Today was very valuable for providing me with a better understanding of post-Vimy events of the First World War. As a result of how the final months of the war have been taught to me in the past, I didn’t feel like I would be completely comfortable teaching it to a class of History students in the future. We emphasize the Canadians at Vimy, mention Passchendaele, and then often portray a quick, even inevitable, end to the war by moving forward in time to the final Hundred Days. But as I learned, there was much more going on.
During our talks in Amiens we talked about the increasing effectiveness of the Canadian corps at this later stage in the war, and our guides emphasized the importance of making comparisons between the Canadians and other Allied forces, in this case the Australians. As a student learning about the war, I was rarely taught anything outside of the Canadian and British perspective. We had many great views of the battlefields throughout the day, which allowed me to contextualize the Canadians within the bigger picture and see the maps come to life.
On a less serious note…
Our drivers/guides are fantastic and have such a great dynamic and different areas of expertise. I particularly like the driving soundtrack…We learned that the Canadian cavalry played a role in the Battle of Moreuil Wood in March 1918. As we drove up to the monument to the cavalry, our driver played the song “I Wanna Be In the Cavalry” to set the mood.
Here is the link to the song in case you’re curious: https://youtu.be/Ey1OwxPtwqk