem Brown from Metcalfe, On., Canada writes: History has always been written with a slant. It's never quite what it appears to be. Just as Conservative tax payers see Ad-Scam as as corruption and theft, the Liberals think of it as just another day at the office. Conservatives say 'hey, some of that's my money', Liberals say 'What the heck it's mostly someone else's money, pass the Dom.' Why don't we go back and argue about the Plains of Abraham, that always brings out the 'Je Me' crowd.
  71. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Rob.....people get tired of other people taking potshots at heroes, symbols, what he hold true to our hearts. When people seek to tear down the values and beliefs we hold up to be part of our belief systems of course people get upset and they have a right to.

    Arthur Currie was entitled to his opinion but his place was not to make the final judgment on what people value. He was a patriot and your sarcasm does little to change our views of what we believe in.
  72. Winston Churchill from London, Canada writes: I understand the desire for historical accuracy, but I don't really understand the requirement to debunk, and belittle for the sake of debunking and belittling. It is true that the capture of Vimy Ridge was not the biggest news around in the Spring of 1917 (the collapse of Russia, the faltering of France, submarine warfare, and the entry of the US probably were). On the other hand, what substantiates the judgement that the allies 'lost' the battle of Arras? Vimy, Lens, Hill 70 (part of the the same campaign) were all victories. The purpose of the battle was to draw Germans away from other parts of the front. That was certainly achieved, and the battle of Arras is normally remembered as a success. About one thing we can be sure, as well: if somebody else had captured the ridge (of considerable tactical consequence) we would surely have known it. We do remember, after all, the hugely sanguinary failures to capture the ridge in 1915 -- the Battles of Loos and Neuve Chapelle. There are other annoying bits here, grating little reminders that we were, and always have been second rate, bit players. Why, in demythologising, we must also go so far in first making up and then exaggerating 'uncomfortable truths', I don't know. Are we afraid of success; are we desperate to ensure that we never register a success by denigrating those achieved in the past?
  73. Lawrence Hutchinson from Houston, United States writes: Jim, Terrets: Unfortunately, never in human history was peace ever obtained, or maintained, by a civilization which was not willing to fight for it.
  74. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Al B, run for prime minister or do something useful with your life rather than posting silly sarcasm about how you know better than everyone else in the world.
  75. tl best from Canada writes: Ah the globe and left strikes again......revisionist history to satisfy a lazy, politiclly correct left wing of pansises....this has nothing to do with glorifying war, it has to do with our courage of conviction, something the left knows nothing about, all you guys and your globe and mail are good for our tearing down any success this country has had because you fear they make you look bad. We fought and died at Vimy ridge and captured something that no other force at the time could. Be proud of our strength and our accomplishment...don't start rewritting history because it offends the lefts sensabilities ......only in the globe and mail....shame
  76. Steve Prime from Toronto, Canada writes: This article is just plain wrong. The genuis behind the plans and strategy of Vimy Ridge was a Canadian office Aurther Currie. Capturing the ridge provided a vantage point over a vast country side to observe the enemy. It a war where victories yielded mere meters Vimy Ridge was a significant victory relative the most battles of WW1. It was fought by mostly Canadians (born Canadian including native Canadians). It showed the world and ourselves that as a people we can achieve what others can't (French & British in this case) with Canadian effort, bravery, and innovation. For those who would accuse me of jingoism I challenge you to really take the time to learn about the battle from various documentaries and books. Pierre Burton's is a good one.
  77. F. Lister from Germany writes: I agree almost entirely with the comments by Vern MacPherson but I am more than 'offended' by Valpy's unecessary trivializing of the batle of Vimy Ridge - I am disgusted with his trivializing Vimy Ridge. I have taken Valpy's name off the list of writers I feel worth reading in future. My father served at the front in WWI with the Canadian Field Artillery. He was at the breakthrough of the German lines in August 1918 which began 'the last 100 days'. I spent many childhood evenings listening to my father, uncles, and other veterans of WWI talking to each other about the war - about the terrible battles. I grew up with a sense of pride that Canada had such men. If Mr. Valpy would like it, I will be happy to tell him what he can do with his writings about Vimy
  78. The Poet from Dopey Van, Canada writes:

    The columnist here, slams Canada in his way,
    But what's the surprise, it's the flavor of the day

    Or did I misunderstand, and it is Christians he despises
    And once again, there are no left wing surprises

    I wish he would read this trash, to the families who lost
    Instead of being a coward, not caring about lives cost

    Who cares if this is a myth, 90 years old
    Canada then, was building a great mold

    So sit at your word processor and write all you will
    So easy for you, as words cause a spiritual chill
  79. grealy ted from Canada writes: Freedom of the press - of course that's the excuse the Globe & Mail will use for running this type of article - disgusting. The G & M has become a leader in the socialist leftie preoccupation with over-critiqing and assigning negative interences to Canada, our culture and our history.
  80. Bob Beal from Edmonton, Canada writes: I still don't see what people are getting so excited about. The 'Vimy myth' is considered to be an important part of Canadian history. It is in the textbooks. In other words, the Vimy battle became more important to Canada and Canadians than just the battle itself. It became symbolic. Those who fought at Vimy had a greater effect on Canada than they could have imagined. How does that denigrate anything? I think it is just the opposite.
  81. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: ah, I see what Volpe's motivator was....to be relevant. G & M is having him host a Q & A session. It is a shame that the news has become a business rather than simply reporting on the news, our 'journalists' now feel compelled to try and MAKE the news.
  82. steve allan from Welland, Ontario, Canada writes: Valpy is right, Vimy is a complete myth and frankly this commemoration is way over the top.

    Here are the facts -

    1) Vimy was a very minor engagement by WWI standards and had NO bearing on the outcome of that war,

    2) Vimy was not some major breakthrough by Canadians where others (French and British) had failed. When the French assaulted Vimy it was a real bloodbath with more than 250,000 casualties. By the time we fought there Vimy had no strategic importance and had been all but abandoned by a reeling German army.

    3) Vimy was not a turning point in the history of this nation. It took another 30 years before we even became Canadian citizens!

    It's sad that our media and government has to manipulate people in order to extract some cheap sort of national pride. If this is the sort of myth making enterprise we must indulge in to foster up pride in our nation, then we are a shallow nation indeed.
  83. K W from Kingston, Canada writes: I personally find this article insulting but to be expected. What is always amusing to me is great historical events are deemed, crafted and made by the citizens of the country at the time of the events. Why should we now 90 years later look back and say an event that occurred at this time, that brought the country together, to form a common identity and sense of nationhood is wrong or overblown. Why is it the modern Canada must constantly look back at our history and point out events that in this day would be considered wrong but at that time were considered right or just, i.e the internment of the Japanese which all Canadian today would oppose but which there was little public outcry then. Is there any other country in the world that takes quite as much pride as Canada in finding fault with our nationhood, and events that led to our status within the world community today. Canada is become a nation of Monday morning quarterbacks.
  84. Nick Warburton from Vancouver, Canada writes: Do you feel better now, Michael Valpy? Is your left arm feeling a little tired? Three pages of mocking vituperation directed towards both the Canadian military and Christianity. I've heard your name before and that's about it, but now I feel I know you much better. However, for all your scribbling, tivializing the deaths of thousands of Canadian human beings during one of the world's most horrific conflicts, I remain unchanged in my feelings about the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Except to say that now, more than ever, we should continue to honour that day and those men, and that is what is indeed happening. Today's youth are developing a strong interest in Canada's military history, much to the distress of your ilk, hence this unfortunate article of yours. There's a tone of desperation to it, however, which I find interesting.
  85. Philip Van Bergen from Hashima, Japan writes: I am a patriotic Canadian living overseas representing Canada, and I am heartwarmed to read most comments. However I can understand what Mr Valpy is trying to get across, and it is something that many people seem to forget: that Canada was created by Britain and France, and that while Quebecers lost the connection with France after 1763, English Canadians referred to themselves as 'British North Americans' for years to come after Confederation in 1867, and still fought for Queen and (mother) country during the Great War. It was only through battles like Vimy that English Canadians began to think of themselves as different from Britain, and finally took over their foreign policy in 1931, and created Canadian citizenship in 1948.
    But these things also happened in Australia & New Zealand (with Gallipoli), and other fellow Commonwealth countries.

    Every country has their coming of day, or their day of imfamy,
    and it defines them. Call it revisionism, but I doubt if there is a
    single nation on the face of earth that doesn't do it .
  86. Stephen McPherson from Bradford, Canada writes: It's clear that Michael Valpy has not trod one step in the boots of a soldier and has little or no empathy for their plight and sacrifice. Mr. Valpy's sacrifice was that he had to produce an article to score some income. War is a tragedy that has been played out for centuries at a mortally high cost to the less fortuned and continues today. Has the sacrifice of our forefathers' been all for nothing? If you aspire to Mr. Valpy's trivialization the answer would be a resounding 'Yes'. Collectively, despite all the greatness that surrounds us, we have not advanced as a society. The ills that start and prolong war; and crime, for war is a crime; remain with us. The conservative bent of our current politics is currently making matters worse. Having our youth celebrate Vimy is a great thing. In years to come when they are in positions of power, perhaps they will finally get it right. Hell knows. for all their peace, love and rock and roll, the baby boomers haven't!
  87. Vasili Yeremenko from Canada writes: However you look at Vimy it was a great accomplishment of planning, training and bravery, Only Canadians would feel the need to diminish their great moments.

    COntrat this to the USA where they created a myth about Jessica Lynch ane even when the true story, (that she was returned to the Americans by Iraqi medical staff, and the raid on the hospital was staged with an empty building) comes out the Americans choose to believe the heroic fiction and blatantly ignore fact.

    But in Canada we have to point out how we exagerate the truth even when it is the truth. The fact is Canada came of age in WW1 and VImy gained the fighting men respect from fellow soldiers for being tougher and more innovative than the British. After the fall of France in 1940 history shows writing in the German General staff where they fear invade Great Britain because the Canadians have arrived(rather funny when you consider how ill equipped the Cannucks were), based entirely on their reputation from WW1. In the trenches it was clear the Canadians were not British, that is the reason Vimy matters.
  88. R. Topolnytsky from Toronto, Canada writes: Was my comment not posted because it was too long or....?

    Thanks

    RTopolnytsky@rogers.com
  89. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: Steve Prime, here's a good book for you: 'Surviving Trench Warfare: Technology and the Canadian Corps, 1914-1918' by Bill Rawling, University of Toronto Press, 1992. Among other things, Currie was able to learn from the lessons of the Somme and Verdun (of course unavailable to the French and British in 1915): as pertaining to communication between forward lines and HQ (p. 127), counter-battery (p. 94) infiltration tactics as opposed to massed assaults (p. 89: 'As early as April 1916, General Joffre, commander of all French forces in France, issued a memorandum stating that 'Infiltration is a good procedure in battle whenever it is possible.' This memorandum was issued to Canadian battalions, and in the days leading up to Vimy Ridge Canadian tactical thinking focused on small groups...') Currie was able to spend months preparing a set piece battle (p. 142: 'Vimy was a success because it was so set piece the corps had several months to get ready. Also, the lessons of Verdun and the Somme were easy to apply, since German defences were organized according to a familiar pattern; but if time was not available or if the enemy changed his tactics, the results could be disastrous.') As at Passchendaele where the Canadians 'faced a constantly changing German tactical system' p. 144. the German commander ignored the suggestion of the General Staff to defend in depth (p. 88) could not spare troops to counterattack (p. 130: 'the Germans were willing to give up difficult positions to save casualties' which speaks volume about the presumed strategic importance of Vimy Ridge) Currie may be a 'genius' but the story is much more complex than that.
  90. Stephen McPherson from Bradford, Canada writes: Lisa Jones - as the last of the highland line in my family you do not represent my thinking. If there was ever an off spring of a Canadian Prime Minster that was a pure opportunitist, it has to be Ben Mulroney! I avoid watching CTV just so I don't have ot see his smarmy face spread all over the place ... yuck!

    As for the Trudeau's, I think if you get over yourself, you'll see a clarity of thought that is not often seen in Canadian public life.
  91. K W from Kingston, Canada writes: Vasili,, Hear Hear, Well said. As much as some want to disagree Vimy is where Canada began to be recognized as not just a British Colony but as a country. Reputations are hard earned and these young Canadians fighting in the worst conditions earned this country a reputation that it still enjoys today as fierce fighters, that never starts a fight but never ever will run from one either. As General G. Patton is quoting as saying at the end of WWII, With German General, American Equipment, and Canadian Soldiers I could rule the world in 30 days.
  92. Dave T from midwest, Canada writes: Given the fanfare in place for the ceremony on Monday marking the 90th anniversary of Vimy Ridge, what can we expect for the 100th anniversary?
  93. Nick Warburton from Vancouver, Canada writes: Let's say a beloved family member dies. It's inevitable that their survivors will speak well of them, that favourite stories will be told about them, and, years later, that they might have gained a certain legendary status within the family. It's good for morale, everybody loves to tell the stories, and it helps to unify the family. No harm is being done. Along comes someone who feels the need to diminish the deceased, to discount their accomplishments and to inject slanted innuendo with respect to their religious or other beliefs. Rather than having the desired effect, it merely causes the family members to more closely scrutinize the squelcher and seek out a motive. Because there is always a motive.
  94. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: Yeremenko: 'After the fall of France in 1940 history shows writing in the German General staff where they fear invade Great Britain because the Canadians have arrived'

    That's one ridiculous statement that even the flag huggers would find over the top.
  95. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: steve allen......historical events dont happen overnight. Because of the Canadian success on the battlefield, Canada was a co-signor of the Versailles Treaty and their battle tactics were adopted by the Allies. Why do people have such a problem accepting Canada is significant and important.
  96. Lewis Bartholomew from Vancouver Island, Canada writes: Lisa Jones, Perhaps your comment wasn't posted because it has little to do with the battle of Vimy Ridge or the men who died there. In regard to immigrant postings and what they do for Canada, I am an immigrant. Sometimes small efforts in wars do more than one large event.Vimy Ridge was one such place. It was once said that large ships won the battle, but small ships won the war. Vimy may have been insignificant compared to other battles, but look at what seeds it planted in our nation. To further learn about the importance of small war events start by going to alberniproject.org and read about one small effort of one small Canadian ship in a very large war. I suggest Ms Jones that you spend your time next November 11 and be right up front at your local Remembrance Day observance and maybe you will see that the freedom you deny Trudeau and others to behave the way they do was fought for and sacrificed for by these small battles fought over several wars. This immigrant is very proud to be living in such a great country, with a strong heritage of both French and British (as well as aboriginal and others) backgrounds which is what is making this country the strong great nation that these men at Vimy died to protect. Those freedoms that enable you to finallly get your post and your comments published are also the same freedoms that those who oppose your views also have.
  97. mr motoc from Canada writes: Canadians . . . fighting 'as Canadians'. . . . Soldiers of an 'independent [soon to be, anyway] country': CANADA.

    Ideas like that make conservatives CRAZY.
  98. a CanuckinMN from St. Paul, Mn., United States writes: I think what makes this the big watershed moment of national identity and acomplishment is twofold. First this was the first time the that the four Canadian divisions fought as the Candian Corps. And second, we took an objective that the British and French Armies, the armies of our 'Two Founding Nations,' failed to capture.

