Vimy Ridge Essay Thesis Statements

Research Essay (assignments 1 and 2)


The objective of the assignment is to produce a research essay examining one of three selected topics below from World War One and is to be completed in two steps.  The final essay will be marked for depth and sophistication of research, as well as for the overall quality of writing. 

At the fourth year level students must be familiar with the research and application of primary sources.  As such, the core of this research essay must be based on primary sources. Primary sources must represent a substantial portion of the research used in the final paper. In addition you will  also need to use a range of secondary sources to create a theoretical or contextual framework to tie the primary material together and to help substantiate the arguments made.  The final assignment is divided into two parts, each with separate requirements and due dates.  For ease of consideration and reference, the two parts will be considered as separate assignments.

In order to ensure that students will have sufficient primary sources on which to build an essay, the topics below have a Canadian focus in order to utilize available sources.

 *****Important Note on Internet Sources:****
Due to the varying quality of internet sites and the difficulty facing students of distinguishing credible from non-credible internet sources, internet sites may ONLYbe used for primary materials for the research paper. No secondary or interpretive  materials from the internet will be permitted for the essay.

Topic 1:
Examine the war as depicted in the popular national periodicals of the day.  Students will research and evaluate editorials and articles connected to Canada at war in the pages of Macleans and Saturday Night.  These periodicals can be used individually or in combination with one another.  They can be used to examine any theme or event throughout the war, with the exception of Vimy Ridge.

For this assignment students must use a minimum of twelve editorials or articles from these sources.  In addition students must also use a minimum of two books and two scholarly articles in the writing of their final essay.

Topic 2:
Examine the war as depicted in the daily press of the day.  Students will research and evaluate editorials and articles connected to Canada at war in the pages of Canadian newspapers available on microfilm.  The library holds microfilm copies of  many newspapers of the period including The Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, Winnipeg Free Press, Victoria Daily Times, etc.    These newspapers can be used individually or in combination with one another  to examine any theme or event throughout the war, with the exception of Vimy Ridge.

For this assignment students must use a minimum of twelve editorials or articles from these sources.  In addition students must also use a minimum of two books and two scholarly articles in the writing of their final essay.

Topic 3:
Evaluate the historical accuracy of Barker's Regeneration by comparing selected themes within the novel to other primary and secondary sources.  This is not an essay about either the novel or the primary sources on their own, but is to be constructed as a comparison and evaluation utilizing both the novel and the available primary sources.  For the purposes of this topic, the primary materials for comparison (letters and diaries) are to be taken from the WWI materials available from The Canadian Letters and Images Project.  Choose one of the following themes from the novel for the basis of the comparison:

  • war and its depiction (the soldier's experiences of war)
  • concepts (singularly or in combination) of patriotism, honour, duty, loss, or horror
  • relationships (ie family, friends, comrades, etc.)

For this assignment, students must use a minimum of twelve separate sources from The Canadian Letters and Images Project (Each letter used will be considered a separate source.  Diaries will count as only one source, regardless of how many entries from the diary are used.), in addition to a minimum of two books and two scholarly articles in the writing of the final essay.

Assignment #1

There are two requirements of the first assignment: a) provide a clear, well defined thesis statement for the final paper and b)  discuss some of the research to be incorporated into the final paper.  This assignment is to be 1,200 words in length.

a) Thesis Statement (400 words)

The topics above are only the broad topic areas for the final essay.  You must take that topic area and design a solid thesis for the final essay, which cannot be done unless you have first examined the primary sources available for that topic.
In your essay you must have a well defined thesis, or argument, throughout the final paper.  The purpose of the first assignment is to clearly define the argument  you will make in your final paper.  Your final essay is not to be a narrative of events or a retelling of a story.  You must take a stand and argue a point of view in your essay.   You need to indicate the purpose of your paper.  What will it achieve or demonstrate?  How willit expand our understanding of some aspect of the war era.? Only by reading a range of sources can you achieve a sense of the issues involved and create a strong argument which reflects the complexities of the topic and the period.  The thesis can make or break the final paper and thus requires some thought.  Good research will be wasted on a pointless or superficial argument.  You must also be certain to define the parameters of the paper ( ie geographic, chronological, etc.) and justify the use of those parameters.

b) Research Discussion
This is to be a discussion of the source material which is to be used in the final essay.  In doing so:

  • Discuss the primary source material which will be used (ie from where, what years, sampling technique, etc.) and how specifically it will be used in the final paper. As well, consider any assets and/or limitations of the sources that you are using. From those sources discussed choose three (3) examples and discuss in detail their content, why they are relevant to your thesis, and how they will be used in the final paper. (600 words) 
  • Discuss one (1) of the scholarly articles which will be used in the final paper.  In doing so define the main argument of the author, why this work is relevant to your thesis, and how it will be used in the final paper. (200 words)

This is not to be a mini-essay, but instead a discussion and analysis of the source material in relation to the thesis and the overall objectives  that you have indicated for the  final paper.  

Assignment #2

This is to be the full research paper which builds on the argument and material presented in assignment #1  .  The final essay will be marked for depth of research, sophistication of argument, and quality of writing.  Correct bibliographic and reference forms for history are required.  The final essay is to be 3,000 words in length, +/- 5%.    

There are some restrictions as to what sources may or may not be used in the writing of the paper, in addition to the restriction on internet sources above:

  • use a minimum of 2 books (not including either Barker or Howard)

  • if you are unclear about what constitutes a scholarly article, read the following page from Cornell University)

  • may not use encyclopedias of any form

  • use only primary materials from the internet - no secondary or interpretive materials from the internet will be permitted

 Be certain that you are familiar with the due date policy.

  Assignment Due Dates:

  • Assignment #1                    Tuesday February 14, 2006
  • Assignment #2                    Tuesday April 4, 2006

Essay on The Battle of Vimy Ridge: The Birth of The Canadian Nation

1355 Words6 Pages

One of Canada’s largest military endeavors was the battle of Vimy Ridge during World War One. It was a fierce battle between Germans and Canadians. Canada was trying to take over the German controlled ridge, which ran from northwest to southwest between Lens and Arras, France. Its highest point was 145 feet above sea level, which was exceptionally helpful in battle because of the very flat landscape. Already over 200,000 men had fallen at Vimy, all desperately trying to take or defend this important and strategic ridge. As a result of its success in taking the ridge, Canada gained a lot more than just the strategic point. Canada was united as a nation, and the victory changed the way other counties viewed them. Canadians no longer…show more content…

Not only did the battle affect the way Canadian’s allies saw them, it also affected their enemies. German veterans have told stories about the war, revealing that some Germans feared Canadian soldiers more than soldiers of any other country. At the start of the war, Canadians were not really viewed as independent Canadian soldiers, but rather, soldiers of the British military force. As a result of their achievements at Vimy Ridge, Canada was granted their own seat at the signing of the Treaty of Versailles after the war. Clearly, the battle of Vimy Ridge created Canada as a nation in the eyes of other countries.

The feats achieved by Canadians were incredible, and more influential than anything they had done before. Vimy was one of the German’s most heavily guarded areas, and it was thought that it was impossible to over take. However, when the Canadians did take it, they captured the most artillery and guns since the start of the war. They also managed to take 4,000 Germans as prisoners of war. Past battles at Vimy witnessed over 200,000 causalities. During the Canadian attack on the ridge, they lost 3,598 soldiers while the Germans suffered over 20,000 causalities. Canadians had much to be proud of after Vimy, a feeling they did not often get while fighting under British command. Critics question whether Vimy aided Canada’s birth as a nation. “It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that if Vimy Ridge had been captured

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