Canadian History PSA: Sir Arthur Currie

As you may have noticed, posters pertaining to Canadian history have recently been placed around campus. These posters are a part of a public awareness campaign being put on by students in HIST 2783, Canada Since 1867. Its purpose is to spark public interest in our nation’s rich history by highlighting key events, ideas, and individuals that helped to shape Canada. Our group chose to focus on Canada’s involvement in World War I, specifically the contributions of Sir Arthur William Currie. By doing this public awareness campaign, our hope is that as the centennial anniversary of the war progresses, Canadian citizens will be more interested and informed as to why key moments and individuals like Sir Arthur Currie are so important to our history. We cannot permit ourselves to forget the cost and impact of the Great War on Canada.

In a time when Canada’s identity was at stake, Sir Arthur Currie gave us a name and a reputation that was unmatched. When Great Britain gave over command of the Canadian Expeditionary Force to General Currie, the war took a turn for the better. His approach was efficient. systematic, and resulted in many lives saved. His leadership was instrumental in enabling Canada to stand victorious at Vimy Ridge, the Somme, Passchendaele and many other pivotal occasions throughout the final 100 days of the Great War. He never lost a battle and he held the safety of his troops as an utmost priority. His leadership was a serious matter – a Canadian officer had never before led Canadian troops and Currie demonstrated that we were more than capable as a nation to go head to head with major European powers, and in many ways, outperform them. His influence during WWI would help shape the Canada we know today. In his own words, “I am a good enough Canadian to believe, if my experience justifies me in believing, that Canadians are best served by Canadians.”

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In 1920, Sir Arthur Currie came to campus. He attended convocation and laid the corner stone of the War Memorial Gymnasium. I have written two posts about Currie’s visit on my research blog, Acadia and the War.