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Chapter: Canada’s History

Topic: The Second World War

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World War II

World War II began when the German dictator Adolf Hitler invaded a large portion of Europe, including Poland in 1939. Hitler was a National Socialist when he rose to power. Canada, along with other democratic allies, sought to free the continent from the dictator’s tyranny using force.

In the second world war, more than a million Newfoundlanders and Canadians enlisted in the battle, out of 11.5 million people in total. Newfoundland then was considered a separate entity. It’s believed that 44,000 were killed during the campaign.

The soldiers of Canada suffered massive losses but fought bravely even in the face of loss. In 1941, the Allies lost Hong Kong against Imperial Japan. Then in 1942, they lost again trying to capture Dieppe, which lay along the coast of France.

The Battle of Britain saw the RCAF, or Royal Canadian Air Force entering the battlefield with a great number of aircrew in both fighter plane and bomber divisions. Canada contributed more than other Commonwealth regions in the air, with more than 130,000 men undergoing training under the Air Training Plan by the British Commonwealth.

The Battle of the Atlantic proved to be the Royal Canadian Navy’s finest hour. In the campaign, Canadian air force pilots protected merchant ship convoys from the submarines of Germany. Furthermore, the Merchant Navy of Canada played a significant role in feeding, clothing and the resupply of Britain’s armies. Canada had the disctinction of having the third largest navy after World War II ended.

During the Pacific war theater, Imperial Japan conquered the Aleutian Islands and committed other atrocities and aggressions, including maltreatment of Canadian soldiers who were captured in Hong Kong, fire balloons in B.C., and an attack of a Vancouver Island lighthouse. The Pacific war finally came to an end on August 14, 1945 with the surrender of the Japanese forces and after four long years of battle.

In the aftermath of the war, the B.C. held a notion that Canadians that had Japanese descent were not worthy of occupying the country. As a result, they were forced to relocate out of Canada by the federal government. Also, the Japan-born immigrants were forced to give away their property. Despite the argument from the RCMP and the military that the Japanese held little to no danger to Canada, their cries fell on deaf ears. Ottawa nonetheless carried out the process. However, in 1988 the Canadian government issued an apology for the wrongdoing and provided compensation for those who were affected or involved.