Canadians at War

Merci !

Annales corrigées
Classe(s) : Tle ES - Tle L - Tle S | Thème(s) : Espaces et échanges
Type : Écrit LV1 | Année : 2019 | Académie : France métropolitaine

France métropolitaine • Juin 2019

Séries générales • LV1

Canadians at war

document 1 Vimy Ridge anniversary

Vimy Ridge: ‘What free people are capable of when the essential is at stake’

VIMY RIDGE, France – They came together from coast to coast to coast, by the thousands, to say thank you and to remember.

Canadians of all ages and all walks of life, they gathered under the soaring pillars of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on Sunday to mark the 100th anniversary of that fateful battle – and reflect on its enduring legacy.

Exactly 100 years earlier, the scene here had been quite different. The sun that shone down on the masses on Sunday, forcing many to hide behind umbrellas lest they burn, had been non-existent in 1917.

But there was one key similarity between that Easter Monday on April 9, 1917, and the scene 100 years later: Canadians stood together, shoulder to shoulder, proudly and unabashedly as one people.

“These ordinary and extraordinary men of the British dominion fought for the first time as citizens of one and the same country,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in French as he addressed the crowd.

“Francophones and Anglophones. New Canadians. Indigenous Peoples. Side by side, united, here in Vimy, within the four divisions of the Canadian Corps.”

The Battle for Vimy Ridge was a distinctly Canadian effort from the beginning, a true demonstration of all the best qualities that Canada represents: individual initiative; esprit de corps; gumption1; enthusiasm.

But what really set the battle apart was that, for the first time in the Great War, the Canadians would be fighting all together as one single unit: The Canadian Corps.

And despite suffering horrible casualties during the four-day battle, with 3,598 dead and more than 7,000 wounded, they would succeed where the British and French had failed by capturing the ridge.

Yet it wasn’t Canada’s fighting prowess that was being touted2 as the legacy of Vimy on Sunday: it was the creation of a country committed to peace.

“Those spires stand for peace and for freedom,” Gov. Gen.3 David Johnston said, indicating the white towers of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial behind him.

“They stand for justice and hope. And they remind us that one cannot exist without the other. Without freedom, there can be no peace. Because freedom without peace is agony, and peace without freedom is slavery.”

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press, 9 April 2017,

1. gumption: courage

2. tout: proclaim

3. Gov. Gen.: the Governor General of Canada

document 2 The Canadian town of Renfrew remembers


ph © Sherry Haaima/Metroland — DR

November 2017,

document 3 The classroom war effort

The scene is set in a classroom during World War II.

We learn to draw the Union Jack, using a ruler and memorizing the various crosses, for St. George of England, St. Patrick of Ireland, St. Andrew of Scotland, St. David of Wales.

“The sun never sets on the British Empire,” says Miss Lumley, tapping the roll-down map with her long wooden pointer.

Every morning, after Miss Lumley blows a thin metallic note on her pitch pipe, we stand up to sing “God Save the King.” We also sing,

Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves;

Britons never, never, never shall be slaves!

Because we’re Britons, we will never be slaves. But we aren’t real Britons, because we are also Canadians.

Miss Lumley brings newspaper clippings about the Royal Family and sticks them to the side blackboard. Some of them are old clippings, and show Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose, in Girl Guide uniforms, making radio and other speeches during the Blitz. This is what we should be like, Miss Lumley implies: steadfast, loyal, courageous, heroic.

There are other newspaper pictures too, showing thin-looking children in scruffy clothes, standing in front of piles of rubble1. These are to remind us that there are many starving war orphans in Europe, and we should remember that and eat our bread crusts and potato skins and everything else on our plates, because waste is a sin. Also we should not complain. We are not really entitled to complain, because we are lucky children: English children got their houses bombed and we did not. We bring our used clothing, from home, and Miss Lumley ties it up into brown paper packages and sends it to England. It gives me a strange feeling on my skin to think of someone else, someone in England, walking around in my clothes. My clothes seem a part of me, even the ones I’ve outgrown.

Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye, 1988

1. rubble: décombres, ruines

compréhension 10 points

Document 1

1 Copy out the following paragraph filling in each blank with one word taken from the text.

In April 2017, (number) _____ of (nationality) _____ citizens traveled to (country) _____ to commemorate the (celebration) _____ _____ of the battle for (place) _____ _____ , which took place in (year) _____ .

2 Say if the following statements are TRUE or FALSE. Justify each answer with a quote from the text.

1. Different generations of Canadians attended the commemoration.

2. The battle lasted more than a week.

3. France and Great Britain won the battle.

3 Find one common point and one difference between April 9, 1917 and April 9, 2017.

4 1. What does the following quote say about Canada?

Francophones and Anglophones. New Canadians. Indigenous Peoples.” (l. 18-19)

2. The following statement is TRUE. Justify with a quote.

The journalist thinks that Canadians have a strong and remarkable identity.

5 Give 2 reasons why the battle can be considered a turning point in the history of Canada.

Uniquement pour les candidat(e)s de la série L au titre de la LVA.

6 Explain in your own words what is paradoxical about the commemoration of the battle.

Document 2

7 Choose the right answer and justify with 2 elements in the picture.

This document is the photograph of…

1. a military parade. 2. a commemoration. 3. a demonstration.

8 Describe the attitude of the people in the foreground. What does it express?

Document 3

9 Choose the right answer.

The narrator is…

1. an English war orphan. 2. a British Girl Guide. 3. a Canadian school girl.

