November 6, 2018
Blair Crawford, Ottawa Citizen
When Canadians think of the First World War, the images that come to mind are usually the hell of trench warfare or of the mythmaking Canadian assault on Vimy Ridge in 1917.
But for Canadian War Museum historian Tim Cook, the most important battles Canadians fought took place in the final three months of the “war to end all wars.”
Cook hopes the museum’s special exhibit “Victory 1918: The last 100 days” will help Canadians better understand their country’s role in the First World War. Co-curated by Cook and former museum director Jack Granatstein, the exhibit uses artifacts, rare film and meticulously colourized photographs to tell the story of the Canadian Corps’ final campaign.
“We argue that the 100 days are the most important battles fought by Canadians in the First World War,” Cook said. “It goes from Amiens on the 8th of August when the Canadian Corps, which is 100,000 strong — enormously strong — and commanded by a Canadian, Arthur Currie. And they break the Germans!
“Everyone thinks the war is going to go until 1919, and here are the Canadians and the Australians, with the British and the French on the flanks, and they deliver a serious blow to the Germans and it looks like this thing will finally end.”
A few weeks later, the Canadian troops are sent on the offensive again, striking east of the town of Arras.