    A great Canadian way to describe this would be simply this: It is your first game in the NHL and you score a goal on your first shot with a little help from one of the vets on your team. You might score bigger goals in your career but none are as sweet as the first.
  99. Jack Rip from Canada writes: As the grandchild of a WWI vetran, I am surprised by the lack of discussion on what WWI was actually about. We are told that it 'was the crucible of our nation', and it is mythologized and eulogized (all probably accurate). Yet what started it, and what it accomplished politically and militarily are almost never discussed. The was left my grandfather a war invalid, it devastated Europe, lead to the horrific slaughter of millions, starvation (the Potato winter in Germany), sparked the rise of Communism and probably did not solve anything other than set the stage for WWII in Europe. If you have ever visited a war cemetery and look a the thousands of graves of healthy young (mostly 18-20 year old) men cut down in the prime of their lives, the question 'what did they die for?' will probably pop into your minds as well. Nebulous answers, like 'freedom' or 'everything you have today' seem evasive and unsatisfactory, in my opinion.
  100. Marg Macdonell from MB Canada, Canada writes: My Grandfather and his brother had only been in Canada
    just over three months. He came from Scotland as many
    men in Canadian units did.He was killed at Vimy but his brother surved,
  101. steve allan from Welland, Ontario, Canada writes: Brad Buss - what battle tactic are you referring to?
  102. Udom Thongpai from Victoria, Canada writes: Never Again. The war to end all wars..... I had a good friend who fought in that war. He never spoke of glory. I'd recommend an excellent book, A Terrible Beauty: The Art of Canada at War. It mixes Canada's war Art with scores of letters home written by the soldiers, collected from their relatives. You really get a sense of who they were and what they went through. Their letters to their wives and mothers are worth more than a thousand ceremonies. I make a point of reading it every Remembrance Day. Their courage amazes me. I have nothing but deep respect for all of them. And I have nothing but contempt for those who would now use them for political gain.
  103. Michel Préfontaine from montreal, Canada writes: Vimy ,as all myths, is more important politically than it's military significance could ever hope to make it. People can point to it as the place and time where something new started. The important thing is to not get confused about what actually happened.
    To Jack Rip, the best explanation of WW1 context and origins is Barbara Tuchman's 'The Guns Of August' It was Kennedy's gift to Khrustchev when they met. Kennedey meant it as a lesson in how stupid decisions that lead to war are not unavoidable
  104. Charles Mitz from Canada writes: I think his history is a little weak. It may have been a small part of the overall Ypres offensive but it was the first tactical victory of the war and after the bloodbath on the Somme it was very much a cause for celebration at the time and since.
  105. S F from Miramichi, Canada writes: How about debunking a real myth...would someone please drive a stake through the heart of the Avro Arrow myth...the plane Canada couldn't afford and no one else wanted. Sure it went fast, but that was it (and look where that got Concorde)
  106. Vern McPherson from Toronto, Canada writes: To: steve allan from Welland, Ontario ------------------------------------- Wrong on all points kid. 1/ Hardly true as tens of thousands of men were lost attempting to take it previously. It was stretegic because of it's geography/topography and juxtaposition overlooking the German front line on the flat plain called Douay. 2/ The 'reeling' German Army at Vimy was hardly reeling. They were thoroughly dug in and well positioned defensively with full intentions of throwing the next assualt back from this stretegic position as they had done previously. 10,000 Canadian casualties most on the first morning are evidence of this. Moreover the success of the Canadaina lightening assualt was the result of precise planning to the point where every soldier in the FOUR DIVISIONS knew his objective and each unit was similarily prepared. If no or diminished defense by the Germans was to be expected then who needs FOUR DIVISIONS ? Planning included precise spotting of German artillary so the offending guns acould be knocked out once their firing positions were identified. This was a new perfected technique introduced and organized by Arther Currie and the Canadian Corps, not used with this much success before in the entire war. 3/ Allow me to point out when a turning point ocurrs people hardly immediately recognize it as that - a turning point. It does take some time to digest, analyse, measure and appreciate. It wasn't a moon landing but it wasn't on instant TV either. The advent of citizenship in later years did nothing other than to formalize things. No one up to that time would argue Canadians were not Canadians just because they didn't happen to have paperwork. Were Soldiers in WW2 not Canadian ? I suggest you bend a little to the facts. Vimy Ridge need not have been the decisive battle in WW1 in order to accomplish it's outcome as a marking point in Canadian upbringing. What would you have them do ? March into Berlin and take the Kaiser prisoner using 1 pistol ?
  107. Reg Walker from toronto, Canada writes: Jack Rip: Like yourself, I am the grandchild of a WW1 vet. My grandfather came to the Western Front with the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles after Vimy. He, like all front line infantry soldiers, endured monotony, fierce trench raids, heavy shelling, painful shrapnel wounds, mustard gas attacks and the sorrow of watching good friends and brothers in arms suffer hidious deaths and injuries. He came out of this madness on August 26th 1918 in Arras France with gunshot wounds. I remember him as a man who lived with the ghosts of this war daily and on his death bed was clearly back on the Western Front. His sacrafice and others from that generation will never be forgotten by me.
  108. Douglas Freestone from Canada writes: Excellent posts by Sheldon Maerz from fromadustyplace, and (I hate to admit it) Vern McPherson from Toronto. Vern, usually your posts make me want to eat glass, but I have to admit that you know a lot about WWI history.

    Michael Sharp from Tuliporia - your grandfather saw some serious action in WWI. He was also, I dare to say, very lucky. My great grandfather was seriously wounded at Passchendaele (Third Ypres).

    Enzo Campini from Brampton - you are taking half the path to insight. You are looking at a historic event from the present. While that can provide some understanding, you are better off counter-balancing it with a look from a true historical perspective. There was a 'war letters' exhibit at the War Museum in Ottawa a number of years ago that put some human substance into the sometimes cold analysis of the historian. While I find your posts, which are based on emotional, uneducated opinions, to be more repugnant, I also celebrate them, as it is more than plausible that had the allied nations in WWI and WWII not succeeded this would have been a very different world. If you are indeed of Italian heritage yours would have been very different.

  109. daffy duck from Canada writes: theres no myth or mystery. the only reason theres any question is due to the liberal's historical revisionists policies of the last decade and a half, and the suppression of our glorious english history.
  110. diane marie from calgary, Canada writes: Jack Rip:-- Good post. Apparently, though, asking the question you allude to angers many. They would rather not consider the answer, despite the fact that by asking the question we are not denigrating those who died or survived, but doing the very opposite: honouring them.

    When it comes to treading one step in the boots of a soldier, I've always wondered what a Vimy Ridge soldier would say - if we could ask and he could reply - about his sacrifice, if the unvarnished truth of it were made known to him. Perhaps it is the contemplation of that answer that so frightens many and makes them wish that the answer be neither formed nor asked. Perhaps the honouring takes two forms: the asking of the question by some, and the avoiding of the question by others. However, it seems to me, we will never learn to avoid war if we don't ask the questions, and there's no better time than when we are considering the loss of the man (or boy) in whose boots we did not tread.

    When time is short, one of the ways I judge whether a post is worth reading - other than by my experience with previous posts by the same author - is whether it is full of shouting (full caps) or theatrics (multiple exclamation points or emotigraphs). These guidelines work quite well, but many great posts hide in the trappings of the breathless rant (a giant block with no paragraph breaks). The use of paragraph breaks is appreciated by all readers.
  111. Don Micheals from Canada writes: Why should we pay any attention to Michael Valpy? After all, in the Grand THeatre of editorial comment, he proably rates something less than a punctuation mark. Pretty insignificant Eh?
  112. tl best from end of the world, Canada writes: Vern M. you and I agree on very little here but on your reply you where dead on.....and factual, where as Mr Allen needs to get out his moms basement and read a little history, but then again for people like Mr Allen, who can't stand to be a proud canadian, to bad because there are many of us who are, and see right through you NDP losers......Thanks Vern, happy easter. now lets talk about those eveil cons....LOL
  113. L.B. Murray from Canada writes: Lisa, Lisa Jones, is still here posting hate and bigotry. Lisa was doing the same yesterday, on Good Friday, and she'll be doing it all weekend long instead of praying for the war dead and wounded and their families. Or read Pierre Berton's book on Vimy or another fine book which I have in my library, called A Terrible Beauty: The Art of Canada at War. Lisa, if you are not religious, perhaps you should try meditation. It might help or it might not. Try to put the shoe on your other foot and put yourself in the shoes of French Canadians who enlisted in WW1 and came home after losing arms and legs and told their stories about being treated like dogs by some Orangemen sargents and officers...no wonder their buddies did not want to serve in the war of the British Empire. Now, Lisa, please leave this once respectable Globe and Mail, go read Pierre Berton, or meditate and respectfully leave those of us in peace while remembering members of our families who served. Thank you and good afternoon.
  114. Douglas Freestone from Canada writes: tl best from end of the world - Ya, Vern really seems to know his stuff with regards to WWI. Me thinks this might be an area of interest for him.

    Another interesting battle involving Canadian troops during WWI was the Second Battle of Ypres in which I believe I am right in saying was the first time that the Germans used poison gas on the Western Front. North-African colonial troops fled during the deployment of the gas, but Canadian troops stood fast and held the line despite heavy casualties. Again, nothing to celebrate about the loss of life, but history is what it is. Vern maybe able to add more to this, but I also believe that this is one of the first times that ad hoc gas masks (scarves or shirts soaked in urine) were used.

    One more interesting tid bit. Conn Smythe, perhaps more famous today for the trophy that was named after him, won the Military Cross during WWI.
  115. L.B. Murray from Canada writes: diane marie from Calgary writes : '', but many great posts hide in the trappings of the breathless rant (a giant block with no paragraph breaks). The use of paragraph breaks is appreciated by all readers. ''

    diane marie, some people use paragraphs (I do, all the time) but the Globe and Mail sometimes put everything in one giant block.

    It happened with my last post which had 4 paragraphs and turned into one by the G&M.
  116. Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes: Matt Cross from Niagara: For the record, I DO NOT denigrate the soldiers who died in Vimy or anywhere else during WWI, WWII, Korea, as well as on peacekeeping missions, etc. I have the utmost respect for them, and their feats of daring and courage are rightly. I am saying something different than what you think.

    Rather, what I DO denigrate is how, during WWI, many Canadians went to die for reasons that had little to do with Canada. I denigrate the powers that sent them to their deaths. ALL I AM SAYING is that I can't stomach how the suffering of the proverbial little guy is used to pound a nationalist drum.

    As for WWII, Canadian participation is something to be proud of, because it was a fight against a world order that no humane person could ever accept. It was a war with moral legitimacy. The current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not morally legitimate. And they will change nothing for the better. Mark my words: NATO will leave Afghanistan utterly demoralized in a couple of years, and nothing will have changed.

    I think maybe my naysayers should stop banging the mindless nationalist drum, and be a bit more critical of of everything we do and have done.

    And finally, just so my naysayers do not think I'm a hater of my great country, I wear a poppy every Remembrance Day, and I have fond memories of my 4 years in the Canadian Grenadier Guards, that fine Montreal regiment that changes the guard on the Parliament Hill and whose armory is on Rue Esplanade.

    That is all.
  117. GlynnMhor of Skywall, Azeroth from Calgary, Canada writes: In addition to the tactical features mentioned by Vern, the use of more complex rolling barrages was tried out at Vimy for the first time. Currie had rolling barrages that followed the rate of march of German reserve troops from their positions in and around Lens up to the front lines. Some German units suffered over 50% casualties (with accompanying morale effects) before they even reached their counter-attack take-off points. The guns to do this sort of thing had only recently been available in large numbers. Earlier in the war heavy artillery pieces had their recoil pass through to the gun carriage. We have probably all seen pictures of these guns rolling backward as they fire. You can't use those guns for a rolling barrage because after they fire they're no longer pointing the same place they were before, and the necessary fine adjustments are impossible. While the French had had their 75mm oleo recoil artillery piece from the late 1880s, guns that small were more for close infantry support, and not longer range bombardment. For the assault on the Canal du Nord later in the war, Currie even specified laterally rolling barrages on both sides of the assault to interfere with German moves to reinforce the area. His plan was so complex that the high command threatened to fire him if the assault failed because of it. And not mentioned thus far was the novel idea of passing out local versions of the attack plans to all the officers and non-comissioned officers. 'Maps to the section leaders'. That meant that even if the platoon lieutenant was put out of action, all his sergeants and corporals still knew exactly where to go and what to do. The French abd British troops that failed to take the Ridge were no less courageous and steadfast as the Canadians, but the Canadians were the first to be able to take advantage of Curries innovative use of artillery support
  118. Jason Roy from NS, Canada writes: mr motoc from Canada writes: 'Canadians . . . fighting 'as Canadians'. . . . Soldiers of an 'independent [soon to be, anyway] country': CANADA.' 'Ideas like that make conservatives CRAZY.' Motoc, why the continuing insinuations that Canada is not nor is going to be an independent country under CPC governance? You never fail to tickle me and I'm sure others here with your continual rants about 'war mongers' yet you continually screech for billions to be spent on our armed forces so they can (in your words) defend an 'independent Canada'. 17B so far Motoc; yet we can't spend it ALL at once. Canada IS STILL, and WILL CONTINUE TO BE, independent NO MATTER WHO IS IN POWER. Last time I looked the CANADIAN FLAG was still flying over Parliament Hill and NO foreign troops were occupying our soil. I have an idea. Since YOU want a strong CF capable of defending an 'independent Canada', why don't YOU lead by example and ENLIST, instead of whining/criticising from the sidelines? And before you retort and label me a 'right wing moron' as seems to be your way lately; I remember you stating last week that you support NOONE as far as political entities go in this country. Based on that, I can tell you without hesitation, that whether one is a 'right wing moron' or a 'left wing moron' and although we may seldom if ever agree on things; AT LEAST WE CAN TAKE A STAND ON WHAT OUR RESPECTIVE VALUES ARE. You sir are the worst kind of 'moron' of all; AN UNINVOLVED MORON who cannot take a position and who has nothing better to do than complain and criticise no matter who is running things while the rest of us do the heavy lifting. That is the worst kind of 'moron' to be.
  119. GlynnMhor of Skywall, Azeroth from Calgary, Canada writes: (sigh) sometimes my paragraphs work, and sometimes they just end up collapsed into one long string...
  120. Vasili Yeremenko from Canada writes: Al B writes That's one ridiculous statement that even the flag huggers would find over the top.

    It was not a primary reason by any means but some documents show the Germans repsected the Canadians. I never said it was the reason not to invade but the to the Germans the Canadians were considered better soldiers. The documents said something about how he generals would prefer to lan where they could avoid the Canadians. The fact is the Germans over rated the Canadians I point this out to show the reputation the Canadians gained in WW1.
  121. Mike Bellows from Canada writes: Mr. Valpy, your attempt to illustrate the myth of Vimy falls to pieces when you include the fact that 3598 Canadians were killed and 7104 were injured ( many permanently disabled one can safely assume ) at Vimy. The rest of your article becomes moot in that context.
  122. diane marie from calgary, Canada writes: Jason Roy:-- Read my comments above about shouting (FULL CAPS). There's no need for it, it does not advance your argument. By the way, you seem to think that the only mark of independence is the absence of foreign troops on one's soil. You should give that a bit more thought, I think. There are far less obvious but no less insidious forms of the loss of independence.