10 1. Give 3 activities Miss Lumley’s students do in class.

2. What do these activities have in common?

3. Explain in your own words why Miss Lumley focuses on this common point. Justify with 2 quotes from the text.

11 Explain in your own words why the narrator feels uncomfortable about showing compassion for the English children.

Uniquement pour les candidat(e)s de la série L au titre de la LVA.

12 Explain in your own words how the narrator feels about Miss Lumley’s teaching. Justify with one element from the text.

Documents 1, 2 and 3

13 Compare and contrast how the 3 documents illustrate fundamental human values in relation to war.

expression 10 points

Les candidat(e)s des séries ES, S, et L (hors LVA) traiteront au choix le sujet 1 ou le sujet 2.

1 Imagine the article that Jamie Tremblay, one of the young girls in Document 2, writes for her school newspaper, after the event. (± 300 mots)

2 Penny Mortimer, a British journalist, interviews a Canadian citizen about his / her presence at the Vimy Ridge commemoration in France.

Choose one person and write the interview. (± 300 mots)


Les candidat(e)s de la série L composant au titre de la LVA traiteront le sujet 3 et le sujet 4.

3 Imagine the article that Jamie Tremblay, one of the young girls in Document 2, writes for her school newspaper, after the event. (± 200 mots)

4 Discuss the following quote by George Santayana, a 20th ­century American thinker: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemn­ed to repeat it.” (± 200 mots)

Les clés du sujet

Document 1

La source

The Canadian Press est l’agence de presse nationale du Canada. Elle existe depuis un siècle.

Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

L’article de presse décrit la cérémonie du 9 avril 2017 commémorant le 100e anniversaire de la prise de Vimy, dans le Pas-de-Calais. Après la défaite des Britanniques et des Français, ce sont les troupes canadiennes qui, à force de courage et d’espoir, ont remporté cette bataille. L’image d’un Canada uni témoigne de l’importance de la paix et de la justice pour ce peuple.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

A ridge (titre) : une crête ; to be at stake (sous-titre) : être en jeu ; ­soaring (l. 4) : vertigineux ; fateful (l. 5) : fatidique ; lest (l. 9) : de peur que ; un­abashedly (l. 13) : résolument ; casualties (l. 28) : pertes humaines ; a spire (l. 35) : une flèche, un clocher.

Document 2

La source est un site web communautaire de l’Est de l’Ontario, qui partage des informations et astuces locales. La photo représente la population de la ville canadienne de Renfrew qui se recueille pendant une cérémonie commémorative.

Pour en savoir plus :

Document 3


Margaret Atwood (1939-) est une romancière, poétesse et critique littéraire canadienne. Elle est particulièrement connue pour son roman, récemment adapté en série, La Servante écarlate.

Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

L’extrait, raconté à la première personne, décrit, du point de vue d’une de ses élèves, les techniques d’enseignement de Miss Lumley. Cette patriote anglophile enseigne dans une école canadienne de l’après-guerre.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

Pitch pipe (l. 7) : diapason à bouche ; newspaper clippings (l. 13) : coupures de journaux ; Girl Guide (l. 16) : éclaireuse / jeannette / scout ; steadfast (l. 17-18) : inébranlable ; scruffy (l. 20) : négligé ; crusts (l. 22) : croûtes.

Les points de convergence

Les documents présentent le rôle important joué par les Canadiens pendant la guerre de 14-18.

Le sujet d’expression 1 et 3

Une direction possible

On doit imaginer pourquoi cette jeune fille était présente à la cérémonie : est-elle la petite fille d’un soldat parti en Europe ou participe-t-elle à un projet scolaire en histoire ? Elle va décrire ses sentiments, parler de l’histoire et de l’avenir du pays grâce au sacrifice fait par ces soldats.

Key ideas

I felt proud today to be a part of the ceremony to commemorate those brave men who fought for freedom so far from home. We should never forget the ultimate sacrifice that they made for European peace, for world peace, when they took up arms to join the Allied Forces in France. I hope that never in my lifetime will I ever have to experience what they experienced. I cherish the values of our country, a country committed to peace and initiative.

Le sujet d’expression 2

Une direction possible

Selon le choix de l’interlocuteur, l’interview se déroulera différemment. Une professeure d’histoire aura des connaissances au sujet de la bataille, mentionnera des faits, des dates, alors que le lycéen sera plus en mesure de parler de l’avenir et de l’impact des événements sur lui (c’est peut-être sa première visite en Europe, il doit être impressionné par les lieux).

Key ideas

Penny: For a first visit to Europe, Shawn, this must be an incredible experience for you!

Shawn: Absolutely! I can’t believe that I’m here, on this ridge that my ancestors helped to take 100 years ago. It takes my breath away!

Le sujet d’expression 4

Une direction possible

Il faut décider à quel point on est d’accord avec la citation. Dans quel contexte peut-on et doit-on se souvenir du passé : dans la vie de tous les jours, lors de commémorations ? Doit-on oublier le passé en considérant que c’est le destin qui nous guide, quitte à être condamné à refaire les mêmes erreurs ? Ou doit-on construire notre présent et notre avenir en tirant des leçons du passé ?

Key ideas

Memory is a funny thing: when we look back at the past, we tend to see the world through rose-tinted glasses. Remembering the past is not a conscious choice, commemorating the past is, but the result is ultimately the same. If we do not consider our personal or collective past mistakes and learn from them then we are bound to make those mistakes again. Our present and indeed our future depend on making different choices and remembering the past.