Canadian History Readings Understanding Direct and Indirect Causes

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Understanding Direct and Indirect Causes
Reading # 1:
Last Monday Jane left for school in a rather foul mood as she had quarrelled all weekend with her parents over how late she should be allowed to stay out at night. Her mood did not improve when she saw Bill (who she had a crush on) flirting with a good-looking girl on the bus.
She was surprised to discover in period 1 that the class was to have a science test. She wrote it but was sure she failed. Her favourite class (History) was cancelled period 2 because the teacher was absent. Jane spent time by herself, trying to finish her math homework which was giving her problems. In period 3 the teacher returned an English test. When the teacher handed Jane her paper, on which she got 63%, he said, “I think you could do better than this!” Jane immediately burst into tears and rushed out of the room.
Discussion Questions:

What caused Jane to react this way?

List all the indirect and the direct causes.

Reading # 2:

In September Bill drove through an intersection and was killed in a car crash. The police officer investigating the accident noted the slight fog and wet slippery road on his report. The coroner’s report indicated that Bill’s blood contained a high percent of alcohol, enough to indicate a state of intoxication. Bill had left a party at 2 a.m. in a drunken state but none of his friends attempted to stop him from getting behind the wheel. They all knew that Bill had a violent temper and would get very mean and nasty after he’d been drinking. A mean temper was always part of Bill’s character.
Drinking, however, was something fairly new to Bill. He’d only become a serious problem drinker since he’d failed out of university. That failure really shook him up. He had really disappointed his fiancée by doing that and they had broken off their engagement a short time after that.
Discussion Questions:

What were the direct and indirect causes leading to Bill’s accident?

Reading # 3:

In the city of Maxton there were a number of different motorcycle gangs. The main ones were:

  1. The Grim Reapers

  2. The Desperados

  3. The Black Angels

  4. The Devil’s Own

  5. The Quiet Ones

  6. The Stampeders

The Black Angels got together with the Grim Reapers and the Devil’s Own and together they decided to take over control of Maxton and surrounding vicinity. They called themselves the “Triple Threat”. The three remaining gangs decided they too should bury the hatchet so they created a big club known as the “Triple Solution.”

Each club considered its members to be the best and attempted to show up their rivals by driving bigger bikes and boasting whenever they had the opportunity. Naturally the two groups began to hate and distrust each other more and more.
With so much hatred around, the Triple Solution decided that they would have to protect their members so they created a special group of bodyguards who carried around dangerous weapons but said that they wouldn’t use them unless necessary. When the members of the Triple Threat saw these heavily armed gang members they decided that they too needed a strong fighting force so they created a similar “bodyguard”.
Soon it was difficult to keep the two groups apart. They each controlled a lot of territory but they seemed to want more – especially on the outskirts of town. One day a gang leader was killed. No one was exactly sure of who was responsible but each side blamed the other, and before you knew it, all the motorcycle gangs in Maxton were at war with another. Even motorcycle clubs not in Maxton became involved.
Discussion Questions:

  1. What were the indirect causes of this motorcycle club war?

  2. What was the direct cause of the war?

The Causes of World War I

On June 28, 1914, Grand Duke Franz Ferdinand, the popular heir to Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife were assassinated while on a state visit to Sarajevo in the Austrian province of Bosnia. The assassin was Gavrillo Princip, a Bosnian. It was suspected that he was backed by the Serbian secret police. Events moved quickly. The world was shocked by the murders. People generally wanted some punishment of Serbia.
Austria sent an ultimatum to Serbia. It demanded, among other things, Serbian assistance in stamping out the terrorist group responsible for the murders. The German government supported Austria in its demands. Germany’s support has often been called a “blank cheque”, because it promised to support whatever Austria decided to do. This turned out to be a serious mistake.
Serbia’s existence as an independent nation was at stake. It accepted all but two of the terms of the ultimatum. But Austria declared war on Serbia anyway. This was because Serbia was attempting to unite the Slavic minorities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Serbs must be taught a lesson.
In support of Serbia, Tsar Nicholas II ordered the huge Russian army to prepare for war. Once these preparations began, they were not easy to stop. Germany asked Russia to stop its mobilization. It refused, and Germany declared war.
France, which was allied with Russia immediately began to mobilize as well. Many French military leaders welcomed the possibility of war with Germany. It would provide them with an opportunity to get revenge for their defeat by Prussia some forty years earlier. Some German military leaders also welcomed the prospect of war with France.
Germany, frightened by the mobilization of Russia’s monstrous army, decided it had to act swiftly. The German “Schlieffen Plan” called a lightening strike by most of the army against Paris. It was expected that this would defeat France within six weeks. Unless they acted before Russia’s immense army was fully mobilized, the Germans would have to fight war on two fronts. Believing that the British would stay out, Germany declared war on France.
Germany attacked France by going through Belgium on August 4, 1914, and Britain therefore declared war on Germany. Thus a conflict that had begun a month earlier with pistol shots in a small Balkan town led Europe into the most devastating conflict in its history.