    To those who find that their paragraph breaks go missing between the writing and the posting, I apologize. I use the Globe's own form and have never had one go missing. Perhaps some of you are using other software - sorry. L. B. Murray - I read your posts without fail - I can't say the same about those by Lisa Jones. Some posts (on my computer, at least) are salted with 8221, 8222, etc. where something else should be - perhaps a computer geek can explain this to me.

    Enzo C:-- I, for one, would like to think that there are other bases for patriotism other than military strength and action. One of the candidates for the U.S. Presidency, whose name escapes me, suggested that he would establish a Department of Peace. Of course, this was met with much mirth, things being the way they are...
  123. Tim Childs from Canada writes: A cynical article which misses the point I think. Some comments here seem to want to trivialize our role; some want to trivialize the event because it was in the context of a war and would like to suggest that we shouldn't glorify such a moment but why not?? Attitudes about war and empire were different back then and bravery, honor, sacrifice, etc are noble qualities regardless of the reasons for/justifications of the larger conflict. I don't mind honest reflection but I don't like attempts to rewrite history and I don't like judging the past by modern standards.
  124. GlynnMhor of Skywall, Azeroth from Calgary, Canada writes: L.B. Murray from Canada writes: 'Lisa Jones, is still here posting hate and bigotry.'

    Nonsense. She's repeating publicly available statistics on participation rates for franco-quebecois during two world wars. Actually, the franco-quebecois who did join up were probably on average braver and more dedicated than the average non-quebecois, since all their lily-livered quivering-kneed cowardly associates had used the pretext of franco-quebecois 'nationalism' as an excuse not to join.

    As to 'racism', if we are to presume you choose to deem 'francophone' as a race in this context (a bit dubious), Lisa has already pointed out that francophones from outside Quebec enrolled in much higher numbers than from inside Quebec. It thus has little to do with being 'francophone' per se, but rather just 'franco-quebecois'.
  125. Dik Coates from Canada writes: Cuppa Tea: Keep smoking that stuff Brad, WWI had nothing to do with freedom. You think WWII did?... it was started because Germany walked into Poland... and at the end of the war, the good guys gave Poland to Russia... go figgur!
  126. GlynnMhor of Skywall, Azeroth from Calgary, Canada writes: diane marie from calgary, Canada writes: 'To those who find that their paragraph breaks go missing between the writing and the posting, I apologize. I use the Globe's own form and have never had one go missing. Perhaps some of you are using other software...'

    I, too, use the Globe's form, and I find that the problem usually occurs when I have led off by quoting some previous post. As to the odd characters, some of those are asymmetric apostophes (different for leading and trailing) that are exported as 32 bit unicode rather than as 7 bit ASCII. The same is true of accented letters for other languages like french or german whose numeric equivalent is greater than 127.
  127. Douglas Freestone from Canada writes: diane marie from calgary, Canada (at 2:29 PM) writes 'By the way, you seem to think that the only mark of independence is the absence of foreign troops on one's soil. You should give that a bit more thought, I think. There are far less obvious but no less insidious forms of the loss of independence.'

    Excellent point, and something often lost on many posters. Sovereignty is not determined by the country seeking to attain it, but by recognition from other countries. Without that recognition there is no sovereignty (independence). This is one of the most basic tenets of international law. How a country influences other countries to recognize its sovereignty is a game that has been going on since at least Westphalia, but may include (and is not limited to): having a military, conflict, making diplomatic statements, exploration, maintaining a physical presence, establishing alliances...
  128. Douglas Freestone from Canada writes: GlynnMhor of Skywall, Azeroth from Calgary - good response to Enzo. I highly doubt he even knew what post-modernism was when he posted it. I have come to realize (and respect) that some posters on these boards do not like specific realities simply because (ie. Canada's participation in conflict; the fact that we have political parties other than the Liberal Party of Canada). Now while these posters can't really post a factual, coherent argument as to why they object to these realities they are very passionate about it. I have only been posting on these boards on and off for a couple of months, but I have already begun to compile a mental list of those posters it is not really worth debating with because they are either trolls or their passion exceeds their knowledge (ie. motoc, surfer dude, Yvonne Wack, Sunny Singh, L.B. Murray, Dr Demento, Borat K., to name a few). Now while some may say that I include these individuals simply because I do not agree with them, there are others (like Trillian Rand, Vern Mac, Stude Ham, etc…), who I vehemently disagree with, but at least they can formulate an argument.
  129. Brian - from St. John's, Canada writes: While the accomplishments of the Canadian soldiers at Vimy should in no way be diminished, I find it puzzling that it should be declared a core part of a Canadian national identity. After all it is hardly a the symbol of a universal bond of nationhood, although you would be hard pressed to consider it anything but a strategic and decisive victory for a proud colony of the Empire - one that might have contributed to eventual full independence as a matter of pride.

    If you have a moment, spare a thought for the brave men of Beaumont Hamel, who fought with valour for the then-nation of Newfoundland. Their sacrifice and the shared burden taken on by the colony's citizens are also considered the first emergence of a true nationalism in a British dependency. Their 'national war memorials' in France and St. John's remain. The 90th anniversary ceremonies will be observed on July 1st, Remembrance day in Newfoundland and Labrador. (Canada day is usually observed in the afternoon). We take pride in who we've been, but we try not to interpret it to define who we are - thats hardly the point of remembering those who fought, is it?
  130. Karen Johnson from Edmonton, Canada writes: steve allan from Welland, writes: Valpy is right, Vimy is a complete myth and frankly this commemoration is way over the top. To call Vimy 'a complete myth' is ridiculous. While the battle did not determine the outcome of the war, it was a significant battle to Canada for a number of reasons. As noted by many, it was the first time the entire Corps fought together - men from right across this country. Second, this was the first victory in years for the Allies - how sweet that must have felt! Perhaps the biggest impact to Canada, and our soldiers, was the shift in their belief about themselves. They came to BELIEVE that they were special, that they could triumph - there was a shift in what they thought was possible and their identification with each other. Just imagine what it would be like if WE, as Canadians felt connected to each other and felt that together there was nothing we couldn’t do! The size of the commemoration has as much to do with the rededication of OUR NATIONAL MONUMENT as does the battle itself. As the most magnificent of all Canadian memorials in Europe, the restoration of the Vimy Memorial is truly something to commemorate. I hope that all Canadians will look with pride at Vimy and other moments of our history and claim them as their own. My grandfathers did not participate in WW1 (we believe that one of them was interned as an enemy alien - but that is another story), but I consider OUR collective history MY history as a Canadian. I just hope that those who read this article, and others like it, will be able to put it in context with other information about Vimy and the war itself. Reading this comments page could help as it is clear that many have much historical knowledge. One last comment and one I am almost loathe to make because of its negativity: Lisa Jones please stop your slams against French speaking Canadians, Trudeau and the rest of your targets. They are really tiresome and serve no purpose whatsoever.
  131. Jason Roy from NS, Canada writes: Diane Marie, sorry for the 'shouting' (in today's online 'lingo') , but I was using caps to highlight points as I can't seem to figure out how to write in bold or underlined on this form as I've seen some posters do. Any technical assistance would be appreciated.

    'Foreign troops' on our soil; just one scenario of many I suppose. Just tired of the fear mongering (as I'm sure others are) and of the same old stuff by some posters over and over regardless of the topic - no variation, just the same repetitious droning day in and day out.

    A topic such as this should have the 'politicalization' put aside. Yet there will always be someone (such as Motoc) who will continue this.

    Cheers!
  132. diane marie from calgary, Canada writes: GlynnMor:-- Aha! I never do that (begin with pasted quotes), so that may be why. Now that I think about it, that's Karol K's favourite way of launching his posts, and they are big blocks of type. Lisa Jones is full of hate - it's there for all to see - and if it isn't racism, it's nationalism at its most base.

    If those who haven't get the opportunity to go to Ypres (Ieper), a visit to the Flanders Fields Museum is a must (though I left weeping) - it has on display some of the most beautiful examples of trench art I've ever seen, a sign that creativity and beauty can flourish in the midst of utter ugliness.

    Douglas F:-- Unfortunately, the nation desiring to express its sovereignty for the very purpose you mention (the recognition of others) often feels the need to undertake actions it might not otherwise want to. I could offer some Canadian examples, but don't think I will (today).
  133. Trevor Parry from TORONTO, Canada writes: On the 90th anniversary of this critical battle I should be shocked that the Globe and Mail features an article that sets out to 'debunk' Vimy. World War One was not known as a war of battlefield manouver but of a titanic struggle of will that shaped the next century. The Globe, however as the unofficial voice of post modernism, and the Liberal party of Canada for that matter spares no effort in denegrating a seminal moment in our national history. The article is rife with Marxist overtones, and the smug Liberal elitism that has consistently mocked Canadian valour for 40 years. It is little better than the seditious lies of the McKenna brothers and their desicration of Canadian feats of arms in 'The Valour and the Horror', or the Liberal Party of Canada's attempted disarmament and destruction of our Armed Forces. The author of this drivel does not realize that Canada emerged from both world wars as a stronger, united and purposeful country. He clearly sees the Charter of Rights, Pierre Trudeau and the last forty years of Canadian emasculation as something to revel in. Nations are often born in the sacred blood of the battlefield, Scotland at Bannockburn, Great Britain at Trafalgar, America at Gettysburg, Australia at Galipoli and yes, Canada at Vimy Ridge. God Bless this nation and the remember the great deeds done in those four days of 1917.
  134. V ADS from North Vancouver, Canada writes: Vimy Ridge is no myth. There was a spirit of nationhood that helped turn the tide of this battle and of the war. There were Canadian innovations in tactics (Currie) that played an important role too.

    Yes, it's true that the 'Great War' was great only in its death toll, horror and sorrow. But this does not diminish the sacrifice of the young Canadian men who fought bravely at Vimy Ridge.

    It doesn't matter to me if Mr. Valpy doesn't honor their sacrifice.

    Most Canadians do and always will.
  135. diane marie from calgary, Canada writes: Karen Johnson:-- I may be wrong, but I believe that you might be the author of one of yesterday's Letters to the Editor in the Globe. If so, congratulations - the sentiment was beautifully put and I agree with your wish (if it was yours) in the second paragraph.

    Jason Roy:-- Just make your points as eloquently as you can - 'volume' doesn't help, just as it rarely does in the face-to-face world (as we all know from arguments with loved ones, etc.). I fear for our independence and sovereignty, for the reasons so eloquently offered by Douglas Freestone.
  136. Philip McGuire from Victoria, BC, Canada writes: What a crappy article. Make Vimy a myth, so the myth of 'nation of peacekeepers' can replace it. Here's some real myths:

    - humans are causing global warming
    - we must follow Kyoto or there will be 'penalties'
    - Iran is a legitimate nation state
    - social programs define Canada as a nation

    Vimy is an inconvenient fact were, gasp, men with guns, from Canada (maybe in our streets too), actually did some good and brought prestige to Canada as a nation, able to mount its own operation.

    Then again, why should I bother with idiots like Mike Wood out there.
  137. Robin M. from Montreal, Canada writes: Having read Michael Valpy's article and reading some of the very informed posts i.e. Enzo Campini from Brampton, L.B. Murray, Vern McPherson from Toronto, etc.. on VIMY, WWI, makes me wish I had asked more questions of my grandfather who served as a doctor in the Boar War and WWI. But, I was very young, and besides, he never wanted to talk about the war, or about the men he treated... He would just get this sad look on his face, if anyone mentioned the war.. So I, nor my family will ever know the horror of violent death and destruction he witnessed... My memory of him, is of a quiet simple man with a generousity of spirit that endeared him to his patients. He was a GP and on returning from war, his patients were mostly children and the elderly. I remember my father telling us, my grandfather wouldn't take payment from those who could not afford it, instead patients would bring him a chicken or vegetables they had grown in their garden. The question is 'why do we glorify war'? Doesn't that just perpetuate violence? One answer would be, we don't, we glorify the men and women who go to war. But in the end it comes out to the same thing, I think. The other more probable answer is 'war', money, and power go hand in hand.. and what drives our economies.. So today, in my grandfather's memory and in memory of all those innocent lives lost, I wish you all a happy easter and may none here ever know the horror of war..
  138. Jason Roy from NS, Canada writes: Robin M. from Montreal, Canada writes:

    'The question is 'why do we glorify war'? Doesn't that just perpetuate violence? One answer would be, we don't, we glorify the men and women who go to war. But in the end it comes out to the same thing, I think.'

    Nobody in their right mind glorifies war (although you will always have a 'lunatic fringe' - as in any group - who will).

    Just because one supports our troops and what they are doing today (regardless of their political affiliation) does NOT (sorry Diane :-)) mean we revel in the killing or whatever else takes place; despite the cries of 'war monger' or 'chicken hawks' from some, and we all wish for a speedy conclusion to hostilities and safe return of all, again despite the insinuations of some.
  139. John O'Neil from Ottawa, Canada writes: Re: A nice little war...

    Vimy Ridge affords us an opportunity to learn from the wisdom of the ancients, and specifically, Lao Tzu, who said:

    'Arms are instruments of ill omen...When one is compelled to use them, it is best to do so without relish. There is no glory in victory, and to glorify it despite this is to exult in the killing of men...When great numbers are killed, one should weep over them with sorrow. When victorious in war, one should observe mourning rites.' (Cole's Quotables)

    Isn't it time we learned that war is hell and that we must move on and learn how not to go to war?

    For, as Lao Tzu further noted; '...Weapons are unhappy tools, not chosen by thoughtful people, to be used only when there is no choice, and with a calm, still mind, without enjoyment. To enjoy using weapons is to enjoy killing people, and to enjoy killing people is to lose your share in the common good....' (Tao Te Ching, Ursula Guin Edition,Chapter 31)
  140. Karen Johnson from Edmonton, Canada writes: Diane Marie from Calgary: That was me, and thank-you for your kind words about my letter to the Editor. First time I've sent one to the Globe!

    I second your recommendation about the 'In Flanders Field' museum. It is an extraordinary experience and a must for any visitor to Ypres/Ieper. They have a great website too.
  141. Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes: Vern McPherson, James Young, Action Jackson, diane marie, and Robin M.: It's nice to see that there are some reasonable people here, like yourselves, who are not afraid of questioning things, and are willing take to task some of the shibboleths of our Canadian ways.

    How might we make the jingoists realize that the act of being critical, of questioning things, is not the same as being either an ignoramus, or bad Canadian, or even a bad human being?
  142. Mark Orr from Toronto, Canada writes: While I am respectful of the enormous hardship endured by the young men that fought there, I think the sad truth is that they were forced to fight under threat of execution. It was barbaric, and how our soldiers were treated by their commanders and country leaves me deeply ashamed. These were young men, as young as 15, and when they broke under incredible strain, they were marched out and shot. A sickening wrong that has never been corrected. God bless them all. Especially the ones that were called 'cowards' we know that was not true, and that they were good men, who were pushed beyond the limit.
  143. L.B. Murray from Canada writes: diane marie and others who have commented about the problems with paragraphs, I thank you for your help but am now more ''mystified'' than ever... In my last post, I was quoting diane marie with a ''cut and paste'' and the breaks were respected...

