The noted American historian, Jay Winter, has called it “…the first man-made catastrophe of the twentieth century.” The British historian, Dan Todman, has more recently reminded readers that “Britain went to and stayed at war because her leaders and people believed strongly that they should.”
Whatever their ultimate assessments, most agree that the First World War – or the Great War as it was originally christened – has had a profound effect on the century that followed it. From income tax to influenza, nursing sisters to national liberation movements, mustard gas to monuments, the War has left an indelible mark on the world. The communities of Brantford, Brant County and Six Nations did not escape its influence.
The following pages are an attempt to convey some sense of the richness and complexity of the war experience locally. We try to cover both the heights and the depths of these years. We believe that only our unblinking attention to all facets of this conflict will allow us to put the actions of those who experienced the War in their proper context and help us to engage in respectful and informed historical remembrance in this centenary year of a war that was, in its reach and impact, undeniably great.
The Great War Centenary Association, Brantford, Brant County, Six Nations