The Second World War is still a major significant event in the history of Canada. Despite being a small country, Canada played a significant role during the Western Europe campaigns and the Battle of the Atlantic. More than 1 million Canadian women and men served in the armed forces on full-time basis between 1939 and 1945.
More than 42,000 Canadian forces were killed during the Second World War. Nevertheless, the involvement of Canada in this world war played a crucial role in improving women’s role in the economy, transforming the industrial base and creating an avenue via which Canada joined NATO.
Canada Declares War against Germany
Canada declared war against Germany under Prime Minister King’s leadership on 11th May 1939. This was due to the aggressive behavior of Nazi that led to the destruction of a passenger liner with Canadian passengers.
How Canada Supported Other Countries in Winning the War
Canada amended its National Resources Mobilization Act that allowed it to recruit forces to join overseas missions. The Atlanta and Pacific forces that were established had tremendous value in the war.
Canada also offered support in form of training organization due to its strategic location. It also financed over 70% of the training costs. Over 130,000 pilots, flight engineers, ground staffs and navigators were trained in Canada. Another form of support that Canada offered the allied forces was war arsenals. The supply and munitions department established by Canada in 1940 oversaw weapons’ production. This made Canada one of the largest weapon producers by 1945.
The shipping and ship building industry of Canada also played a crucial role during the war. By 1940, Canada was already building patrol vessels after the collapse of France in the 1940s. The aim of Canada was to protect its coastal region. Later, Canada was requested by Britain to develop more naval and merchant ships.
Canada also supported other countries by producing warplanes. Canadian aircrafts industry increased female employees from 30,000 to 120,000 during the war. It supplied 16,418 aircrafts to the allied forces specifically Britain and the United States.
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How the Second World War Changed Canada in Peacetime?
In peacetime, the Second World War changed the economy of Canada. Initially, Canada had an agricultural economy but this was changed to a mining and industrial economy. By the time when the Second World War ended, Canadians’ purchasing power had improved. People were able to purchase services and goods and this boosted the manufacturing sector.
The automobile industry also benefited from the involvement of Canada in the war. By 1960s, about 66% of the population of Canada owned cars. To them, a car is not a luxury but a necessity.
Several civil rights groups or movements also emerged after the Second World War. Racism was challenged by the African-Canadians. Such movements included the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Colored People Fund. Such movements helped in the fight against different forms of discrimination.
For instance, the movements fought against the segregation of African children in schools. The attitude that people had towards the aboriginal people also changed after the war.
In conclusion, the Second World War had significant effects on different aspects of Canada. These include economic effects, cultural and political effects.
Submitted by: Wee Soods