    In a previous post, I did not use any cut and paste, and my comment ended up as a whole block...

    diane marie, I read all your posts and enjoy your comments. Have you noticed that this weekend a small group of people who usually gang up on you are strangely silent. What a relief...

    Thank you all respectful posters and have a very Happy Easter.
  144. Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes: Mark Orr from Toronto: Well put!
  145. Action Jackson from Kitchener, Canada writes: Douglas Freestone: that gas attack occurred at St. Julien. There's a neat Wikipedia article on it -- though it'll likely be changed since someone complained that it exaggerates Canada's role.

    I'm familiar with the view that WWI was pointless and shouldn't have been fought. Granted, the continental European powers should have talked instead of fighting. However, once the Germans and Austrians had squared off against the French and Russians, it made perfectly good sense for the British (and so Canada) to exercise their old 'balance of power' strategy to prevent the Germans from becoming a new hyperpower.

    We take liberal democracy for granted, but it probably would not have prevailed here and in much of Europe if the British had stayed out of WWI. Canadians in that war were fighting for a just cause, one that is continuous with the ideals shared by Canadians today.
  146. Vern McPherson from Toronto, Canada writes: Trevor Parry from TORONTO, Canada

    ------------------------------------

    Well now Mr Parry I believe you have gone just a little overthe top in your characterizations. Whatever the liberal party of Canada is now or was recently certainly has nothing to do with Vimy and/ot it's commeration in any context. And may I remind you those soldiers of the realm were not picked nor did they serve based on which party they belong or don't belong too. You attempt to denigrate the politics or your oppositon by suggesting one party or another are unpartriotic is scummy and itself unpatriotic. It debases the subject and raises serious questions as to how politics are done these days, not a very fitting issue when the subject is the commeration and historic importace of our soldiers heroic sacrifice. I could respond in kind, no doubt, but I will leave that to others here.

    Get unangry and a life.
  147. Richard Hawrelak from Sarnia, Canada writes: Very impressive B&W pictures. Fabulous stories of an epic battle. Terrible loss (>30% fatalities). It would make a great movie in B&W Mr. Spielberg [Saving Private Ryan]. Those few that still remain should sit at honoured 'Senate' seats in parliament to remind our current politicians of their responsibilities.

    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die.
    --Alfred, Lord Tennyson
    ' The Charge of the Light Brigade'
  148. Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes: Action Jackson from Kitchener: But then what do we make of the British, with their double-standard, who colonized much of the rest of the world and was already a hyper-power? I find the argument for liberal democracy hard to sustain, considering how the British did not exactly treat their subjects according to the liberal standards of David Hume.
  149. Action Jackson from Kitchener, Canada writes: One thing to keep in mind is that commemoration is not celebration. We should remember the tragedy entailed by WWI, where part of the tragedy is that the sacrifice was necessary.

    Enzo, though I haven't agreed with you here, I respect your contrarian and intelligent points. Thanks for serving in the Canadian forces.

    As long as there are some military historians around, does anyone know the source of the story (hopefully true but who knows) that in the 1930's Goebbels tried to allay some Germans' fears that the Nazis would lead Germany into a ruinous war by saying something along the lines of, 'Believe me, we have no desire to see Canadian barbarians marching in the streets of Berlin.'
  150. Action Jackson from Kitchener, Canada writes: Enzo: sure, no country of that day looks good by our standards. Still, some were further along in their evolution into the better (though still flawed) nations we see today. People in the UK had nicer lives than people in other parts of the Empire, just as Americans and Canadians would later have nicer lives than people in some American-Western-alliance client states. But, while it would take decades more for the UK and France to shake off much of their racist and Imperial outlook, they were much further along that road than their enemies.

    I wouldn't call the UK of that time a hyperpower. They had much economic strength, but their army was, I believe, smaller than those of France, Germany and Russia. The UK had a great navy, but in a land war they couldn't on their own match any of those countries. All they could do is hold the balance of power and enter as the might big straw that tipped the balance in favour of the French side. I think the nation that made the single biggest contribution to defeating the Germans in WWI was France.

    That's it for me today. Thanks for these many good posts, everyone.
  151. Bob MacMillan from Hamilton, Canada writes: Robin M: I can offer a comment that might shed light on your grandfather's reluctance to talk. I recall a documentary on the development of penicillin. Wounds were difficult to treat before this was available. Even then a way had to be found to mass produce it in the quantities needed by an army. The documentary included film shot early in WWII showing wounds successfully treated by the new drug. One of the wounds displayed was a gash in a man's thigh big enough to put your fist into. The film's narrator mentioned that they had a difficult time finding wounds that were not too gruesome to be filmed and the man's thigh wound was one of the smaller ones that the crew had seen. A steady diet of that kind of misery would affect even the strongest willed among us. Changing the subject: When I was young, I was fixated on tales from WWII. I thought that WWI was not very interesting and that limited some of the questions I asked my grandfather. By the time I figured out what he had really gone through, he was gone and it was too late for more serious discussions - Note to relatives of elderly WWII veterans! About Valpy's article: I did read it, but I have a hard time imagining why he would bother. The men who served were asked to do a job and they got it done. Things went relatively well at Vimy. The article does nothing to change my opinion of the events, and I hope anyone interested will look around for other information. I happen to have my grandfather's copy of the history of the Twentieth Canadian Battalion, which was published in 1935. It allows me to follow the unit's history during the year he was there. It includes a list of all who served in the 20th, the dates of their service, and what their fate was. From this I know that he entered France about two weeks after his 16th birthday and left almost exactly one year later. I believe similar books are kept by the Canadian War Museum.
  152. donna lyn from Toronto,Ontario, writes: Very informative and well researched article. I had never heard any of this before, and I am sure many other Canadians haven't either. It was interesting to see how a myth can snowball and be perpetuated over time.
  153. Offshore Directional Driller from Songkhla, Thailand writes: Valpy
    If my grandfather was alive today he would fill you in!
    To trivilize a battle of such magnitude is a disgrace. The stories my grandfather told me were first hand. Did you ever talk to a veteran of this battle. No. I did not even finish reading the article and nor will I. You are pathetic.
  154. Robin M. from Canada writes: Bob MacMillan from Hamilton: thanks. Your comments and insight are appreciated.

    Have a good day.
  155. Bob MacMillan from Hamilton, Canada writes: Regarding the great paragraph break mystery: FWIW I do put paragraph breaks in all my posts. The G&M for some reason likes to take them out. I read that this happens when an editor performs a review. If that's true one of my earlier posts must have flagged me as one to be scrutinized. Wonder what the magic word was?
  156. Rick McNaulty from Calgary, Canada writes: Liberals and their supporters are scum.
  157. S. Ives from Ottawa, Canada writes: 151 comments later. The later half of the comments have been a vast improvement over the initial ones. (I've been trying shift-return for paragraph markers. I have no idea how to fix my name.) I do not have difficulties with Michael Valpy's article. I have read it several times and, in the larger context of the war, have no serious disagreements with his thesis. I have been following his career for many years and find his work to be well researched and carefully written. He himself is a compassionate man of good will. The same can be said for Rick Salutin and for the rest of the G&M staff writers in general. I was startled to read the comment concerning the grandfather doctor (Robin M?). We had very similar ancestors. Mine actually wrote (in 1922) the sentiments espoused in the comment about money and power. I would like to point to a remarkable biography by A. John Watson on the life of Harold Innis (who really is the mythical Canadian). He was a spotter at the front lines after the battle and was severely wounded there. Watson's description of the soldiers' careers before, during, and after the war is extraordinary and one my grandfather would attest to. They volunteered for God and freedom, they discovered they were expected to fight for King and Country... and that country was not Canada. There are the numbers to remember. We say over 60 thousand dead in a population of eight odd million. What we need to consider is not the gross population, but the able-bodied men - a far lower number. When we say 'the lost generation', that sentiment is deadly accurate. When hard decisions were to be made twenty years later, that generation had not recovered and was in no position to make those decisions. We weren't pacifists, we had our guts shot out in Flanders. And to this day we need this myth of Vimy and this mystical battle as one of our Canadian raison d'etre (employing myth and mystical in their most positive meanings).
  158. diane marie from calgary, Canada writes: Trevor Parry:-- For the record, though it is hardly relevant, the Liberals were in power when the decision was taken to restore the Vimy Monument. The project began some four or five years ago. When I saw the Monument in 2001, it was in dire need of restoration. What is important is that the taxpayers of Canada paid for it and that it was money well spent.

    During the same trip, we visited Ypres and some of the surrounding cemeteries and monuments. One of the most interesting was the German cemetery at Langemark. Whereas Vimy is white and soaring, with overscale figures, the cemetery at Langemark is very low, dark, and somewhat brooding. I don't recall anything much taller than about twice my height. It was an interesting contrast. Six years later, some of it is a blur, but I also remember as if it were yesterday the visit to Talbot House in Poperinge - climbing the narrow and very steep stairs to a second-floor chapel, seemingly unchanged in 90 years, and walking around the small, lovely garden - a temporary respite established for troops who were back from the front. Much to contemplate...
  159. Nick Warburton from Vancouver, Canada writes: Ah yes...the road to globalization is pot-holed by small nuisances such as borders, national pride, national identity and national memorials. Those with a vested interest in one world government are compelled to trivialize the above and revise, revise, revise.
  160. D H from Montreal, Canada writes: Vimy certainly stands out in English-Canadian textbooks, especially those written by Ontarians, but it is basically ignored in Quebec. Dieppe and the Plains of Abraham are the really important battles in the textbooks down here. Both are considered humiliations thrown upon Canadiens by the British Empire.

    I wonder what the Aboriginals' perspective is about Vimy making them feel Canadian? What about Newfoundlanders, considering that they only joined Canada on time for the Korean War? Doubt the Newfies walked out of the battle feeling Canadian.

    Can one's war unite the three founding solitudes, let alone our regions, into a common vision? Doubtful! The only battle that ever united Canadians was fought on a hockey rink.
  161. Andrew Thompson from Canada writes: How very Canadian to try and demyth Vimy Ridge .I do not think Mr Valpy has succeeded however .WWI was a static war because technology had evolved to the use of automatic weapons without effective armour .As a consequence casualty numbers were exceedingly high on both sides for numerous engagements that resulted in little ground gained-a classic war of attrition.
    Vimy is unique for quite a few reasons .It was the first time all 4 divisions of the CEF fought as a national army .The fact that the commander was British is irrelevant .Canada's prewar army was tiny and by consequence would not have officers of flag rank .Sir Arthur Currie , the highest ranked Canadian Officer(Major General) was not even a professional soldier but a real estate salesman from Victoria who was in the Militia( and rumoured to be about to be cashiered)when the war broke out .
    The battle had a number of firsts.The troops were very well prepared , the preceeding barrage was monumental , counterbattery fire was directed by FOO's and sound ranging and the creeping barrage was first used and troops were sent over the top at a walking pace.
    The losses were very very modest by the standards of the day .The victory which took only 4 days was decisive and important .
    Thereafter the Canadian Army was viewed by both it's allies and it' foes as an army that could get the job done.
    Vimy is therefore a pivotol time in Canadian History .One wonders if there would have been A Statute of Westminster( wherein we could independently declare war) without it . Surely an important step in the walk from colony to nation .
    As an aside I have never been to Vimy but I have been to Ypres and Dieppe and the Scheldt .As Canadians we may spend a lot of time wondering who we are and what we represent .This is in the nature of an open democracy and a good thing .Every Belgian , French or Dutch kid who goes to school learns what the Canadians did .So should our kids .
  162. S. Ives from Ottawa, Canada writes: It appears that my paragraph mark attempts were in vain and my previous post is very difficult to read. Bob MacMillan - some very good posts.

    The section about Michael Valpy and the Globe and Mail was one paragraph.

    The section about Robin M's grandfather is one paragraph.

    The section concerning Harold Innis is one paragraph.

    The section concerning the war dead numbers is one paragraph.

    The section concerning hard decisions is one paragraph.

    The last sentence is one paragraph.
  163. Nick Warburton from Vancouver, Canada writes: D H from Montreal....So what? A lot of things about English Canada are ignored (or unknown) in Quebec. And vice versa. However, by pointing out that Newfoundlanders, aboriginal Canadians and Quebeckers may not have felt united with Canadians by Vimy proves exactly nothing. The fact remains that the vast majority of Canadians did indeed feel united by the events at Vimy Ridge, and still do, as is obvious on this page. Imagine the conniption fits if anyone were to attempt to dismantle or belittle icons of Quebec 'national' pride.
  164. diane marie from calgary, Canada writes: S. Ives:-- I read and much enjoyed your post, with or without paragraph breaks. I now feel guilty for raising the issue... I just use two 'returns' and - voila - paragraphs, and I've been known to write a few long posts (that I have had to edit, probably to good effect) and have even had a few rejected, thanks to an unacceptable word...
  165. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: steve allen....small unit tactics, coordinating different groups aka infantry and artillery to work more efficiently together. More intuition on the field at the NCO level.
  166. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Diane Marie....there are other bases for patriotism other than military strength and action but they just arent effective especially in the US. You cant even remember the candidate that talked about the Dept of Peace. Dont worry, you wont have to, they wont get to the initial vote.
  167. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: 'steve allen....small unit tactics, coordinating different groups aka infantry and artillery to work more efficiently together. More intuition on the field at the NCO level.'

    If you think those are Canadian innovations copied by the Allies you're dreaming. Give some references to back it up if you can. And I don't mean Wikipedia. I mean real military history books published by reputable houses. Good luck.
  168. diane marie from calgary, Canada writes: Brad Buss:-- It was Dennis Kucinich (2004). Let's face it - peace isn't sexy in some quarters. Many define it as the absence of war, or even the aim of war. Try not to be so cynical - it's not all that becoming, and it's usually an excuse not to articulate and nurture a goal.
  169. GlynnMhor of Skywall, Azeroth from Calgary, Canada writes: Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes: 'How might we make the jingoists realize that the act of being critical, of questioning things, is not the same as being either an ignoramus, or bad Canadian, or even a bad human being?'

    Usually the mindless criticizing of the post-modernist is exactly the same as being an ignoramus... etc. Criticism is not a good thing in and of itself, despite what clods such as Foucault or Derrida would have people believe. Nor is the usual 'criticism' merely questioning, in the sense of trying to clear up ignorance, but is generally abuse solely for the sake of abuse.
  170. GlynnMhor of Skywall, Azeroth from Calgary, Canada writes: D H from Montreal, Canada writes: '... are considered humiliations thrown upon Canadiens by the British Empire.'

