World War I battle that is seen as a landmark in Canadian history because it marks the first time a Canadian military unit fought as a cohesive – and explicitly Canadian – grouping, as opposed to part of a larger British military formation.
The April 1917 battle1 – which Canada won – has been commemorated by historians as the birth of modern Canada, sanctified in the blood of some 3,500 dead Canadians. It is also seen as Canada’s first steps away from British control. As such, it merited a glorious memorial, erected by Canada on the site of the battle. And the symbolism of the battle has often been invoked by Canadian political leaders.
Like so much else in Canadian history, the Battle of Vimy Ridge is not seen as a major event by historians outside of Canada. They consider it part of the larger Battle of Arras.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
- Going over the top at Vimy Ridge. CBC Digital Archives.
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