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VIMY: From Both Sides of the Ridge

April 20-22, 2017

MacEwan Ballroom

University of Calgary

Final Program

Full biographies and abstracts available here.

A PDF copy of this program can be downloaded here.


Thursday, April 20

Atrium, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, University of Calgary


6:00-8:00            Reception

Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, President, University of Calgary

Dr. David Bercuson, CMSS, University of Calgary

Dr. Michael Epkenhans, Zentrum für Militärgeschichte und Sozialwissenschaften der Bundeswehr (ZMSBw), Ministry of Defense, Germany


Friday, April 21

MacEwan Ballroom, 3rd floor, Students Union


8:00-8:45            Registration and Continental Breakfast


8:45-9:00            Introductions and Welcome

Dr. Florentine Strzelcyzk, Vice Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary

The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs


9:00-10:00          Session 1: The Political Context: Germany and Canada

Chair: Dr. Holger Herwig, CMSS

Vimy Aside: A Very Hard Year for Canada: Class, Ethnicity and the Politics of National Disunity in 1917

Dr. Patrick Brennan, Department of History, University of Calgary


Overall Germany Political Situation in 1917

Dr. Michael Epkenhans, ZMSBw


10:00-10:15       Coffee

10:15-11:45        Session 2: The Military Context: Germany and Canada

Chair: Dr. Jean-Sébastien Rioux, Associate Professor at The School of Public Policy & Senior Fellow, CMSS


The German Strategy in 1917

Dr. Gerhard Gross, ZMSBw


The Canadian Corps in the Great War: A Learning Organization in Action

                                               Lieutenant-Colonel David Fearon MSM, CD, Canadian Forces


War’s Hidden Casualties: Shell Shock at Vimy Ridge

Dr. Mark Humphries, Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies



11:45-1:00          Lunch

Introduced by Dr. David Bercuson

The Ramifications of Vimy Ridge for Germany

Dr. Hans-Hubertus Mack, ZMSBw



1:00-2:45            Session 3: Air power and Infantry

Chair: Dr. Ian Brodie, Associate Director, CMSS


Vimy and the Battle of Arras: The Evolution of the Air Campaign

            Dr. Mike Bechthold, History, Wilfrid Laurier University


A Not Insignificant Contribution: Air Power and Vimy Ridge

                                              Bill March, Directorate, RCA History and Heritage, Canadian Armed Forces


Health break 15 mins


Deployment to Employment: The Introduction of New Infantry Weapons in the Canadian Corps

Dr. William Stewart, independent researcher


A Portrait of the Soldier as a Young Man: Ernst Jünger at Fresnoy

Dr. Markus Pöhlmann, ZMSBw


2:45-3:00            Coffee


3:00-4:45            Session 4: Operational Learning

Chair: Dr. Rob Huebert, CMSS


The German Army in the Elastic Defence

Dr. Christian Stachelbeck, ZMSBw


Training for Disaster: The British 62nd Division and the First and Second Battles of Bullecourt

Dr. Geoff Jackson, Arts and Science, Ambrose University College


Health break 15 mins



The Sacrifice of Horses:” The B.E.F. Animal Health Crisis, Spring 1917

Dr. Andrew McEwen, Independent Researcher


Firepower, Mobility and Protection: Vimy Ridge

David Thuell, History and Political Science, Norwich University


6:30-9:30            Dinner

Introduced by Dr. Michael Epkenhans, ZMSBw

                                           American Entry into WWI

Dr. Michael Neiberg, Department of National Security and Strategy, US Army War College


Saturday, April 22

MacEwan Ballroom, 3rd floor, Students Union


8:00-8:45            Continental Breakfast


9:00-10:30          Session 5: The Meaning of Vimy for Canada

Chair: Dr. Holger Herwig, CMSS


National Myths and Pivotal Battles: The Case of Vimy Ridge

Dr. Rob Rutherdale, History and Philosophy, Algoma University


Marring the Memory: The 1967 Vimy Ridge Commemorations Imbroglio and Canada-France Relations

Dr. Serge Durflinger, History, University of Ottawa


Beyond The Taking of Vimy Ridge: The War Photographs of William Ivor Castle

Carla Stokes, Collections, O’Keefe Ranch


10:30-10:45       Coffee


10:45-12:15       Session 6: The Larger Picture

Chair: Dr. Patrick Brennan, Department of History, University of Calgary


Did Vimy Matter?

Dr. Jack Granatstein, Independent Researcher


Vimy and the Birth of the Nation: The Origins of the Phrase and How Its Meaning Has Changed over Time

Dr. Tim Cook, Carleton University, Canadian War Museum


Through Transnational Lenses: Allied Offensives in WWI

Dr. Michael Neiberg, Department of National Security and Strategy, US Army War College



12:15-1:30          Lunch

                             Introduced by: Dr. Mark Konnert, Department of History, University of Calgary


Myth and Memory: Vimy 2017 at the Canadian War Museum

Krista Cooke, Canadian War Museum


Dr. Tim Cook launches his new book, Vimy: Battle and Legend (Toronto: Penguin, 2017)


1:30-3:00            Session 7: Round Table on Vimy Ridge

Moderator: Dr. David Bercuson, CMSS


Moderated session with: Drs. Jack Granatstein, Michael Epkenhans, Tim Cook



3:00                     Wrap Up