    Everything in history as taught in Quebec is considered a humiliation. Even when Quebec wins issues like the conscription farce of WW2 they claim to have been humiliated.
  171. L.B. Murray from Canada writes: diane marie, I'm back on this conversation, and please don't feel bad, diane marie, about raising the great G&M ''paragraph break issue''... I'm very thankful and perhaps Bob MacMillan has the answer when he writes ''I read that this happens when an editor performs a review...'' Well, I'll have to keep my vitriolic tongue in check, after reading so much Voltaire and Rousseau in my youth, which were of course ''non grata'', being such bad influences and bringing on Revolutions from France to the U.S.A. Some people mentioned on these posts how sorry they were about not asking their fathers and grandfathers more questions about WW1. I'm one of those and I wonder how many of those troops who were at Vimy in 1917 went on to follow the Brits and their Expeditionary Force through Palestine and Mesopotamia (now Iraq) in 1919 or 1920. All I heard through my dad was that after Vimy and the horrors of France and Belgium, my American grandfather found the sands of Arabia so beautiful and never stopped talking about the Garden of Eden where the Tigris and Euphrates meet ... but had terrible nightmares about those unforgettable battles in Europe for the rest of his life. Which brings to mind that apparently, quite a few young Americans from the Northeast enlisted in Canada in 1914 when recruiters were telling them it would be a short war, 6 months at the most, and after the war, they would see Paris and London and be remembered as heroes... Lest We Forget...
  172. L.B. Murray from Canada writes: diane marie, I'm back on this conversation, and please don't feel bad, diane marie, about raising the great G&M ''paragraph break issue''... I'm very thankful and perhaps Bob MacMillan has the answer when he writes ''I read that this happens when an editor performs a review...'' Well, I'll have to keep my vitriolic tongue in check, after reading so much Voltaire and Rousseau in my youth, which were of course ''non grata'', being such bad influences and bringing on Revolutions from France to the U.S.A. Some people mentioned on these posts how sorry they were about not asking their fathers and grandfathers more questions about WW1. I'm one of those and I wonder how many of those troops who were at Vimy in 1917 went on to follow the Brits and their Expeditionary Force through Palestine and Mesopotamia (now Iraq) in 1919 or 1920. All I heard through my dad was that after Vimy and the horrors of France and Belgium, my American grandfather found the sands of Arabia so beautiful and never stopped talking about the Garden of Eden where the Tigris and Euphrates meet ... but had terrible nightmares about those unforgettable battles in Europe for the rest of his life. Which brings to mind that apparently, quite a few young Americans from the Northeast enlisted in Canada in 1914 when recruiters were telling them it would be a short war, 6 months at the most, and after the war, they would see Paris and London and be remembered as heroes... Lest We Forget...
  173. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: S Ives: 'When we say 'the lost generation', that sentiment is deadly accurate.'

    There is an outstanding book by Robert Wohl (The Generation of 1914, Havard University Press, 1979) with a chapter on the myth of the lost generation ('England: Lost Legions of Youth'). In the English world post war writers produced an outpouring of novels, memoirs, autobiographies, testaments 'meant to provide a record of personal experience that would throw light on the collective experience and fate of an entire age group.' (p. 105) The overwhelming theme is that of the destruction of an entire generation. Yet 'the number of males aged twenty to forty, per thousand of the population, dropped between 1911 and 1921 (...) from 155 to 141, hardly a devastating or radical change...' (p. 113). France with about the same population as England had twice as many dead, but their post war mythology was different.
  174. L.B. Murray from Canada writes: Oh no! My comment is posted TWICE and no paragraph breaks!
    Sorry, so sorry, what's happening with Globe and Mail??
  175. Steve Prime from Toronto, Canada writes: Al B from Toronto: I don't doubt what you said earlier about Currie but that partially supports me comments. Currie had some different way of thinking about approaching this battle while year after year the British and French did much of the same. Of course, there is even much more than what you mentioned that makes it even more complex than this.
  176. Harold Macdonald from matlock, Canada writes: I haven't the time to read all the comments. Michael is quite right; Vimy was a slaughter of Germans and Canadians, in the context of a much greater slaughter; millions dying horribly. Read 'The Bird Song'. Canada became a nation when explorers opened up the land, fur traders negotiated trade with Indians, settlers came, the aboriginals were displaced and we asserted borders. It has little to do with the disgusting carnage of European rivalries. I am with Pierre Burton and Valpy. Read also the story of air reconaissance and combat over Arras, 'Bloody April' preparing for Vimy. This attention to Vimy persuades me that we should get out of Afghanistan now. We are doing no good and our national security is not an issue. If you want security buy a zapper. Harold
  177. D C from Canada writes: Early on I was exposed to the likes of this which I just re-discovered---

    'But what good came of it at last?'
    Quoth little Peterkin.
    'Why, that I cannot tell,' said he;
    'But 'twas a famous victory.'

    Robert Southey

    'The Battle of Blenheim'

    now you don't get that in schools anymore because the last great battles of the war marked an end to the last great challenges of the land, which required discipline and duty and honour and responsibility. Vimy was an ikon for the things that might come to be in our land, but now we're misshapen and twisted and have lost all notions of what Vimy might have bequeathed us. Sophists and communists and fellow travellers have turned this place into an equality mythological gargoyle, and like Britain we are becoming weak and shivering politically correct appeasers from whom all pride has been siphoned .

    *Harold MacDonald, did you serve ?
  178. Nick Warburton from Vancouver, Canada writes: Harold MacDonald...you miss the point. Sure, if you want to be technical, Canada began its nationhood before Vimy, whether it was via the first explorers or later, on a sheet of paper. However, in the first 50-or-so years, Canadians identified more with other nations. A sense of 'us' hadn't yet been forged, as it had for the U.S. during their revolution. We were a loose collection of escapees from other nations and cultures, strung along the 49th parallel. Camaraderie is often born under difficult circumstances. That feeling of being 'in the same boat' with your fellows is a strongly unifying experience. No matter how today's detractors would portray it, Vimy was a great accomplishment by this country during an awful time in history. We can only imagine the stress and worry that average Canadians experienced during that time. To see their soldiers, as a unified Canadian force, accomplish a significant victory (that's right, Michael Valpy) under those circumstances resulted in a sudden 'feeling' of being Canadian, a sharing of love for the country and pride mixed with grief for the thousands of countrymen who had made it happen. We weren't just a country on paper any longer. You buy a zapper, Harold.
  179. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: Steve Prime: 'Currie had some different way of thinking about approaching this battle while year after year the British and French did much of the same.'

    If anything Currie was a great technocrat who was able to piece together the lessons of the Somme and Verdun. But military genius he's not. I know of no military historian, even Canadian, who would even suggest something remotely close to that. The last part is not true at all. That is quite indefensible. The French counterattacks at Verdun in the later part of 1916 showed totally new features. That was well explained in Alistair Horne, 'The Price of Glory'. Unfortunately I no longer have a copy of that little jewel of a book.
  180. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Al B http://www.civilization.ca/cwm/vimy/index_e.html 3rd paragraph

    I've always been a dreamer. you could also read John Keegan's The First World War but I am sure you have read all his published work and knew it all before.
  181. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Diane Marie.....being becomng isnt a goal for me but thanks for the advice. You call it cynicism, I call it reality and history bears this out. But goals are good things to shoot for.
  182. D H from Montreal, Canada writes: Dear Mr. Warburton, by all means enjoy Vimy and Flanders Fields. All I'm saying is that it's impossible for WW1 to be an icon for all Canadians. In Quebec City, there's a monument to the most courageous of all Canadians, the 4 citizens who were shot down by troops on Canadian soil and the scores of others who were arrested and eventually deprived of habeas corpus by the Robert Borden government, surely a British puppet. The victims stood up for peace and against the monarchy. They deserve to be remembered more than anybody else today, because they died for Canada, not King George. If most people had been like these Canadians, the world would be a better place.

    Those who lost their lives for England also deserve their tribute. Personally, I also weep for our compatriots who were conscripted and forced to defile all human decency to defend the interests of the Empire.
  183. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Well said Nick
  184. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: One of the rewarding elements about history is that it is the study of reports gathered first hand from world events and subsequent studies and analysis of these first hand accounts. The results are opinions and everyone is entitled to their opinion. The best part is that mine are the truth. Your opinions, while interesting, are irrelevant, unless shared by myself! Happy Easter ladies.... :-)
  185. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: Brad Buss, you linked to the Canadian War Museum, maybe not the best source, giving the politicisation of it. You may as well quote a grade 10 History textbook. Regardless, I didn't see anything about that great tactical revolution copied by everybody else.

    As for Keegan, I happen to own a copy of his 'The First World War' (the big illustrated version, Hutchison, London, 2001). And oopps, there are but two lines and a caption (p.295) on Vimy. And nothing about how Currie revolutionized battle tactics. Surely you can reference me. Can you??
  186. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Diane Marie....I appreciate that you have a delicate style and seem to be a sensitive person (though you have a hatred for run-on sentences, poor upper case usage, and improper paragraphs - did you have a mean English teacher who scarred you as a youth?? ;-) ).

    Something you may wish to consider is that these men who lived like beasts in the trenches didnt walk out of university and top hats and suit coats. They were rough and ready country men that were used to this type of life and certainly were no strangers to violence, guns, and hardship.

    That being said, the terror and destruction they faced is almost unimaginable but it is life and it is human nature. Perhaps you are best to read fiction and not dive into the dark recesses of human history or when you do dont criticize others who see things differently than you.
  187. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Oh Al B......while you are at it look up page 189, 5th paragraph but I do own an original and signed copy from my good friend John Keegan so it probably doesnt match to your inferior copy.

    I also own the original World War I manuscript written by the illustrious Benjamin McAlister.

    The original Versailles Treaty looks nice in my great room beside the last German tank that came off the line before the Armistice.
  188. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: Brad Buss, well I guess the case's close.
  189. S. Ives from Ottawa, Canada writes: The reference to Wohl's book is noted (and it is an excellent book), but it does not deal with the substance of my argument... and it is eurocentric.

    (NP)

    I mentioned Harold Innis in my original comment. Of his undergraduate colleagues, 237 served in the war and his class was decimated - in the true sense of the word. Slightly under 70 were wounded. At the close of 1918, there were only 105 men still enrolled at McMaster, down from 208 in 1913.

    (NP)

    From the Canadian Military Heritage Project (you have to drill through www.rootsweb.com) the toll of the first war was 595k enlisted, 418k served overseas, 90k wounded and 60k dead. Today's equivalent would be 600k wounded and 400k dead.

    (NP)

    These number arguments trivialize the sacrifice, but that is not the point. The generation was lost not simply due to a reduction in absolute numbers, but in them being sandwiched between two much larger generations, and due to the absolute psychological trauma arising from the trench warfare. These men were not capable of filling their role in domestic Canadian society; they were quite literally dead men walking.

    And as such their generation was lost.
  190. Elsie Blay from Mattawa, Canada writes: It is nice to see that Vimy Ridge is being honoured. In 90 years we can do the same for our current war heroes.
  191. Gordon Brinson from Edmonton, writes: Isn't it sad that a defining moment in our History as a Nation is demoralized by this article and some of the posters on here.

    Vimy was a great military victory, our first as a nation. We did what all others who attemped before us could not. If that is not something Canada should be proud of then what is?
    This freedom we all share was bought with the lives of soldiers who fought for this Country and its beliefs in WW1 and WW2. I doubt Mr. Valpy's Grandfather or father share his point of view. This article is a slap in the face to veterans like my grandfater.
  192. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: S Ives, Wohl was certainly not trying to trivialize the losses, because it is self-evident the effects of the war on the war generation were primarily psychological and those were long term and indelible. What I took from reading Wolh is the question as to why in each country the post war gave rise to so different myths. Surely the French soldier was as traumatized as the English soldier. Somebody should write a monograph on the Canadian context. I'm not convinced of your point but I can see the rationale. Again, that needs to be investigated.
  193. Don Adams from Canada writes:

    The world gained much from the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers.

    The world does not benefit at all from the smarm of Canadian 'journalists'.
  194. S. Ives from Ottawa, Canada writes: I believe the lines described by Brad Buss are as follows:

    >
    Because the division between upland and plain at Vimy is so radical, it was a feature which the Germans had to hold and they were to do so against repeated Allied assaults until it was taken in an epic Canadian assault in 1917.
    <

    Enough.
  195. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: You missed the original discussion.

    'Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: steve allen....small unit tactics, coordinating different groups aka infantry and artillery to work more efficiently together. More intuition on the field at the NCO level.
    Posted 07/04/07 at 6:56 PM EDT'

    Those were supposed to be Canadian invented tactics copied by everybody else according to Brad Buss.
  196. Nick Warburton from Vancouver, Canada writes: D H from Montreal...feel free to 'enjoy' your four shot citizens. Be careful about calling them 'the most courageous of all Canadians,' though. That's a bit over the top, my friend, and it's a personal opinion of yours that I don't agree with. You're arguing from an anti-English, anti-Monarchist viewpoint, whereas I wasn't saying anything against any French-Canadian. I was simply speaking up on behalf of the thousands of Canadian soldiers at Vimy who found the guts to walk up out of their trenches and face death by bomb and bayonet. Of course, living in the age we do, when a paper cut warrants a WCB claim, their courage is difficult for certain folks to fathom.
  197. James Masluk from Halifax, Canada writes: I wouldn't want want my nuts on the line with jerkoffs like you behind my back.
  198. James Masluk from Halifax, Canada writes: Referring to the author.
  199. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Al B - the case is closed in your mind because your intent is to shut people down before they start. I dont need to quote a particular tome or document so that it meets your approval thank you very much. Let's not forget this is an online newspaper forum not your PhD defense, hope as you may wish it were.

    The Canadians contributed greatly to the improved use of coordinated efforts between artillery and infantry, counter battery techniques, sapper strategy, and so on. The Allied forces learned from this and went on to use such techniques and built upon them. They succeeded at Vimy where the French and English did not earlier. All these things occurred from many factors and for many reasons.

    Vimy is a historical battle in WWI and in Canadian history that has led to our heritage and nation building. It is also heartening to see a resurgence of interest in Canadian history.
  200. S. Ives from Ottawa, Canada writes: Al B., I saw the original discussion; it began in the first 151 comments.

    I make no comment concerning the Keegan book other than providing everyone else with the full quote referenced by another at a much lower point in the discussion. I recognized the argument and I feel there is nothing I wish to add to it. I do enjoy Keegan's work and feel it should be used to enlighten.

    It is not possible to prove your original point was invalid because the book you were requesting for reference purposes has not published by a reputable house, and I doubt such a book ever will be or can be. You made a fair point, but you were also stacking the deck. ;-)

    By and large we are in agreement, and we argue over subtleties.