Source: Iain R. Munroe. Canada and the World Wars. (Toronto: Wiley Publishers of Canada Limited, 1979) pp. 31-32.

Canada Enters the First World War
At eleven o’clock in the evening of August 4, 1914 (midnight in Berlin), the British government handed the German ambassador in London a declaration of war. Earlier that day Germany’s elite Uhlans Cavalry had crossed the frontier of Belgium. In so doing, Germany had violated the long-standing British treaty with Belgium which guaranteed Belgium neutrality. By midnight of the same day, Britain’s declaration of war had brought the entire empire into the conflict.
In 1914, the Empire was the greatest the world had ever known, … It covered a quarter of the earth’s land surface, and its influence reached everywhere. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa were all parts of this vast company of nations and cultures.
Without the Empire’s support, Britain’s success in war would have been far less certain. The Royal navy “ruled the wave.” However, the manpower, surplus food, and economic wealth of the dominions would prove to be essential for maintaining the Allied war effort during the next four years.
Most Europeans expected little contribution from countries like Canada and Australia, who were removed from the European quarrel. Many felt that these distant colonies would show little loyalty. However, the size and swiftness of the imperial response astonished all of Europe and amazed even the British leaders.
The colonies and former colonies prepared for war with incredible speed. Except for India, none had a large regular army. In August of 1914, Canada had a permanent force of only 3110 men. Nevertheless, within two months of the outbreak of war, Canada armed 30 000 men and sent them to Britain in a great flotilla of 32 ships…
… At the start of the First World War, Canada had a regular army of only 3110 soldiers and 684 horses. There was a reserve militia, which provided enthusiastic amateur soldiers with, on the average, four days of field training a year. One Canadian army officer described the reserve as “the most expensive and ineffective military system of any civilized country in the world.”
And yet, by 1918, a full-time fighting force of 100 000 soldiers, led by Canadian generals, had won a combat reputation second to none. By the end of the war in November, 1918, a total of 619 636 Canadian men and women had served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Of this number 59 544 never returned and 172 950 were wounded.
Canada’s contribution to the “Great War” was a remarkable achievement for a population of fewer than eight million. …
… Colonel Sam Hughes, Lindsay, Ontario, newspaperman, had become Minister of Militia and Defence in 1911. His enormous vitality resulted in an amazing recruiting effort, mustering over 30 000 volunteers at a training camp at Valcartier, on the outskirts of Quebec City. In early October 1914, the First Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force was heading across the Atlantic for Britain. …
… The Canadians were disappointed to find that they had to spend a long, cold wet winter in a tent camp on the Salisbury Plain. Lord Kitchener, the British Minister of War, had not been too impressed by the Canadian forces when they arrived in England. This led to a heated exchange between Kitchener and our tough Minister of Defence, Sir Sam Hughes. …
… Hughes had his way. Canadian forces were to fight as a unit in the war. … By Christmas of 1914, one experienced Canadian detachment, the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, had already reached France. The Canadian division crossed to France in February of 1915. They and the 400 000 Canadians who followed them were to distinguish themselves for their ability and courage.
When the troops first volunteered, many had done so promising their loved ones they would return within the year. Little did they know, in those early months, that the war on the Western Front would soon bog down into years of stationary warfare with neither side gaining any real advantage. Each new attempt to break through the enemy lines would turn into a mass slaughter. Men were ordered by the tens of thousands to advance straight into enemy machine-gun fire and through an incredible mass of mud and barbed wire.
It was during this first foreign experience that Canadians began to earn their overseas reputation for raw courage. Canadian troops also became known for their breezy disregard for rank. Their relaxed attitudes toward rank and discipline contrasted with the regimentation of the more class-conscious British army. A cartoon appeared about them in the popular British magazine Punch. In it, a Canadian officer instructs his men, “And now, boys, we are to be inspected by an English general. And while he is here, be careful not to call me ‘Alf’.”
Source: Iain R. Munroe. Canada and the World Wars. (Toronto: Wiley Publishers of Canada Limited, 1979) pp. 32-36.

