Canada in the Second World War


On the Eve of War

The decade preceding the Second World War remains deeply etched in our collective memory as an era of social and economic hardships; those “hard times” will prove to be a breeding ground of extremist movements. Throughout Canada’s huge territory, eleven million people through the press and radio witness the political events that are destabilizing Europe.

Unemployment and hunger prey on everybody’s mind; memories of the military feats from the Great War fade away as the Depression settles in. Most Canadians want peace but they cannot remain indifferent as dictatorships spread their shadow over Europe. United, Canadians will once again rise to defend democracy and freedom and help allied countries fight Nazi aggression.

Aggression and Impunity

Hitler’s vision of a strong Germany demands the re-establishment of its military power. He reintroduces conscription in 1934 and starts rebuilding the fleet. In March 1935, the existence of a reconstructed air force, the Luftwaffe, is made public. The League...

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Peace for Our Time

In 1938, Hitler was about to make his dream come true, to unite his native land, Austria, with Germany. In order to put an end to Germany’s continuous pressure towards unification, or Anschluss, Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg suggests a...

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The Rise of Fascism

The economic depression that follows the 1929 stock market crash has a dramatic impact on European and American nations. In a climate of social turmoil and high unemployment, Marxist and Socialist parties rise against right-wing industrialists often supported by the...

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Unemployment, Drought and Locusts

Economically, the Great War resulted for Canadians in an era of precarious prosperity, which came to a sudden end in 1929 when the stock market crashed. At the time, the event was viewed as a brutal — but temporary —...

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On August 23, 1939, Germany astonishes the world by announcing that it has signed, in spite of its deeply anticommunist ideology, a pact with the USSR. The Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact (from the signatories’ names) includes a non-aggression clause, a trade agreement...

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