    As an aside, Winston Churchill had a mean English teacher too. But what a teacher, what a student!
  201. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Al B and S Ives....you two should get a room....a Conrad Black room that will have high vaulted ceilings to fit all the hot air and ego. ha ha
  202. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: I noticed this from a previous post about your style of argumentation:

    'Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: One of the rewarding elements about history is that it is the study of reports gathered first hand from world events and subsequent studies and analysis of these first hand accounts. The results are opinions and everyone is entitled to their opinion. The best part is that mine are the truth. '

    If this is how you intent to argue. Then there's no need to argue. It may not be a Ph.D defense but at least don't pretend to have sources; all you had to do was to say: F U I'm right; and I would have desisted from answering your claims.
  203. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Al B - ever heard of a joke? Cite one, reference two. As I said, I am not here to win arguments with you. I came online to comment about the article which I disagreed with. As I said, go to the higher plane quoting your significant sources and approved bibliography. Sounds like you should pursue your PhD because I hit a nerve.
  204. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: And I came to disagree with what I disagree with, namely your view. If you don't like to be challenged, then just say it. Besides the references posted here will be checked by someone on the board somewhere even if you're allergic to them.
  205. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: I am only allergic to pomposity
  206. Vasili Yeremenko from Canada writes: Interesting you bring up Keegan Al B. He told CLinton before the D-day cereminies not to forget the Canadians and has since metioned frequently the contribution of the Canadians in WW1. Part of his reason for advising Slick Willy not to forget the Canadians is thet he wrote about them as British in his WW1 book.
  207. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: 'Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Nice try Mr Valpy. Vimy is a poignant moment in Canadian history. Countries are born of fire and steel. Those who live in flower land and wish the world was driven through bee pollen and dancing nymphs are always disappointed. History is a collection of opinions and people's recollections of events. The combination of all these opinions become the history of the time. This is yet another opinion on an event that has been cemented into the Canadian psyche as a positive and dramatic event in out Country's history. Be proud of those men at Vimy that went over the trench line for freedom - lest we forget.'

    Dear Brad Buss, did you say you were allergic to 'pomposity'???
  208. Bob MacMillan from Hamilton, Canada writes: Without telling a 'war' story, I thought of another comment about the period. As I posted earlier my grandfather went overseas at the age of 15. I made a point of looking at my sons at that age and found it very hard to imagine that he could have done it. Without my grandfather's unit history and pay book, we could have written it off as a tall tale. One thing I was able to find out about this was that although my grandfather ran away from home to join up, he still maintained contact with his family by mail. If they had thought it improper, they probably could have got him out of it before he went into combat. My take on what happened is that his parents thought army life would do him some good, and if he got a bit adventure out of it, so much the better. At some point it must have dawned on them that he had a good chance of getting killed. I understand that it took while for the general population to get a sense of how bad things were. Anyways, a relative serving in the Canadian army was tasked with finding him and getting him sent home (sound familiar? Maybe saving Private MacMillan?). Lucky for me they found him OK, right after his unit did their part in the battle for Passchendaele.
  209. Dennis Petruk from Canada writes: Micheal Valpy, it's people like you who sap any patriotism Canadians have been denied since the Trudeau years. The secular, multicultural disaster which you seem to glorify in, is the reason Canadians lack any sense of what it should feel like to be 'Canadian.' Why, we're not even allowed to proclaim ourselves as 'Canadian,' on our census forms.
    You obviously understand the power the press has on the public, which makes your report even more harmful. Why shouldn't Canadians and especially young Canadians revell in our history? Why do we have to read this drivel which goes to minimize our patriotism in your Trudeauisk mantra.
    Just for once, let's enjoy being 'Canadian.'
  210. D H from Montreal, Canada writes: Dear Mr. Warburton,

    My perspective isn't anti-English, it's anti-British and anti-monarchist from a historical perspective. As to you feeling that allowing a foreign government to encourage our own troops to shoot and imprison Canadian citizens who advocate peace and who don't want their relatives to be forcefully conscripted for His Majesty's Sake is acceptable, then it's your right.

    I will certainly persist in stating that the four Quebec City victims deserve merit and a monument just as much as any other Canadian victim of WW1; however, their cause was much grander as they advocated peace and the right not to fight for a country that repeatedly brought bloodshed to their troops and homeland.

    Inevitably, WW1 failed to establish any tangible long-term peace objectives. Besides, our guys forgot to shoot Corporal Hitler and had to go back in 1939 to finish the job. And then the Brits screwed up Dieppe...
  211. Thomas Brice from Victoria, Canada writes: I think the writer of this piece of garbage your paper printed should be fired. Mr. Michael Valpy, time to return your Canadian passport.
  212. Etienne Forest from Japan writes: Dennis Petruk: you are so correct. We used to have 2 identities (minus the aborigines which I respectfully leave out to simplify matters) : British Island and French Canadian. This is also a simplification but that is precisely my point. Things were hard enough at that time as exemplified by the very different feelings of both groups towards external wars.

    Trudeau comes along and solves our divergence by multiplying the problem infinitely with his out-of-control multiculturalism.... God save us.
  213. Etienne Forest from Japan writes: PS. As I said once: wait until they remove the crest on our passport. It will happen when someone claims that it is a racist Anglo-Franco-Irelando-Scot symbol of racism and invokes Trudeau's Holy Charter.....
  214. Etienne Forest from Japan writes: Thomas Brice: I am curious, what infuriates you so much about this article? The word mythology? If so I can say that every nation needs some sort of mythology. Virgil wrote the Eneid for that purpose. Americans have all sorts of mythological views about their own past....

    To some extent, Quebecers by being a more delusional about their past, have a bigger sense of their own identity than other Canadians with the consequences we all know....

    Perhaps it is something else, but otherwise the article is rather mild....
  215. R M from Canada writes: Perhaps you had to be there Mike to see what all the hoopla was about then perhaps we would not see such garbage from you. But then heroic Canadians died so you could have the freedom to do so. Lest we forget.
  216. Tom Langford from Montreal, Canada writes: Lisa Jones of the Anglo-Celtic nation within a nation from !,, Canada writes: Furthermore, let's not forget that a huge number of the volunteers fighting in Canadian units were volunteers from the USA. I don't know why Canada's media constantly omits that important detail.

    Many Canadians volunteered and fought in Vietnam also! I served in the Canadian Armed Forces with a guy who lost a brother in Vietnam!

    Why did you not mention Canadians fought in Vietnam? I don't know why you omitted that fact!
  217. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: Al B - I am stating my opinion. Your issue is you must have read too much British history because you value volume instead of accuracy and think that the last word makes you right.
  218. Brad Buss from Toronto, Canada writes: D H - It's a long time to be bitter. The British won and there is no more Lower Canada. The PQ lost in the last election. but La Belle Province got 5 billion dollars in transfer payments and the majority of the perks from the last two budgets. Seems to me it's better to lose!

    Your monument is lovely I am sure but I will be putting a wreath at the feet of the Volunteers who fought for 3 years before the conscripts hit the battlefield in late 1917. Where did they fight again? - oh yeah, France and for the French people. Good thing the Canadians and the British were there when the brave men from la Belle Province turned their back on their homelands.
  219. F. Lister from Germany writes: I wonder what the reaction might be if Mr. Valpy were to de-mythologise, say, the Israeli 1967 'Six Day War'?.
  220. Tom Langford from Montreal, Canada writes: F. Lister from Germany writes: I wonder what the reaction might be if Mr. Valpy were to de-mythologise, say, the Israeli 1967 'Six Day War'?.

    Would that be reported as 'a measured' response?
  221. ahtung leong from Canada writes: One man's myth, another man's might. If Vimy is a myth, it is certainly no exception. All vein-popping, spittle-spewing, frothing-at-the-mouth nationalism is born of myth. But then so is religion. Coincidentally, while creating a tempest in his teacup, Mr. Valpy may also want to reflect on the importance of this Easter weekend. But then, can he see the forest while focusing on the trees?
  222. Mike Williams from Ottawa, Canada writes: I would hope the editors of the Globe and Mail are sorry for publishing this article at this time if for no other reason than the comments that it generated.

    Valpy's article demeans the efforts and sacrifices of the men who fought as Canadians -- under the Red Ensign and wearing Maple Leafs on their caps -- regardless of their place of birth and adds nothing to the historical discussion. Why the GandM felt the need to pay for and publish this opinion piece on the 90th anniversary of Vimy Ridge is beyond me.

    You shouldn't comment on Canada's contribution to WW1 until you have visited at least one of the British/Dominion cemetery's. This was one of the most moving experiences of my life and something I doubt Valpy or his editors have done.
  223. Garnet Leib from Regina, Canada writes: I hate War. We lose our young men and we continue to learn nothing from it.
  224. Bob Beal from Edmonton, Canada writes: Ahtung Leong: No one is saying that the Vimy battle itself is a myth. That particular battle was obviously quite significant in several ways as a battle, an achievement that came at considerable cost. But what people do say, and in this Valpy is merely following what historians have said previously, is that after the war, the Vimy battle was exaggerated and mythologized. It became a symbol that contributed to the development of a Canadian nationalism. No one is saying that there is anything necessarily wrong with that. It just happened that way. In any case, the Vimy memorial was designed not just to commemorate that particular battle but to commemorate the efforts of all Canadians, particularly Canadian soldiers, during the First World War. I still honestly don't understand why people are bashing Valpy.
  225. Vern McPherson from Toronto, Canada writes: And so the discussion devolved from one of content to one of form.
  226. Winston Churchill from London, Canada writes: D.H. from Montreal, in response to your bit on the Quebec City Easter rioters, some questions. Were your guys pacifists when they beat conscriptionists in the streets, burned down buildings, tried to blow up the houses of Military Services Act supporters, while ignoring appeals for peace from all sides? If so, then the acme of their pacificism was surely reached when those of them who had brought revolvers to the events (French Canadian anti-conscriptionists were often armed) opened fired on Canadian soldiers, brought in to contain their violence, followed an appeal from the Mayor of the City. I don't think I'd trust Quebec school books on this one. Go to the library and read issues of a contemporary newspaper. You'll have an interesting afternoon. Keep in mind, as well, that the worst of it would never make the paper, since wartime censorship forbid anything apt to produce inter-regional disaffection. At the end of it what will astound you is not that a few rioters were shot, but that the Government permitted so much for so long.
  227. Winston Churchill from London, Canada writes: Al B: I think the best book concerning Canadian tactical developments is Bill Rawling 'Surviving Trench Warfare: Technology and the Canada Corps', referenced earlier here.
  228. Wm. Marcovitch from Toronto, Canada writes: Proud to be a Canadian, I found in Mr. Valpy's article a measure of cynicism that was offensive and disrespectful to the sacrifice and horrors endured by our countrymen. There is no myth in Vimy. Just symbolism at a place where Canada, a melange of recent, and not so recent, immigrants all, at the time, the grunts of battle, came together as Canadians, died as Canadians, and were honoured as heros by the world at the time, as Canadians.

    Mr. Valpy makes his viewpoint in true fifth estate fashion by creating controversy which is tremendous journalism.

    What his piece also brings out is the vermin amongst us, with an excuse to promulgate their veiled prejudices. Like the comments about Vietnam and those of Mr. Lister etc. Mr. Lister should be informed that Mr. Valpy is not a Jew. And Mr. Lister should put up or shut up about the "myths" of the Six Day War.

    Wm. Marcovitch, P.Eng.
  229. Stephen Shannon from calgary, Canada writes: Elizabeth from England is not my queen.
  230. Andre Gallant from Canada writes: Great discussions folks. Every debate such as this should give some thanks for the freedoms maintained by Canadian soldiers.
  231. Chris Land from Sudbury, ON, Canada writes: There certainly is a lot of mythology that has cropped up around Vimy. But Mr. Valpy is factually incorrect when he says that the tactics used at Vimy were invented by the British. Those tactics were mostly invented by Arthur Currie who in addition to being the commander of 1st div was the head of General Byng's tactical staff. Colonel McNaughton was the guy who figured out how to have accurate counter-battery fire when you couldn't see the enemy guns and he developed creeping barrage. Arthur Currie pioneered the idea of having all of the troops know the complete battle plan. Before Vimy troops were expected to just "follow me".

    It's not to say that the innovations at Vimy were exclusively Canadian. The great skill exhibited by the Sikh gunners of the Royal Artillery at Vimy had much to do with the Victory as well. But the bulk of the important work that went on between the ears of the commanders was performed by Canadians. Canada taught the world how to fight in the 20th century. To say that our contribution to the victory at Vimy was insignificant is simply incorrect.
  232. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: 'Winston Churchill from London, Canada writes: Al B: I think the best book concerning Canadian tactical developments is Bill Rawling 'Surviving Trench Warfare: Technology and the Canada Corps', referenced earlier here.'

    Indeed. I made reference to it yesterday, 11: 44 AM. But I can't mention books anymore, Brad Buss forbade me to. Not 'accurate' enough.
  233. saul rose from writes: Your article on Vimy was like a breath of fresh air in the stifling current atmosphere of glorification of war. What a waste of effort and money to commerate war and desruction. Can we not find ways to honour peace and especially,life, and not always death and destruction? R. Rose
  234. Don Adams from Canada writes: The Don Adams who posted at 11:42 PM is not me, just an a$$hole using my name
  235. Garry Sugden from Richmond Hill, Canada writes: Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes:

    "Second, I think we should all remember Vimy with sorrow, but not with pride. Like I said, it was not a war in which Canada had any say or willing participation."

    Enzo, your statement just isn't true. In those days Canadians lived in a system of international governance, the Empire. Canadians were represented in military and diplomacy matters through their Prime Minister's position in the Imperial War Cabinet. Canadians of all kinds (including French speaking) were very proud of their place within the Empire.

    It is that experience of being a small decision maker in the Imperial system of world wide governance that gave Canada the courage and ability to participate way over its weight in world governance over the last 60 years. Canada's founder roles in NATO, the UN, peace keeping and current roles in things like the G7, World Bank and various world governance committees (including the lead on Kyoto) are examples of this.

    Lastly, virtually 100% of front line Canadian troops were volunteers. Your accusation here is a disgrace.
  236. S. Ives from Ottawa, Canada writes: I'm wondering if the problem some have with the article has to do with the twinning of 'propaganda' with 'mythology'. Propaganda has a markedly negative connotation, one I don't like (and there is an equivalent now - spin). Myth has a markedly positive connotation (in my view). Combining the two is asking for trouble.

    (NP)
    'Airbrushing' is another. We do focus on the infantry, to the detriment of the support services (other than artillary), but the support services do not tend to find their way forward into the battle face. I can't see the airbrushing Mr Valpy describes if only because that's where my relatives fought.

