When World War I broke out in 1914, all Dominions of the British Empire, including Canada, were called upon by Great Britain to fight on her behalf. Canada's sacrifices and contributions to the war changed its history and enabled it to become more independent, while opening a deep rift between the French and English speaking populations. For the first time in its history, Canadian forces fought as a distinct unit under a Canadian-born commander. Battles such as Vimy Ridge, Second Battle of Passchendaele and the Battle of the Somme are still remembered today by Anglophones as part of Canada's founding myth, to both its identity and culture. Canada's total casualties stood at 67, 000 killed and 173, 000 wounded. These figures are disproportionately high considering Canada's total population of 7 million on the eve of WWI.