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TimeLinks: Point of View, The Outbreak of the First World War, August 1914

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In the last days of July 1914, recents immigrants to Winnipeg braced themselves for war in Europe. Through the pages of ethnic press, views on the potential conflict were expressed by members of each community. For some allegiance to Canada was an open question. Should they return to their homelands to heed the call to arms of their home governments? Would they heed Canada's call to arms?

Although an independent country in its domestic affairs by 1914, Canada did not control its external affairs and would be at war if the United Kingdom declared war. With uncertainty about whether Britain would remain neutral, ethnic communities debated to whom they owed the greater loyalty. The following is a sampling of opinion, close to the time of Britain's declaration of war.  How did the opinion leaders react, and what did their views mean for their communities and for Canada?

Manitoba Free Press (English)

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Der Nordwesten (German)

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The Israelite (Yiddish)

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Kanadiis'kyi Rusyn (Ukrainian)

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Gazeta Katolicka (Polish)

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La Liberté (French)

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Page revised: 29 August 2009

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