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Ordeal by Fire
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Ordeal by Fire
1915-1929




Canada's heavy military role in World War I (60,000 dead in a population of 8 million) transforms its society, its politics and its place in the world. The horror, bravery and sacrifice of trench warfare are evoked in Canada's great battles: Ypres, the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Courcelette and Passchendaele. The domestic consequences of Canada's war effort are also wrenching - the conscription crisis of 1917 marks a low point in English-French relations. After the war ends, labour revolts in Winnipeg and across the country raise fears of a Bolshevik insurrection. The return to stability in the mid-1920s lasts only briefly as the crash of 1929 plunges the country into economic chaos.

Producer/Director/Writer: Jacqueline Corkery
Senior Journalist: Lynda Baril
Producer: Grazyna Krupa
Editor: André Daigneault
Original music: Claude Desjardins and Eric Robertson

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Newsworld broadcast:
Tuesday, January 08, 2002
10pm-Midnight Eastern



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Horror on the Battlefield
During the First World War, gas attacks killed or injured an estimated 1,296,853 soldiers on both sides. (Courtesy of the National Archives of Canada)
Canadian soldiers prove their courage in the First World War during gas attacks at Ypres, slaughter at the Somme, and victory at Vimy Ridge. Personal stories tell of the horror of the bloodiest infantry war the world has known
Turmoil on the Homefront
A conscription crisis, a tragedy in Halifax, and a profiteering scandal underscore the tensions and unrest on the homefront during the First World War During the First World War, 8,579 immigrants born in enemy countries were detained in 24 camps throughout Canada including this one in Spirit Lake, Quebec. (National Archives of Canada, PA170620)
Voices of Discontent
Canadian women gained more clout during the First World War when they worked in factories, banks and offices, replacing the men overseas. (National Archives of Canada, PA024640) Women gain political clout, workers fight for rights and farmers wield their power as Canada undergoes unheaval at the end of the First World War
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