Vimy Ridge is one of the most well known Canadian military historical events, but as a battle itself it did very little to help end the First World War. In fact, while it was celebrated as a great tactical success at the time it was merely one of a string of victories by the elite Canadian Corps that culminated in the final push to defeat the German army on the Western Front in 1918. Yet, surprisingly to some, in the years that followed the ending of the First World War Vimy Ridge took on mythical proportions and even earned the distinction of being a "nation defining event." This talk aims to explain how all this came about: how the battle contributed to Canada's war effort, Canada's emerging identity within the British Empire and finally what being 'Canadian' meant in the context of the battle of Vimy Ridge.
David Borys is a Canadianist who specializes in Canadian Military History specifically examining the changing nature that warfare has wrought on Canadian society. His most recent book titled Civilians at the Sharp End examines the relationship between the soldiers of First Canadian Army and the civilians of northwest Europe during the Canadian army’s liberation route in the final two years of the Second World War. He also produces the popular podcast Cool Canadian History, a bi-weekly podcast on everything and anything to do with Canadian history. You can find it on Apple Podcast, Spotify and at coolcanadianhistory.com