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An Escalating War (27 August 1914)  

As the month of August progressed, stories of German atrocities were relayed to Canadians. A number of Belgian towns and villages had been destroyed. Thousands of Belgians had died in the struggle to protect their country from the Germans, who had violated their neutrality in early August, during the Siege of Liege from 4 to 16 August. By mid August the Germans were said to be occupying Brussels, and the Belgian government was now operating out of Antwerp as a result. Switzerland too was beginning to suffer as well, specifically their food supply, despite their neutrality.

The Germans then began  advancing to  the French border . The French were holding their own against the attacks, aided by the British Expeditionary Force, who had just landed in France. The British Forces were lead by General John French, who was received warmly in Paris. The Russians were making their way towards the eastern German border as quickly as possible. There was however no definitive news on the movements of the British and German Navies. Overall it was evident that the war was quickly escalating by the end of August. Back in Canada, the First Contingent was still being trained, and it was announced that a Second Contingent would be raised.

(“Big Force on Move,” Waterloo Chronicle Telegraph, 13 August 1914; “German Army is Advancing through Heart of Belgium,” Waterloo Chronicle Telegraph, 13 August 1914;“War News From Europe,” Elmira Signet, 13 August 1914; “King Albert of Belgium. His Stand Against Germany Forced Britain to Intervene,” Ayr News, 20 August 1914;  “War News,” Elmira Signet, 20 August 1914; “Bombard Unfortified City,” Ayr News, 27 August 1914; “Fled Before the Germans,” Ayr News, 27 August 1914; “Latest Reports Say Allies Are Holding Enemy,” Elmira Signet, 27 August 1914.)




Vandalism of the Kaiser Bust in Berlin, Ontario and other acts of hostility towards German-Canadians (27 August 1914)

Numerous articles were reprinted in the Waterloo Region newspapers that discussed accusations against German-Canadians.In London, Ontario, The London Advertiser denounced accusations that German residents were wrecking trains and spying for the Kaiser, stressing that most German-Canadians had been born in Canada and were loyal to the British Empire. The Montreal Herald reminded their readers, “we do not need to fight these battles over again by saying things to each other,” in an attempt to reduce hostilities towards German-Canadians in Quebec. Despite the inclusion of all these articles, and other articles in Waterloo Region newspapers, hostility was still present in Waterloo Region towards German-Canadians.

On 27 August, the bust of Kaiser Wilhelm I was removed from its pedestal in Victoria Park, Berlin and thrown into the park lake. The Kaiser bust was erected in 1897, one year after the park was opened and a statue of Queen Victoria was erected in 1909. The statue of the Queen was left unmarked in August 1914. This act of vandalism greatly upset the German-Canadians in the region and outraged Mayor Euler who stated that “the deed was one of the most outrageous ever committed in the city” and that the city’s citizens were undeserving of this humiliation. Prior to this vandalism, a German flag had also been destroyed at the park, indicating that the hostility towards German-Canadians, and residents of German origin, was increasing in the region.

(“Insulting German Canadians (The London Advertiser),” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 15 August 1914, “Our German Citizens (Montreal Herald),” Hespeler Herald, 20 August 1914, “The Standpoint of German Canadians,” Elmira Signet, 3 September 1914, “Bust of Kaiser Thrown into Lake,” Elmira Signet, 27 August 1914, “Kaiser Wilhelm I Bust Thrown in Park Lake,” Waterloo Chronicle-Telegraph, 27 August 1914; Visual:





Governor General Connaught is Staying in Canada (27 August 1914)  

It was officially announced that the Duke of Connaught would remain in Canada as Governor-General as a consequence of the war. The Duke’s term was supposed to end in October 1914, but it would now be extended indefinitely. The duke’s wife, Princess Margaret of Prussia and their daughter Princess Patricia, would also remain in Canada. This decision took the Duke’s familiarity with Canada and his expertise in public and military affairs into consideration. Additionally, this meant that the Duke, the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria would continue to represent the Royal family and their interests in Canada during the war. The fact that his Prussian wife remained as well demonstrated that there could still be unity between British and Germans on Canadian soil.

(“Connaught is to Stay Here,” Hespeler Herald, 27 August 1914.)