The Third Battle of Ypres, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele began on July 31, 1917, and ended on November 10, 1917. It was fought in the area to the east of the town of Ypres. The allied forces of Britain, France, and Belgium initiated the battle against German forces in an attempt to force the Germans further out of Belgium.
Canadians had divided views on the Battle of Passchendaele. As a country, it was a source of national pride; in the battle, nine Canadians received the Victoria Cross, the highest award given to citizens of the British Empire. However, the battle increased the tension between English and French Canadians. Of the 57 Canadian battalions that fought in the battle, only one was French-Canadian. This added to the general opinion among English-Canadians that the French-Canadians were not assisting with the war effort. Of the 611 711 Canadians who enlisted, only about 15 000 were French-Canadian. This meant that French Canadians made up only 4% of Canadian enlistees, while making up almost 30% of the Canadian population. This caused a divide between English and French Canadians.
The Battle of Passchendaele had a large effect on Canadian values. The battle solidified the Canadian reputation of having effective soldiers. This reputation affected future political decisions made by other countries, including the British Empire’s decision to allow Canada to sign the Treaty of Versailles as an independent nation, unlike the other commonwealth states. This increased Canadian social and political independence from Britain.
The Battle of Passchendaele contributed to Canadian political autonomy by representing Canada’s strength on the world’s stage. The impact of Canada on the Battle of Passchendaele led to their independent representation at the Paris Peace conference, and their signing of the Treaty of Versailles as an independent nation. Canada’s success in the Battle of Passchendaele contributed to Canadian political autonomy.