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In The golden summer of 1914 the world was generally peaceful, prosperous, and progressive. In Canada the crops on the farms were growing splendidly, the industries of the country were expanding and selling output aggressively with demand rising and business booming. The country had replaced Laurier with the Conservative Robert Borden in 1911 but the secure optimism of the country remained intact.

The two military/political alliances in Europe, the Triple Entente which included France, Russia, and by secret planning, Great Britain, and the Triple Alliance which included the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Germany and Italy, had experienced some tense confrontations over the proceeding few years but they had been kept under control.

Then an event occurred in the capital city of Bosnia, the city of Sarajevo, deep in the heart of the Balkans in South-eastern Europe, which changed everything. On June 28th, 1914 the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, a member of a political movement called the Black Hand. The Austro-Hungarian empire issued an ultimatum to Bosnia which in reality was an annexation of the country. The Russians felt that because the Bosnia's were basically of Slavic origin then they had to protect the interests of the Bosnians. The scene was set for another crisis where by the two alliances were to come face to face with each other over a relatively small issue which was used to try to force the other side down.

 

Neither side blinked in this crisis with Germany giving Austria a blank cheque to take Bosnia, the Russian's committing themselves to unconditional support for Bosnia and he rest of the alliance members trying to calm the incident down. Affairs dragged on throughout July and Russia ordered general mobilization which directly threatened German war plans which depended upon attacking France before Russia could get troops to the Germany border. Austrian declared

  war on Bosnia on July 28th. A Germany ultimatum was issued to Russia and when no response was received, declared war on Russia on August 1st, 1914. Events spun out of control at this point with everyone racing towards war by ordering wartime mobilization, initiating military movements and plans and violating the borders of other countries.

In Canada, Prime Minister Robert Borden who had been vacationing in the Muskoka was recalled to Ottawa. At this time Canada did not have constitutional authority of it's own foreign policy. This control would not come until the Act of Westminster in 1931 was passed by the British Parliament which recognized Canadian authority over it's own foreign policy. In 1914 the Governor General of Canada, Field-Marshal H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught sent a message to the Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs in Britain

that if unhappily war should ensue the Canadian people will be united in a common resolve to put forth every effort and to make every sacrifice necessary to ensure the integrity and maintain the honour of our Empire.

Canada was committed to backing up the Empire and was considered to be at war once Britain went to war. The MP's were reassembled in Ottawa and by the 18th of August an emergency session of Parliament meet to consider what actions the country would take now that it was at war. Canada had left the old world along with the rest and was about to enter the horrific new world of the Great War.


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Reference: www.canadahistory.com/sections/war/war.html