    (NP)
    In terms of an enduring national myth, if there had not been a Vimy, would a Dieppe have taken its place?
  237. Durward Saar from Canada writes: Vimy ridge was the first place Canadians from all across Canada fought side by side, it was and is the defining moment of our history.
    What Canada accomplished was more than just to take a hill that could not be taken by any other country in the many attempts made, we also changed the way trench warfare was waged, we created the creeping barrage which allowed some soldiers to advance while others supplied cover fire.
    No one forced us to fight as one poster claims, we were asked and answered the call, the free world exists because we answered that call twice, in two world wars.
  238. Rob Doupe from Canada writes: Chris Land from Sudbury, ON, Canada writes: To say that our contribution to the victory at Vimy was insignificant is simply incorrect. Good thing that's not what Valpy did. He didn't say Vimy was insignificant. He didn't trivialize it. He didn't besmirch the honour of those who fought. What he wrote is it has become much more prominent and more important in the minds of Canadians since the war. He points out that once Vimy stopped being a military operation and started being a civilian rallying cry, certain aspects were glossed over and others were exaggerated. It's the standout event in the Great War in the imaginations of Canadians, even though Passchendaele cost more Canadian lives, the battle of Amiens was more important in the scheme of the whole war, and the crossing of the Canal du Nord was arguably a more impressive tactical achievement. Arthur Currie himself did not believe Vimy was the most important or impressive battle fought by the Canadian Corps. For some reason, putting Vimy into its military context and explaining how the national mythology around the battle evolved, has set many people into sputtering rage. I honestly don't understand why. Read any general (non-Canadian) text on WWI and Vimy does not feature prominently. Are the authors and publishers left-wing cynics with some sort of malevolent agenda to destroy Canadian pride? History and the emotional stories we build around our national identity are two different things. Check out Flags of Our Fathers for an insight into this discrepancy. I suppose Clint Eastwood is a left-wing, Trudeau-loving cynic who wants to soil the honour of the Americans who fought in WWII.
  239. Eddy Black from Canada writes: Brad Buss; There are people who are right some of the time and people who are self-righteous. A self-righteous person believes they are right all the time. People who know everything they believe is worth knowing fit into the self-righteous category. It makes life less complicated. There is no need to read the opinions of other people and debate the point. Why bother with other opinions, when you know yours is the correct opinion because you are always right?
  240. F. Lister from Germany writes: This probably won’t be printed but here it is anyway.

    Mr. Marcovitch P. Eng. Chuckle, Chuckle, it&8217;s the &8220;Germany&8221; after my name which frequently brings out responses like yours to my comments. Go back and read my first comment. I happen to be 5th generation Canadian (English background) from Ontario. At least a dozen of my immediate family &8211; including my own father &8211; served and/or fought with the Canadian military against the Kaiser and Hitler.

    As for my &8220;veiled predjudices&8221; &8211; I attended Hillel meetings at university; I have been a guest at a ceremony in a Jewish Temple; I recently nominated a German born Jewish ex-inlaw for the Order of Canada.

    I never said, implied or assumed that anyone with the name Michael Granville Valpy was not Jewish.

    I&8217;m not crazy about radical Zionism but in most other respects I feel toward Jews as I do any other civilised people. Too bad you&8217;re not one of them.
  241. F. Lister from Germany writes: Correction: I never said, implied, or assumed that anyone with the name Michael Granville Valpy was Jewish.

    At my age it's easy to make a typing error.
  242. Andrew T from Mississauga, writes: What a disgraceful article to publish on a day meant to remember those who fought for our beliefs in WW1. I would first like to dispute many of the claims of mythology in this article, I learned in high school that the attack on Vimy Ridge was supported by British artillery, tactics as well as infantry, yet it is still a remarkable victory for Canada and the allies. According to this article the press in the U.S.A and England praised the job Canadians had accomplished at Vimy Ridge, but they are not going to carry on a legacy for another country. The victory at Vimy Ridge is a piece of Canadian history that must never be forgotten or diluted in such a way that we begin to believe that it was a "minor battle" or a battle that is insignificant in the overall outcome of the war. This article is a disgrace and should have never been published by the globe and mail. Let us celebrate and remember the thousands of people who died to achieve a goal that no other nation could achieve in World War 1. I am sure the men and women who fought to take back Vimy Ridge would disagree with the author of the article calling the events there a myth.
  243. Pierre Laliberte from Toronto, writes: Happy Easter to all of you. God bless our war vets and troops serving all over the globe.

    A special thought to a friend of mine, Cpt Patrick Lariviere of the Royal 22nd.
  244. Nick Warburton from Vancouver, Canada writes: D H from Montreal... Show me where I express the feeling that "...allowing a foreign government to encourage our own troops to shoot and imprison Canadian citizens who advocate peace and who don't want their relatives to be forcefully conscripted for His Majesty's Sake is acceptable."

    You're playing word games, DH. What I said was that I disagreed with your opinion that those four rioters were the most courageous of all Canadians ... an opinion which is an exaggeration and a comparison of apples and oranges, in my view.

    Rioters don't just get shot for the fun of it. Usually, it's because matters have gotten out of hand. In our society, order must be maintained or chaos will quickly ensue. If thousands of off-duty, pistol-packing British troops had been rioting in the streets of Montreal, I doubt if many tears would have been shed had a few of them been shot. If what "Winston Churchill from England" says about that incident is true, and rioters were firing at soldiers, then, while the loss of life was regrettable, it was not exactly wanton, either.
  245. Nick Warburton from Vancouver, Canada writes: Andrew T...this is not a criticism. I'm just genuinely curious. Which women fought at Vimy Ridge?
  246. Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes: Andrew T from Mississauga: WWI was not a war about "beliefs". What beliefs, exactly? Mother England, at time of WWI, was the world's greatest colonial power. If our "beliefs" were about freedom and justice (which is likely what you think), then we should have fought against Mother England in order to liberate her African and Asian colonies.

    Get an education, people.
  247. Michael Sharpe-Mitchell from Ottawa, Canada writes: Superior peoples conquer inferior peoples. And so the British conquered the Africans and Asians, and we gave them the means to improve themselves. It was just and good, and we should think of doing it again.
  248. Tony O'Malley from Ottawa, Canada writes: Michael Sharpe-Mitchell...: You should be bombed.
  249. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: Great post Michael... for Neo Nazis.
  250. Eclectic Observer from Vancouver, Canada writes: If this was such a minor event to everyone but Canadians, perhaps you can explain why, after this battle. Lt. Gen. Julian Byng was elevated to the rank of General and placed in charge of the British Third Army. Not to mention that Maj. General Arthur Currie was promoted, knighted, and appointed to replace Gen. Byng as commander of the Canadian Corps. If Vimy Ridge was of such little consequence, why did the French and British take 190,000 casualties trying to recapture it from the Germans? It was the brilliant performance of Canadian soldiers at Vimy that identified them as an elite fighting corps that was thereafter given some of the toughest and bloodiest assignments of the war. Vimy, from a morale point of view, presented itself as the first Allied victory in eighteen months of fighting. Vimy was also important because of the technological advances employed, particularly ithose implemented in the science of artillery by then Lt. Col. Andrew McNaughton. This article goes way to far in trying to minimize the importance of Vimy Ridge. Granted, to Canadians it has perhaps grown to mythical proportions, but that should not detract from the otherwise momentous victory that Vimy was recognized to be at the time.
  251. Michael Leblanc from Toronto, Canada writes: WW I - uneccesary war waged by greedy imperialist powers on both sides. Greed paid for in blood by millions of young men. Freedom was not at stake, national power and prestige was.

    WW 2 - necessary war against fanatical power wanting to dominate the planet and impose a reprehensible order. Enabled and caused by WW I.

    - I grieve for all young people who fight and die in wars for our country. But in the case of WW I in particular I'm well aware of the moronic leaders who sat safe behind the lines using obsolete tactics and thus causing the slaghter of millions of people for a tiny chunk of mud. So while I appalud andy commemoration ceremonies, I do lament that the British leadership failed to capitalize on our tactical victory, nor decide to fully adopt the unique barrage tactics that made it possible.
  252. M Ahmadinejacket from Calgary, Canada writes: My goodness, we do like to rise up in self righteous puffery whenever someone's ox has been decided that it's gored. A 90 year battle that is now loaded with mythology and current politics, tell me something that is of importance here. Thanks Michael Valpy for daring to write a thought provoking piece. And all the harrumphing in the world shouldn't stop such journalism to be practiced, despite all the red necked expression of vehemence and vitriol. And all the expressions of put down because of a poster's commentator's name. An appalling exhibition of bias and intolerance.
  253. Franz Baumberg from Bettendorf, United States writes: Happy Easter
    Interesting debate.After reading most of the comments ,
    now understand better,why there are wars,were wars and always will be was.
    Most people seem to be busy to show and explain why they are proud of their people,their race,their contry.Forgetting that the next person from another people ,race or country feels the same or at least should have the same right to do so.
    The plain truth is a very rare commodity and certainly does not mix with myths.Unfortunately human history is mostly myth,supported with some truth(s).
    And tell me..what area of human activity is more subjected to myths,honors,believes and other fictional attributes then the military ?
    An area were "the truth is the first casualty of a ny conflict".
    Unfortunately the ultimate sacrifice is still a dead son or daughter for a mother and father. And a monument,as big or beautiful it may be..or honor ,as much as you can get..does not bring anyone back to life.

    So honor the dead and help to so it does not have to happen again
  254. Derek Holtom from Swan River, Canada writes: had a chance to read the globe the past couple of days, and I was not impressed. esp. the writer who inferred Canada shouldn't have taken part in the First World War, and only half-heartedly supported our participation in the Second World War.
  255. Doug Herman from Canada writes: Some of the comments are a little nutty, but mostly pretty intelligent ,much better than most comment sites. I'm torn between admiration for some really good tactics and the fact that added glory makes war seem more romantic than it is. War is for the intellecually weak. It really makes me sad.
  256. Kay Ay from East of To., Canada writes: Sometimes isn't it a small victory that is needed to give people a purpose.
    I really don't understand why there is a need to negate this battle just because it wasn't the most important of the war....there weren't enough casualties? I perfer my grandfather's recounting of this event thanks.
  257. Brendan MacNeill from Canada writes: So what is all the hoopla over Valpy’s article? Michael Valpy is a self-avowed British monarchist (a Canadian monarchist is an oxymoron isn’t it?). And isn’t he then simply doing what a British monarchist should do; that is try to promulgate the myth of the superiority of all things British; especially if it can be done at the expense of Canada (or, for that matter, any other upstart former colony)? That is the real myth at the core of the article. But methinks it has backfired on this crown kisser. The article has elicited such a wealth of informative response, that I am sure, many like myself, now feel a little more educated and perhaps even more proud of this pivotal event in our gradual movement towards being a sovereign nation; that is, a nation with no foreign sovereign as head of state.
  258. TANJA H from Canada writes: being a proud patriat it disgusts me that out countyr pays so little respect to our vetrens and service persons. Children today should be taught about our heros and not let any of this happen again.we are so into preserving new immigrants heritage, we shove ours by the way side. i am a first generation canadian and the only reason my children will know about vimy, dieppe, dunlkirk, vietnam and all the other conflicts we have been involved in will be because i will tell them. the school sysytem and the government should be ashamed of themselves for without the sacrifices of those men and women we would not be the great nation we are today. they deserve more respect then this. rememberance day should be a national holiday and those people should be thanked every day.
  259. Jim Cohoon from Chilliwack, Canada writes: Every politician at the national level of every country would be wise to comprehend the power of national myths. As Theodore White (in 'Breach of Faith') wrote of Richard Nixon: "The true crime of Richard Nixon was simple: he destroyed the myth that binds America together, and for this he was driven from power". No myths, no nation. Whether that is a good thing is an entirely different question.
  260. Patrick Perrella from Vancouver, Canada writes: As a subscriber to the Globe & Mail I am concerned about the publication of the article by Michael Valpy about Vimy Ridge, and all other subscribers should be too.

    It appears the article may have been published simply to ruffle feathers, and thereby attract publicity for the paper, its website, and the author.

    The article's main point seems to be that first world war Canada was very tied to the British, that the battle was smaller on the grand scale of things, and that it was symbolic (in part because it was the first allied victory in a long time).

    Since all of this is old news, what does the article accomplish besides using inflammatory language and sensationalism to attract a response? (Not to mention insult our vetrans and their memory.)

    This is something one expects of a sensationalist "news-o-tainment" paper. Not usually something from the Globe and Mail.
  261. Robin Baker from United States writes: What Vimy Ridge and those that fought it, gave to me.

    They were Canadians. I am Canadian. Canadians standing together, against all weather of foes. That to me is Vimy Ridge. That to me makes my Canada.
  262. R. Thompson from Ottawa, Canada writes: Before I get to my real comment - I'm going to state that I have a vested interest in Valpy's article. I studied Canadian History -emphasis on military history some 25 years ago at university. I am a 4th generation Candian serviceman and about to watch the 5th generation take her oath. I have some definite biases. That out of the way - I believe Valpy's commentary is accurate - insofar as it goes - Valpy did not take it to the full conclusion he needed to. He took comments out of context and used the work of giants to promulgate a pygmy's effort. World War I - for anyone who has read the Tuchman's "The Guns of August" and other material - was a program of failed diplomacy and statecraft. It cost the world a lost generation and World War II. Vimy, although somehwhat mythological in the telling, along with Galliopoli, was the beginning of the end of the British Empire. The colonies discovered they could fight and act as equals with Mother Britain and more importantly, Mother Britain discovered the same thing. Canada was invited to participate in the Paris Peace Conference and be a signatory to the Versailles Treaty because of her war record - starting with Vimy Ridge. The Balfour Declaration of 1926, followed by the Statute of Westminister of 1931 were promulgated, partially as a result of what the colonies - and make no mistake - until 1931 - Canada, Australia and New Zealand were colonies - accomplished during WW I. Valpy missed this entire second half - thereby antagonizing, and rightfully so, people who are very proud of Canada's history and her actions at Vimy Ridge.

    Lest We Forget.
  263. diane marie from calgary, Canada writes: Patrick:-- I read the article, read dozens of posts all day yesterday, and then re-read the article today (in the print edition). Many readers probably did not read the long article on the opposite page, by the same author, about the restoration of the monument. I cannot understand what you are so worked up about. This is one man's view of things. He is a respected journalist. This did not appear in the National Enquirer. What - to question our understanding of something that happened 90 years ago is not permitted? Are we not to question the Flat Earth Society? An earth-centered universe? Put an event and our perceptions of it in the context of history?

    I sensed nothing inflammatory about it, nor anything sensationalist. Even if some readers perceived that, what is wrong with trying to encourage debate? When would it be convenient for you? Mr. Valpy merely tried to describe how and why an event, whether or not it seemed deserving or self-evident at the time, has become mythic to Canadians. Is that not what each and every one of us does when we reconsider the events of our own lives, as we ponder the past and our new perspective on things as we have aged, become more experienced, perhaps even wiser? Is it unseemly that a nation should do this? Must the events of the past dictate that we remain unchanged?
  264. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: Not to take away anything from your argument but I want to point out that Portugal along with numerous other minions was also at Versailles. I'm pretty sure it's not on account of the their shiny war record.
  265. Bob Beal from Edmonton, Canada writes: Thank you, R. Thompson. I think you provide perspective on this when many others simply provided reaction. I do think you are a little hard on Valpy. There was only so much he could do in a newspaper piece. And, most of his writing of Saturday, only half of which the Globe posted on its website and most of which the posters here ignored, was about the making of the magnificent Vimy memorial. And, the Vimy battle really does need a little bit of demythologizing. I hope, and expect, that the official party at tomorrow's rededication emphasizes what that memorial was designed to do: commemorate the whole of the Canadian experience during WWI, not just the actions of a few days at Vimy Ridge.
  266. R. Thompson from Ottawa, Canada writes: The point about Canada being a signatory to Versailles is this - Canada was still legally a colony - not entitled to the recognition of an independent nation state - such as Portugal was at the time. Until 1919 and the Versailles Treaty - Canada's foreign affairs were conducted by Britain - same holds true for Australia and New Zealand. This distinction - between that of colony and independent nation is the actual driving motivator behind the "mythology" of Vimy Ridge and the idea that Canada as a nation was born. The Anzacs point to Gallipoli in much the same fashion - since they were the troops sacrificed to incompentent British generalship - their own leaders ignored and defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.
  267. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: Point taken.
  268. HOWARD S from Canada writes: Nr. Valpy does not give Vimy its just dues. Little battles can often be turned in to rallying cries. Remember the Alamo, a small little battle in the middle of nowhere? Boston tea party?

