In the spring of 1918 the Germans, fearing America's entry into the war, sought to knock France out of the fight with a massive offensive. Overwhelmed, the French and Allied forces were pushed almost all the way back to Paris.
But in July 1918 at the Second Battle of the Marne, the Allies counterattacked, halting the German advance. The Germans had lost tens of thousands of soldiers only to fail in their goal of winning the war.
It was now the Allies' turn to strike.
The first blow came on August 8th, 1918 at Amiens, France. Attacking side by side with the equally experienced Australian Corps, the Canadians punched a twelve-kilometre hole in the German line that changed the entire tempo of the war.
German General Erich Ludendorff described it as "the black day of the German Army" due to the large number of soldiers who chose to surrender rather than fight to the death. The Battle of Amiens delivered a staggering blow from which the German Army couldn't recover.
For the first time, the end of the war was in sight.
Next, Canadian and Allied troops moved north to the Arras region of France to commence a final push against the Germans. Reaching the Drocourt-Quéant Line, one of the most daunting German defensive positions on the front, the 1st and 4th Canadian divisions pushed forward. Despite heavy casualties they captured the entire German position.
Next came the Battle of Canal du Nord where a bold strike on September 27th again drove the Germans into retreat.
Every square inch of ground cost the Canadians thousands of casualties, but the victories demoralized the Germans who now realized the war was lost.
Over the final month of fighting, the Canadians would liberate the French cities of Cambrai and Valenciennes, pushing a further seventy-five kilometres to reach the Belgian city of Mons.
All told, the last hundred days of the war, including the Battle of Amiens, cost the Canadians more than 45,000 dead and wounded — a staggering total. The soldiers' sacrifice was critical to ending the war against Germany.
The Great War Video Series
April 22–May 5, 1915: When deadly German gas attacks send others running, the Canadians hold their ground.
September 15–November 11, 1916: A century after the battle, the incredible cost in human lives remains controversial.
April 9–April 12, 1917: For the first time, all four Canadian divisions attack together, with tremendous results.
October 26–November 10, 1917: Hard lessons are learned amid the mud and blood in Belgium.
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