Following a successful victory at Amiens, the Canadian Corps now turned its attention towards the northern hinge of the heavily fortified Hindenburg Line, the Drocourt-Quéant Line. Unlike Amiens, where Canadians could rely on the element of surprise and an ill-prepared German defense, the Arras sector, and more specifically, the D-Q Line, was fully manned and well reinforced. With the German Army expecting an attack, the Allied strategy was to launch a successive wave of frontal attacks to exhaust and destabilize the enemy troops.
As we commemorate the centenary of the First World War’s final year and attempt to better understand Canadian wartime views and experiences, music offers us a way of ‘hearing’ the past. The lyrics, music, and cover art of popular songs reflected the changing attitudes of Anglo-Canadians on the home front between 1914 and 1918. In the beginning, composers focused on martial songs with patriotic lyrics that encouraged enlistment and support for ‘king and country.’ Later in the war, sentimental songs were more common because there was an increasing need to comfort sad or grieving women and children on the home front. This post examines popular songs composed in 1918, providing a sense of the messages and melodies heard by Canadians one hundred years ago.