World War I: The British Empire

World War I Dominions
Figure 1.--Here a Canadian artilleryman say good-bye to a woman and baby, presumably his wife and child. Notice that artillery was moved by horses. Canada did not have aubtantial standing army. Only the French stand on the Marne made it possible for the Canadians to nuter and train a force to send to France and join the British on the Western Front. Source: Bain News Service. Library of Congress.

The French success in stopping the Germans on the Marne was far more than a tacical victory (September 1914). It meant meant that the British and French would have time to marshall the ememse resources of their empires. This was especially true of the British. As a result, Canada and the other Domininions would play an important role in the War. And unlike the other Dominions, Canada was relatively close to Britain. Canadian would quickly join te British on the Western Front. As far as we can tell, this had not entered into the German calculation, to the extent they made a real calcultion beyond the immediate military campaign spelled out in the Schliffen Plan. The Germans were focused on a short, sharp victory as they achived in the Franco-Prussian War, and the y lmost suceeded. No real calculation was made to the consequences if they failed. While the Dominions had relatively small populations indvidually, when added together, the population was not inconsequential, they they commanded resources that gave the British economic power that the Germas could not match. And those resources were emense. While industrial development was still not substantial, although it had begin in Canada, manpower, financial, and agricultureal resources were substantial. And agriculture would prove a critical weakness in the German war effort. The Germans, confident of a quick victory, simply ignored the Empire--a mistake another generation would make again.


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Created: 6:07 PM 12/14/2015
Last updated: 6:07 PM 12/14/2015