Canada at War: The War in the Air

The Wright brothers built the first successful airplane. They flew it at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903. Six years later John McCurdy flew the Silver Dart at Baddeck, Nova Scotia. The Silver Dart had been designed by McCurdy and Alexander Graham Bell. However airplanes were regarded as “too expensive a luxury for Canada to indulge in.” At the outbreak of World War I Canada had no planes and no pilots.
This attitude did not appeal to young Canadian flying buffs. Many went to Britain to join the Royal Flying Corps. They were among the best fighter pilots of the war.
Aircraft Design
By 1914 aircraft design had not advanced greatly. Most planes flew at about 150 km/h. They had open, single seater cockpits. At first planes were used mainly to observe enemy troop movements. The thrill of flying united all pilots – British, German, French. As their planes passed above the lines of battle, they would wave to each other. But then some pilots started to bring rifles into the cockpit. They shot at enemy planes in order to stop information reaching the enemy generals. The friendly game was over. The war in the air had begun.
The next step was to mount a machine gun on the plane. The problem was to avoid hitting the propeller. One British design mounted the gun behind the pilot. The French placed it above the propeller, on the top wing of the biplane. The Germans had a gun timed to fire through the propeller without hitting the blades. When the British tried this system, it did not always work perfectly. These guns had fixed mounts. The only way to aim the gun was to point the entire plane directly at the target.
Meetings of enemy aircraft became deadly “dogfights.” Pilots tried to get on the tail of an enemy plane where the enemy could not return the gunfire. Being shot down usually meant instant death. Pilots did not carry parachutes. If they did, they might bail out. Their officers wanted them to try to save the planes instead. The expected life span of a pilot was three weeks before being shot down.
One of the leading “aces” of the Royal Flying Corps was a Canadian, Billy Bishop. He shot down 72 enemy planes. The greatest flying ace was Manfred von Richthofen, the famous Red Baron. He shot down 80 planes.

The Red Baron’s Last Flight
One day in April 1918 Richthofen took his pilots on their usual daily patrol. They were met by a British squadron led by Roy Brown of Carleton Place, Ontario. Soon the two groups were in a fierce dogfight.
Wilfred May was on his fist combat flight. The young Canadian realized his guns were jammed and drifted out of the battle. The Red Baron moved onto his tail. Preparing for the kill, he did not notice that Roy Brown had moved behind him. Brown got the German ace in his gun sights and knocked him out of the sky.
A Canadian had downed the legendary Red Baron.

Source: McFadden, Fred, et al. Canada: The Twentieth Century. (Markham: Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited, 1995) pp. 74-75.

“… the sight of Richthofen as I walked closer gave me a start. He appeared so small to me, so delicate. He looked so friendly. Blond, silk-soft hair, like that of a child, fell from the broad, high forehead. His face, particularly peaceful, had an expression of gentleness and goodness, of refinement. Suddenly I felt miserable, desperately unhappy, as if I had committed an injustice. With a feeling of shame, a kind of anger against myself moved in my thoughts, that I had forced him to lay there. And in my heart I cursed the force that is devoted to death. I gnashed my teeth, I cursed the war. If I could have I would gladly have brought him back to life, but that is somewhat different than shooting a gun. I could no longer look him in the face. I went away.

I did not feel like a victor. There was a lump in my throat. If he had been my dearest friend, I could not have felt greater sorrow.”

- Roy Brown

Canada at War: Life in the Trenches

Soldiers from both sides, the Allied Powers and the Central Powers, dug three rows of deep trenches. Barbed wire was placed in front of the trenches. The area between the enemy trenches was called no-man’s land. Heavy artillery was set up behind the trenches to fire shells on the opposing side.
Life in the trenches was horrible. When they were not fighting, the soldiers lived in holes in the ground. These holes were called dug-outs. When it rained, and it rained a lot, the water would rush into the trenches and dug-outs. The soldiers were wet. Often they had to work, eat, and sleep in the water or mud.
The soldiers were often cold, wet, and dirty. Lice and rats were everywhere in the trenches. Soldier’s that died in no-man’s land or on the barbed wire could not easily be brought back to be buried; the rats would eat their bodies. Disease and infections were everywhere because of the lice, rats, and flies. Dying soldiers cried, dead and rotting bodies smelled, and the guns never stopped firing on the trenches. Sometimes, the artillery would shell their own trenches by mistake. When a trench was hit, the whole trench and the soldiers in it could just disappear into the mud.

One night I was awakened by stiff whiskers on my face. I opened my eyes to

see a large rat scanning me gravely. He backed off a trifle as I looked at him and

pushed himself into the palm of my hand. The feel of his feet was revolting and I

pitched the thing from me… The rat rose in an arc and descended… straight into

Thornton’s mouth.
The soldiers often had to climb out of the trench and make their way to the enemy trenches to attack. This was called “going over the top.” The enemy artillery and machine guns would fire on them as soon as they climbed out. Few solders ever reached the enemy trenches even though they might be only 25-100 metres away! The soldiers knew they were going to die; perhaps it would be in no-man’s land, perhaps it would be next time they went over the top. Some soldiers living in such conditions became mentally ill; this was called shellshock, and many of these men were unable to continue fighting.
Source: Hux, Allan D., et al. My History, Our Country. (Don Mills: Pippin Publishing Corporation, 2006) pp. 21-22.

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