Canada in World War Two
Through out World War Two, the Canadian military demonstrated tremendous courage and strength by overcoming overwhelming obstacles and refusing to give up in times of adversity. Most people know little about Canada’s large contribution to the war and the efforts Canada made. The World War was a event in history that helped Canadian society move towards excepting women’s performances of different roles in society, made Canada a reputable country, set standards of religious freedom and equality, increased agricultural production, gave Canada the opportunity to show it’s independence from Great Britain. and in general transformed Canada’s economy.
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The day that Canada had formally declared war on Germany was on Sunday, Dec 10, 1939 when it was announced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. At this time Canada didn’t have the resources for a war. Canada only had two anti-tank guns, 4 anti aircraft guns, and 16 modern light tanks. Budget cuts and neglect of the military caused this lack of weaponry from years in the past because of the government. There was only 5,000 soldiers which was a small amount but were very well trained, and the militia only had 50,000 members, which were also very poorly equipped. Many of the officers in the regular army fortunately were graduates of the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, or military schools in England. The officers of the British Army gave valuable experience to the Canadian soldiers. The British Army officers also decreased the lack of experience and equipment for the 50,000 militia and they were very enthusiastic. With this very small force was the foundation, which would develop into a professional combat force of five divisions. And so with nothing to begin with, not enough weapons and equipment, and a small amount of soldiers, Canada joined the war with courage and ready to have Great Britain’s side against Hitler and his forces.
As with World War 1, Canadians were not only considered expert and professional soldiers, they were feared by the Germans as an omen of impending attack (McAllister Par.5). Over on the high seas and on Britain, Canadian forces were relied upon to provide the defense and to spearhead assaults for major battles. Canada had proved again, that they are well good enough to have such reliability and fought with great power to win every battle they engaged. What made Canada a reputable country was the lack of fear and disappointment Canadian troops had. Some battles like Raid on Dieppe showed that aside from U.S.A. and Great Britain, there was a country who also was brave to land on a beach outnumbered ready to fight. The loss of Raid on Dieppe did not bring the Canadian army down, they surrendered in the battle but not in the war. People say Canada joining both World Wars was unnecessary and even spent 23 billion dollars, not only that but also having 14 million Canadians killed. But without Canada joining the wars, it would not be recognized as much and would just be thought as Britain’s sidekick. Also, by the joining the war Canada opened up its eyes towards its women and gave them jobs and freedom and itself realized what Canadian women were capable of. 45,000 women volunteered for military duty. They were not given the option to enlist in combat duty but could enlist in Women’s Division of Royal Air Force, as well as the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service and the Canadian Women’s Army Corp. (Alward Par.1). Canadian women were a big part of making Canada reputable and without Canada joining WW2 I don’t think Canada would have a chance to represent itself and it’s people.
Canada was mainly an agricultural country in 1939 where the industrial section was focused in Ontario, when raw materials from the forests and mines were the main exports. Over 60% of the population in Canada lived in rural areas. To feed, clothe, and supply the Canadian armed forces Canadian manufacturing of plants and processes would need a full reconstruction. Not just soldiers were working towards victory, but the whole country – even children. Many factories were transformed to military industry’s especially the automobile and airplane factory’s. For example, General Motors in Oshawa made over 1 million trucks in World War 2(Buntingj Par.5). Near railways new factory’s were being built for it to be easier to transport military equipment to the war zone. Women worked at these factories and also teenagers from 14 years old. The Government encouraged people to grow their own vegetables incase of lack of food in the country.
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During the war, Canada showed itself as a country that is strictly against fascism. Canada showed its loyalty to Great Britain and at the same time independence, it showed courage, and it’s possibility to quickly mobilize for war. Canadian soldiers and pilots demonstrated their high professional skills by fighting German U-Boats for freedom of Atlantic ocean transportation, saving Britain from capture during the German Luftwaffe attack, beginning Operation Overlord an offensive attack to turn the advantage of victory to the allies, and freeing Ortona from elite German paratroopers. Canada was in other battles too and in total in WW2, 45, 000 Canadians were killed and 97, 000 injured. For it’s involvement in WW2, Canada increased its prestige in the international political stage and became a more reputable country.
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