Excerpt for A Tale of Two Nations: Canada, U.S. and World War I (Part one: 1914) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

A Tale of Two Nations:

Canada, U.S. and World War I

Part One: 1914

By Melina Druga

Editor: John Druga

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2018 Sun Up Press

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

Table of Contents


Royal Couple Slain by Assassin

War Call Comes

Europe’s War Cloud Darkens

To Add One Billion Dollars

Canada Will Back Britain

Let ’em Fight

Coming Soon

About the Author

Other Books by Melina Druga



World War I, like most wars, was started by politicians and fought by ordinary men who generally had no stake in the conflict. They fought because of patriotic fervor or a sense of adventure, and millions lost their lives as a consequence.

Between 1914 and 1918, nearly 5 million Americans and Canadians served in the war. While today the two neighboring nations share a sense of common heritage, language, history and cooperation, in the 1910s there was a lingering sense of animosity.

The Canada of 1914 was much different from the Canada of today. It was barely more than 50 years old, founded primarily by English and French decedents, and had been the refuge of Loyalists during and after the American Revolution. It was a dominion of the British Empire, autonomous when it came to everything but foreign affairs. Its population during the 1911 census was 7.2 million, not much larger than the population of Greater Toronto 100 years later.

The United States had a population 13 times larger, at 92.2 million strong, and played a greater role on the world stage. Many in the U.S. felt Canada should be part of the union, as a natural extension of Manifest Destiny, and countless Canadians feared annexation. Immediately following the American Civil War, the Fenian Brotherhood, Irishmen who had served in the Union Army, conducted raids into Southern Canada in the hopes of agitating Great Britain. A few years later, Canada had an interest in purchasing Alaska, but negotiations favored the Americans. The final blow was the attempt to establish a trade reciprocity agreement between the U.S. and Canada. The agreement was rejected by Congress on multiple occasions, and during in the 1911 election, by the Canadian electorate.

On the eve of the Great War, newspapers in both the U.S. and Canada were filled with news of the upcoming conflict; the great European powers were at each other’s throats, figuratively and perhaps soon literally. How each nation viewed the war, however, betrayed its interests and shaped public opinion.

This is a tale of two nations and how newspapers covered the storm clouds that were enveloping Europe. In Part One, we explore the war’s beginning.

Royal Couple Slain by Assassin”

Imagine you have access to a time machine. You travel to various locations in June 1914 and stop at newsstands to see what locals are discussing. Newspapers in Canada and the U.S. are full of ads hoping to snag the tired city slicker looking for adventure. You could travel from New York City to Niagara Falls for $10, and Montrealers could trek to the Atlantic shore for as little as $12. Retailers hope to take advantage of the pleasures seekers. Summer sales promote the advantages of buying new swimsuits and light dresses.

There’s riveting news as well interspersed among the usual crime reports, society pages and car accident stories. Manitoba is in the midst of a political crisis, the American Southwest is obsessed with Pancho Villa’s exploits during the Mexican Revolution, and plague has been diagnosed in New Orleans, causing concern in the city and surrounding areas.

When people in North America rose on the morning of June 27, nobody knew it would be the last day of peace, the final day before the lives of millions globally would be shattered first by world war and then by the Spanish Flu pandemic.

That day the New York Times reported on the formal grand opening of the Kaiser Wilhem Canal, which was larger than the Panama Canal and better able to respond to shipping demands. The official reason was an increase in commerce, but military operations, the paper said, necessitated the expansion as dreadnoughts had grown in size.

“In 1912 there were 1,400 passages of German warships through the canal,” the Times said. “The vessels included nine battleships. These figures show the value of the canal to the German Navy in times of peace.”

A peace that was not to last.

While traveling through Sarajevo, Bosnia, on June 28, the heir to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife Sophie were shot and killed by Slavic nationalist Gavrilo Princip. The shooting had been the second attempt on their lives that day. Earlier, an explosive had been lobbed at their car but was deflected. It exploded beneath another vehicle injuring the occupants.

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