    While Mr. Valpy points to the contribution of others being ignored, he fails to reconize the pride that is associated with a group of your fellow citizens doing the extraordinary. Why else would any of us care about the Olympics - does being able to run around a track 1/100th of a second faster than someone else make an iota of difference? Not really,but we all look on with tremendous pride as our anthem is played.

    Vimy had and continues to have that kind of impact!
  269. Don Micheals from Canada writes: It is not the merits of M. Valpy's piece I object to. It is the inappropriateness of the G&M, firstly to publish it at this particular time; and secondly to let the ranters run on and on explaining why their particular opinions are so much more valid than anyone else's. Can you imagine if some journalist had questioned the mythology of the Resserrection at Easter??

    After all the G&M had no such compunctions about cutting posters off when the subject was about Native protesters. But of course that is a current event where posters might articulate some inconvenoent truths! and it is much safer to talk about history.
  270. Peter Carle from Toronto, Canada writes: To all those who would maintain that Vimy was a glorious sacrifice of young Canadian men to maintain liberty, suffice it to say that they are blissfully ignorant about the historical events that led to it such as the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente as well as the historical events that followed it.
    The Pulitzer winning historian Barbara T. chronicled these events very well in books such as " The March of Folly"
    Wars are inane by nature, akin to fights by hired goons in hockey and usually foughts by the young, poor and stupid for the personal benefit of those who aren't anywhere near risking life or limb....
    Of all the wars fought, WWI, is probably the most pointless of all and should stand only as a monument to human stupidity.There was nothing glorious about it. A lot of country hicks died for nothing as in the end nothing was saved nor preserved and everybody lost...

    Myths are for children..myths are Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
    Like glorifying " The Battle Of New Orleans" which was fought after the end of the War of 1812, anything that glorifies participation in WWI is moronic.
    The Quebecois got it right when they refused to participate in a war between crumbling Empires...Egads!
  271. nathan w from China writes: Great piece. I've wondered about this before, but never took the time to think about it much. While I will probably still continue to regard Vimy Ridge as an important Canadian contribution to the outcome of the war (for better or worse), I really appreciate reading this kind of questioning perspective in the mainstream media. All due respect for those who gave their lives fighting for 'the good guys', they meant well and paid the ultimate price for standing up for the side that nationalism led them to believe in. Let's hope it never has to happen again.
  272. W M from Canada writes: My complaint is with the headline more than the article. There is nothing mythical about Vimy and nothing surprising about its having become an iconic battle. Firsts have a tendency to trump biggests and Vimy was a first for Canada (first time fighting together, first victory for a Canadian army corps, first allied offensive success of WWI). Other actions, such as the taking of the Drocourt Queant switch, may have been more important in a strictly military sense, but not in terms of national and allied morale, none have compared to Vimy. Moreover, the monument had to go somewhere. And, Michael Valpy is clearly missing the point in mentioning that many of the troops were recent British immigrants. The important point is that the fought as Canadians and returned to Canada as prouder Canadians. In fact, at a time when immigration is at its highest point in over a century and we are worried about the ties that bind us as Canadians, the fact that many were recent immigrants but self-identified as Canadians, rather than as British, is a very important point for current immigrants to know. Too often, in our rush to encourage newcomers to keep their old culture and ties, we forget to communicate to them that Canada, too, has a history of which they can be proud. We need to tell them about it and invite them to make it their own. My father wasn't born here, but he sure as heck self-identifies as Canadian and considers Canada's history to be his history. That is a very good thing!
  273. David W from St. John's, Canada writes: 5000 Canadian kids flying to Europe so that they can be propagandized and used as a prop for Harper to give speeches about how Canadian intervention is always noble and selfless. That equals about 5000 tonnes of CO2 released into the atmosphere (not counting the hot air emanating from Harper's mouth)...something we can all be proud of!
  274. Andrew T from Mississauga, writes: Enzo Campini: For starters I have a post secondary degree at a top 10 Canadian University. Furthermore, if you took a introduction to politics course, it will be come clear that wars are fought over political ideologies (for those without a post secondary education, these are mearly belifs)... A quick search for the cause of WW1 and i came back with this: "Strong feelings of nationalism fed the fires of hatred in pre-war Europe. It turned Frenchman against German and Russian against Austrian. Nationalistic speeches and writings (especially in countries like Germany) hastened the war by painting it as the best test for proof of national superiority. " For those without post secondary degrees this just means "I belive my country is better than your country"..... A mere belief... or to take you example enzo the British fought in WW1 due to their beliefs that their method of government was better than the axis. And whatever the Canadian beliefs were during WW1 (I don't know i wasn't alive) they must have been the same beliefs as the rest of the allies (whether the beliefs were right or wrong) and that is why we didn't fight "Mother England"... Furhtermore, Enzo you may be familar with the saying assumptions are the mother of all screw-ups so your assumption of the beliefs being "freedom & justice" is incorrect. Anyways if you are going to post on a subject and tell people to get an education, you should take the time to make sure you don't make assumptions, it is disrespectful to the person you are incorrectly quoting.
  275. Bob Neubauer from Vancouver, Canada writes: Andrew T

    I have a post secondary degree in Political Science from a top FIVE university. I have moved far beyond introductory level courses, and I can confidently say that there is a vibrant and diverse bebate surorunding the question on why wars are fought. Ideology certainly plays a part, but there there are certainly other factors- balance of powers, competition for resources, path dependency, the structure of a state's policy apparatus, the dynamic nature of security dilemnas, even the personal quirks of leaders national leaders. Upon further inspection, a credible case could be made for any one of these factors contributing to the outbreak of World War I. The nationalism argument is more high school than post-secondary - which is to say correct, but simplistic and incomplete.

    Furthermore, WWI seems to be quite interesting in that the alliance systems were stuctured in such a way as to be almost divorced form ideology. There was no common ideology, belief, government system, etc that bound England, French, and Russia. Rather there was a series of alliances based on geopolitical strategy.
  276. Cheap Skate from Vancouver, Canada writes: During the battle of Arras (9 April 1917 - 15 May 1917, the Canadians fought alongside the British first and third armies. During the fighting, casualties surpassed 150,000 for the British, 100,000 for the Germans. No strategic breakthroughs were achieved, but a major tactical victory was achieved at Vimy Ridge. Valpy is correct. No major strategic victory was won, but the success of the Canadians can be determined by the events that followed. Every single tactical changed introduced by Bing and Currie was copied by all other national forces, including the Germans. What Vimy shows us, is not that Canadians are good colonials. It demonstrates that after being ignored by our parents in France and England, that the Canadian way of doing things sometimes has a better chance of succeeding. Even something as simple as using tumplines (headband warn to increase the amount a soldier could carry on his back) was rejected by other countrys because is smacked of slave labour. In Canada, it was simply the way things were done in the bush. Canada grew up not because of the fighting at Vimy. Rather it was that everyone else realised that Canada was no longer going to be subservient to the old colonial masters. What is unfortunate is that we are now moving to let another nation take on that roll in place of the two original failed European emires.
  277. JOYIM M from Canada writes: I think we can appreciate how this event is used as a symbol of Canada's contribution to the wars.
  278. Rachel Kyne from Canada writes: This is a good discussion and an important one. Readers of history (with post-secondary degrees or no) will know that every 'factual' recounting eventually becomes a myth--not in the sense that the events become untrue, but that within the larger context of the interpreting culture and politics, those 'facts' take on their own meaning. Trying to assign a moral value to this myth by comparing it to the 'facts' of what happened is like trying to compare a victim's memory of a crime to the forensic reports from the lab. They are two different but intertwined things. This battle was not fought solely by Canadians and was part of a much larger (unsuccessful) offensive, within the enormous scope of a four-year war. Fine. Those facts do not diminish the coexisting reality that this battle was pivotal to the identity of the Canadian armed forces; to the memories of the Canadians who fought in the war; to the memories and imaginings of their families at home; and finally, to the thousands of young Canadians who lost their lives, many not even old enough to hold post-secondary degrees. It's out of that sort of pain that myths, and sometimes monuments, are created. Did they know what they were fighting for? Probably not. Do you know why you go to work everyday? Probably not. But to the self-satisfied cynics who believe that allied soldiers fought only because of the dictates of a short-sighted government, I say this: Go to France. Walk in the streets and fields that still bear the physical marks of this war and the one that followed it. Listen to the people in the towns and cities who grew up under the echoes of those guns. Try to tell them that this battle, and the countless others that are not commemorated by name, were nothing more than a myth. Then look around you, think what you have, and try to tell yourself the same thing. Then thank God or whatever else you pray to that you have this myth and others like it.
  279. william Mc Connell from Canada writes: Valpy's prologue is a cynical piece, without merit. Vimy was a significant victory at a crucial stage of WW1. Mr Valpy should try telling the Australians, British or Americans that Gallipoli, El Alamein and Iwo Jima were not significant contributions, but minor events hyped by their countries' propaganda. The only mythology and fakery here is in the quality of the article itself.

    WMc
  280. Terry McManus from London, Canada writes: Michael Valpy has made a career out of denigrating all things English when it comes to Canada; including immigrants. The only thing more objectionable than his attempt to minimize the sacrifice of our brave young men is the meek response by the Globe & Mail when one of their own screws up. If it had been Conrad Black who postulated such gibberish, you would have had him hung, drawn and editorially quartered. Hypocrites!
  281. Estee Tabernac from writes: If Mr. Valpy doesn't appreciate the Battle of Vimy Ridge as being a defining moment in Canadian History, perhaps he could offer something else. No doubt something dealing with politics or mundane monetary matters. At least the battle displays the best and worse in the human condition. I find this cynicism to be quite rampant in the Globe lately. They deliberately seek ways to undermine even the smallest part of what it means to be Canadian. To what end I have no idea.
  282. Jim Shepherd from Lima, Peru writes: Michael Valpy fails to point out that Canadians entered the World Wars as peasants (miners, farmers, loggers, and fishermen), and emerged into an industrialized country that few would find fault with.

    Prior to the Canadian Citizenship Act of 1947, we were just British Subjects, and "Canadians" did not even exist in the legal sense.

    Guess who got Citizenship Certificate number 000001? Former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.

    My mother still has not taken out Canadian Citizenship, although she arrived in Canada in 1927 from Scotland, when she was 7 years old.

    How anyone could possibly spend 80 years in Canada without acquiring Canadian Citizenship escapes me, but then my mother is definitely not the typical sort. Best Regards.
  283. S. Ives from Ottawa, Canada writes: Rachael Kyne and Cheap Skate: Good comments. Note though that a large number of the soldiers knew exactly what they were fighting for (God and Freedom), not what we attribute to them (King and Country). And, of course, a lot thought it would be (sadly) a lark.

    As for the rest, my reading is that Michael Valpy appreciates Vimy much more than most of us. His offering is one of the richest offered to the general public I have seen since Pierre Berton. Think his words through again, all of them.
  284. Serge Loutch from Kingwood,Texas, United States writes: When I resided in Canada, way back in the early 50's, I do not remember any special commemoration of the First World War, and the battle of Vimy.
    At the time Canada and the rest of the so-called "civilized" world, under the US leadership, was concentrated on Stalin's hordes alleged readiness to pounce on Wester Europe.
    My question, why this Vimy story at this time? What's its connection with Canada's and NATO involvement in Afghanistan? Another war based on lies!
    Kingwood,Texas,USA
  285. Colin Macdonald from Formerly Waterloo, ON, United States writes: Valpy's piece is a thoughtful, analytical article on the myth and meaning of the Battle of Vimy Ridge that I find typically Canadian. If you want unabashed patriotism there are plenty of sources for that. That being said, I do think he went too far in shifting praise from our officers and men to the British army under which we were ultimately serving. Having read some accounts of the conduct of our soldiers in the world wars, I hold a fondness in my heart for the character of our troops and their achievements in battle. Despite not being instigators or players with a large say in these conflicts, we fought with a courage and intelligence that won the respect of ally and ememy alike. However I believe that war memorials should serve mainly as focus points of national sorrow and remembrances for the many lives that might have been. The Vimy monument expresses these sentiments well, serving not as a celebration of power or victory, but as a memorial to the dead and warning to future generations of the horrible cost of descending to bloody carnage to settle disputes. These sentiments are expecially fitting for a WWI memorial, where so many lives were violently ended for the pointless causes of "King and Country" or "Glory of the Empire".
  286. Henry Flam from Vancouver, Canada writes: To quote a phrase from the anti-war song, And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, Vimy Ridge was an "obscure battle in an obscure war" (about the Battle of Gallipoli). Only Canadians care much about a skirmish in the Battle of Arras, which was a defeat for the Entente. Instead singing paeans about it, Canadian educators should be teaching students about the futility of WW1 and how it was an murderous introduction to the bloody wars of the 20th Century.
  287. Henry Flam from Vancouver, Canada writes: Oops, I have to make a correction, the phrase is "an obscure battle of a forgotten war"
  288. S. Ives from Ottawa, Canada writes: Ah, Henry, you are taking the phrase out of context... and it isn't really anti-war in the general fashion.

    The song is so powerful because of Eric Bogle's ending refrain, so appropriate for this article and these times:

    "And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong,
    Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me?"
  289. Richard Barr from Montreal, Canada writes: Why are we, as Canadians, unable to celebrate our history with pride of accomplishment - which is not the same as condoning war! Why does Vimy have to be a national myth? Mr. Valpy's piece is just more whining when the author doesn't like the story. Bad news, fellow Canadians, history is not politically correct!
  290. S. Ives from Ottawa, Canada writes: When history is written by the winners, you can be assured that it is politically correct.

    Michael Valpy appreciates the story of Vimy, and his article pursues the question of why it has become worthy of mythical status.
  291. I R from Vancouver BC, Canada writes: Anyone heard of Lord Byng of Vimy?
  292. madison miller from toronto, Canada writes: I do not understand how somebody could say that the battle of vimy ridge was unimportant. Even if that was completely true, do we not owe a bot of respect to the people that gave Canada its national identity? Whether you believe that vimy ridge was unimportant or pof the upmost importance, I think we can all agree that it is disrespectful to the people that lost their lives in this battle to say that the battle was unimportant.
  293. Jamie Gairns from Vancouver, Canada writes: Enzo, we are supposed to be proud of our involvement in WWI because we went into the war as a quaint little British colony and we proved to the entire world that Canadian soldiers were the elite fighting force of the war. We did what the powers could not & helped turn the tide.

    For me, a big issue was that since we weren't a country yet, and were there serving the interests of Britain, we still managed to prove ourselves. What did Canada have to gain? Pride.

    Cheers,

    Jamie
  294. Jim Hill from Canada writes: Myth or not , it holds far more meaning than the assertions that the Americans won the war and saved France! Given that they never put boots on the ground in France until 26 June 1917

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