Canada & World War II

Social Studies 11

Mr. Miles;xNLx;

1939-09-03 00:00:00

Battle of the Atlantic

With the use of their U-boats, the Germans began sinking Allied merchant ships in the Atlantic, hoping to wear down Britain, who was almost entirely dependent of food and munitions from Canada and the United States. Initially, the Germans had the upper hand, but the Allies, after cracking the German naval code, building better ships, training better crew, and using airplanes to protect the convoys, were finally able to win the Battle of the Atlantic. This was a pivotal event for Canada, as well as the rest of the Allies, as goods and munitions could now be sent to Britain without delay. As the Canadian government tried to contribute to the war without sacrificing lives, the war-driven economy and exports to the Allies in Europe became a huge part of Canada’s war effort. After defeating the German U-boats, Canada was now able to ship goods much more successfully, allowing the country to maximize its economic contributions and profits from the war.

1939-09-10 00:00:00

Canada's Declaration of War

During the special session of Parliament on September 8th to decide on Canada’s involvement in the war, both the Liberals and the opposing Conservatives were in favor of joining the war and only faced opposition from J.S. Woodsworth, the leader of the Commonwealth Cooperative Federation. Two days later, the Canadian government declared war on Germany with the promise that no conscription would be put in place.

1939-12-17 00:00:00

British Commonwealth Air Training Plan created

In order to contribute to the war effort without sacrificing lives, Canada created a training plan for British instructors to train volunteers from all over the Commonwealth to become pilots and other aircraft servicemen in Canada. Canada’s climate, wide open spaces and distance from the war in Europe and the Pacific made it an ideal location to host such a training program. The creation of the BCATP was one of Canada’s most significant and main contributions to the war effort. The program trained half of all the Allied pilots and aircraft personnel in World War II and cost over $2.2 billion. The program was a success - by offering their land as training grounds, Canada played a big role in the war in the air and Canadians to this day are proud of this accomplishment.

1940-06-21 00:00:00

National Resources Mobilization Act passed

In response to popular demand of more government action, Prime Minister Mackenzie King introduced the National Resources Mobilization Act, allowing the government to assemble all the resources in Canada to defeat the enemy when necessary. Even though King had promised earlier that there would be no conscription, the Act required mandatory enlistment, but only for home defense.

1941-12-08 00:00:00

Battle of Hong Kong

On the same day as the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese troops invaded Hong Kong, a British colony in which Canadian troops had been sent to months earlier. The battle was a major defeat for Canada as their insufficiently trained troops, their lack of air or naval support, and limited possibility of sea evacuation resulted in all the Canadian soldiers either being killed or taken as a prisoner of war.

1941-12-25 00:00:00

POW camps in Pacific War

After the Battle of Hong Kong, many Canadian troops, along with other Allied soldiers the Japanese had captured, were taken to Prisoner-of-War camps located in the Japanese empire, where they were forced to do physical labor in brutal conditions, and often lacked food, water, and clothing. The prisoners also became test subjects for Japanese doctors as they participated in starvation and freezing “experiments,” which ultimately caused half of all deaths in the POW camps.

1942-02-24 00:00:00

Japanese Canadians sent to Internment Camps

During the Pacific War, as Canadians became more and more suspicious of Japanese spies in their country, government-run Japanese Internment camps were created and those of Japanese descent were forced to attend. Under the Internment, 22 000 Japanese Canadians were not allowed within 100 miles of the coast and had to move inland to camps where they were to be detained until the end of the war. This decision was quite pivotal for Canada. Although Canadians were upset about their soldiers being taken to Japanese POW camps, they still would do the same thing to the Japanese-Canadian population in their own country. (However, the Internment camps weren’t as bad as the POW camps.) This move would leave scars between the two cultures and ultimately ruin the lives of several Canadians who were of Japanese descent.

1942-04-01 00:00:00

Plebiscite on Conscription

To not seem as though he went back on his word, King decided to hold a plebiscite on the issue of conscription as not enough Canadians were volunteering to become soldiers. The majority of all provinces, except Quebec, voted for conscription, resulting in 12 000 NRMA conscripts being sent overseas. This was pivotal in Canada’s war effort as the country shifted from focusing on economic contributions to military contributions to the war as well. Although fewer than 2500 conscripts actually reached the front due to conscription being implemented late, those in Canada that were anti-conscription were very disappointed with the government. Quebec was especially angered and the issue caused even deeper separation between French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians since the 1st World War.

1942-08-19 00:00:00

Dieppe Raid

During the experimental raid on the German-occupied French port of Dieppe, the Second Canadian Division, eager to participate in the war after spending years of training in Britain, was chosen to be the main force of attack against the German defenses. The raid was a terrible defeat for the Allies as their attack was delayed by a German convoy, their communications between ships and troops were poor, their tanks proved immobile on the pebbled beach, and the German soldiers stationed on the cliffs alongside the English Channel could easily machine-gun them down.

1943-07-10 00:00:00

Invasion of Sicily & Italy

When the Allies invaded Sicily and Italy to recapture Europe, Canadian soldiers also participated. Sicily was successfully captured within 2 weeks, while the advance through Italy was more tedious and difficult until the Allies finally captured Rome on June 4th, 1944.

1943-12-20 00:00:00

Battle of Ortona

During the Allies’ campaign through Sicily and Italy, Canadian soldiers were met with German troops as they fought to capture the medieval coastal town of Ortona. This particular battle was especially fierce, though the Canadians still won, despite losing a staggering 1372 soldiers in the period of fighting.

1944-06-06 00:00:00

D-Day/ Invasion of Normandy (Juno Beach)

On D-Day, the Allies planned their major advance into Europe by invading Normandy, along which five landing points were decided upon. (The Canadian troops got “Juno Beach.”) Although the invasion was dangerous and resulted in many casualties, the Allies were successful as they kept the attack a secret from the Germans and had immense air and naval support.

1944-11-08 00:00:00

Liberation of the Netherlands

While the Allies were attacking Germany, Canadian soldiers were chosen separately to liberate the Netherlands. Although the fighting was slow and the casualties were high, the Germans troops were eventually surrounded and had to surrender to the Canadians on May 4th, 1945. Canadians also began air dropping and delivering food and fuel to the starving civilian population of the Netherlands, whose resources had been cut off earlier in 1944. This was a significant event in Canada’s war effort as Canadian soldiers who fought to liberate the Netherlands from German rule were treated as heroes by the Dutch. A Canadian legacy was built in the Netherlands and a special relationship between the two countries still exists to this day.

1945-05-08 00:00:00

Victory in Europe Day

With the Allies attacking them from the west and Russia attacking them from the east, Germany was surrounded and forced to officially surrender on May 7th, 1945. The defeat of the German empire was celebrated the day after on VE Day, marking the victory of the Allies and the end of World War II in Europe.

1945-08-14 00:00:00

Victory over Japan Day

As the Pacific war progressed, the United States conducted the first uses of the atomic bomb in war, destroying two major cities in Japan. The Japanese government, with the treat of the new weapon, realized they had no chance of victory and was forced to surrender to the Allies, marking their defeat on V-J Day and ending World War II.

Canada & World War II

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