Honour of the Battlefield (Canadian point of view)

Essay by ShurakaiHigh School, 11th gradeA, November 2004

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The battlefield, at one point in time, was a place of honour. Militants who were thought of as heroes are now viewed as mere men who have seen, and challenged, the face of death.

Before World War I, the Canadian military basically did not exist. It consisted of a platoon, and a couple of militias - a mere branch of the British army. When WWI had begun, the Canadian Army recruited men from all across the country to form a nice sized, small-country army. The Canadian militants were sent out as the "expendable" ones. Thrown against the enemy border to prevent invasion, the "Canucks" were ordered to "hold the line".

It was in this time that chemical warfare, or even any warfare past artillery shells, and lead bullets, became conceivable. The French, entrenched further north on the border, were hit with chlorine gas, shot in artillery shells, sending sheer panic through the flurry of confusion.

This opened the northern border for invasion and attack from behind the Canadians. When the Canadians heard of this falter, they reformed their trenches for an all-around defense, directly disobeying direct orders. This move, however, brought the German invasion to a dead halt. The Allies viewed this defiance of orders as a brilliant immediate reaction on the part of the Canadian officers and soldiers, and the Canadians had gained very high respect by the Allies. All Canadian males were now seen as naturally ingenious militants; they had a second intuition for the military.

To have broken such a strict command, of holding the line, would have usually ended in someone's head being lopped off. But this time was different; the Allies noticed that the Canadians, not listening to the British training, and conforming to their own rules, pointing out what was just stupid...