Defining Moments in Canadian history.

Essay by dusclarHigh School, 10th grade June 2003

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All throughout Canada in the 20th Century there have been numerous events actions and decisions that we call defining moments. Canada has been through many battles, very hard chosen decisions, and gone through many changes that have changed the way Canadians live today. Certain people have influenced the country in a positive way and made Canada a stronger nation. Events such as the battle of Vimy Ridge, the formation of NATO, the creation of the Canadian flag and people such as Lester B. Pearson all assisted in defining Canada as a nation.

Vimy Ridge ran almost 12km north-east of Arras. The Germans occupied Vimy Ridge in September 1914 and their engineers immediately began to construct a network of artillery-proof trenches and bunkers. These were protected from attack by Machine Gun Posts. Repeated French attempts to take Vimy Ridge cost about 150,000 casualties between May and November 1915. Although the French were able to take the villages of Carency, Neuville St Vaast and Souchez, Vimy Ridge remained under the control of the Germans.

The British took over the Arras sector in March 1916. Immediately, British corps commander, Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Wilson, planned a counter-attack, but it was disapproved by his commanding officer, Sir Douglas Haig. The Canadian Corps, led by Lieutenant Sir Julian Byng, replaced the British at Arras in the winter of 1916. On April 8th, 1917, 30,000 Canadian soldiers began heading toward the front line. The next morning, over 2800 allied soldiers began attacking the German trenches and soon afterwards the Canadian soldiers went into No-Mans-Land. The 1st division was led by A.W. Currie and they were well known for using an attack strategy called a creeping-barrage which was when soldiers bombard enemy defences with all available heavy artillery. Arthur Currie's division captured the Zwolfer Graben trench system within...