Paying for a War

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Canada in World War I

Activity-“Paying for a War”
1. Your Prediction: Between 1914 - 1918, I think it would have cost the Canadian Government

$__________________ just to outfit (give basic supplies to) all its soldiers.

Fact # 1: “It cost $155.00 to outfit a soldier to serve in France.” *

The chart below shows how many men were sent by Canada to serve in World War I. Answer the following questions with the aid of the chart and the information from fact # 1. (You may need to use a calculator!)

Troop Movements to Europe

1914 .................................... 33,999

1915 .................................... 84,334

1916 ................................... 165,553

1917 .................................... 63,536

1918 .................................... 73,630

Total ............ 420,953

1. What were the actual costs to outfit Canada’s soldiers to serve in Europe during World War I?

In 1914? _________________________ HINT: 33,999 X $155.00

In 1915? _________________________

In 1916? _________________________

In 1917? _________________________

In 1918? _________________________

The total cost just to outfit Canadian soldiers during World War I was ______________.

2. Was your prediction higher or lower than the actual costs? ______________

3. What is the difference in amounts between your prediction and the actual cost?

II. Your Prediction: I think the five most important supplies of a WWI Canadian soldier pack

would be:

1. __________________________ 2. _________________________

3. __________________________ 4. _________________________

5. _________________________
Fact # 2: “The total weight of a soldier’s pack including clothing, ammunition, tools, toilet

articles, rations and water is approximately 60 pounds.” The list below shows the basic supplies needed. * Using the list, answer the questions on the following page.

What 500,000 soldiers need

400,000 rifles and bayonets

4,000 machine guns

1,100 field guns

80,000,000 cartridges for each battle

1,250,000 shells and shrapnel per hour

100,000 horses

65,000 mules

4,000 wagons and trucks

500,000 first-aid packets

500,000 canteens

1,000,000 uniforms - coats, breeches, puttees, underwear, belts

500,000 caps

500,000 steel helmets

500,000 gas masks

1,000,000 pairs of leather boots

500,000 pairs of rubber boots

500,000 haversacks

500,000 rubber ground-sheets, to keep them dry

1,000,000 blankets

2,000,000 pairs of socks

500,000 lbs. of meat per day

500,000 lbs. of bread per day

250,000 lbs. of vegetables per day

1,000,000 pints of tea or coffee per day

500,000 cups

500,000 plates

500,000 knives

500,000 forks

500,000 spoons

PAC 1918 4696 The Canadian War Thrift Book
1. How would the need for supplies affect production in Canada’s factories and on its farms?

2. How do you think the supplies were transported to the Western Front?

3. What problems may have been encountered with the transportation of these supplies?

4. The following statements are all directed to the people of Canada who were not serving

Overseas. Analyze these statements by telling how each would affect the people on the

home front in Canada as well as the Canadian soldiers serving overseas.

a) “We must produce all we can, waste nothing and shift our consumption as much as

practicable from wheat, flour, beef and bacon to other foods. The other foods are just as wholesome for us but are not as suitable for shipment overseas in wartime.”

Effect on people on the home front: ___________________________________________


Effect on the soldiers and the war effort: ______________________________________


b) “... the outcome of the war must be decided in the kitchens of Canada.”

Effect on people on the home front: ___________________________________________


Effect on the soldiers and the war effort: ______________________________________


c) “A ton of coal is needed to produce three big shells.”

Effect on people on the home front: ___________________________________________


Effect on the soldiers and the war effort: ______________________________________


III. Fact # 3: “During 1918 the war cost Canada over one million dollars per day.” *

Fact # 4: Regular Canadians (like you and I) paid for the costs of World War I through savings bonds, taxes, and


Using the chart below, answer the following questions.

Canada’s Public Debt

1911 $350,000,000

1914 350,000,000

1915 475,000,000

1916 625,000,000

1917 900,000,000

1918 1,175,000,000
1. What was Canada’s total debt for World War I? ____________________________________

2. Why is there no change in Canada’s debt for the years 1911 and 1914?

3. What can be said about Canada’s debt between the years 1914 - 1918?
4a) In which year is Canada’s debt the highest during WWI? _______________
b) A reason for the high debt that year could be _____________________________________


5. The following statement concerns the Canadian government’s need to pay for WWI.

“Every man and woman in Canada can help win this war by practicing self-denial...”

What does this mean?
6. If Canada were involved in a war now, what could you do to help pay for it?

* from Canadiana Scrapbook: Canadians at war 1914 - 1918 by Donald M. Santor

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