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Lecture 6

HISB41H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Atlantic Ocean, Mechanized Infantry, Carche

7 pages94 viewsWinter 2011

Department
History
Course Code
HISB41H3
Professor
C Pennington
Lecture
6

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Lecture 6
February-28-11
2:03 PM
The Second World War 1939-45
Ww1 - lecture prof doesn’t like to give - and to turn it into positive lecture material - tragedy in
every respect - hard to justify - we say it was fought for freedom - but that is a lie
Not the case for second world war - the war was from first to last - fought for good reason - to
resist axis - italy, germany, japan
Germany had sinister intentions
Important that the allies won the war - civilization would have gone to dark place for long time if
hitler and axis won
It was war worth fighting
Great loss of life - but not as extreme as ww1 - and it can be justified - US calls it the good war -
not like war in korea and vietnam
Wa was worth fighting
At outset - canada in diff position than ww1
Canada is now an independent country - when britiish declared war doesnt mean canada has to
go to war
Germany invaded poland - safety guaranteed by Britian - Sept 1 1939
Ultimatum - withdraw by third of sept - germany destroyed poland - the campaign was remarkable
for how lopsided it was - blitzkreig - overwhelmed polish army - relied on cavalry
Allied declaration of was on Sept 3 1939 - Britain and France - US gets involved in 1941
King - emergency cabinet called - unanimous consent - one or two french ministers were
concerned about conscription and division of country
King was good persuader - said there will be no conscription
King made it clear Canada was going to fight - but had to be formalized by parliament
1939- Leacock - quote about war - ?
No formal obligation to go to war - but moral obligation - deep ties bw canadians and British
empire
In canada's interest to go to war - there was a chance that Britain could lose
Parliament passed motion in favour of going to war - Sept 10 1939
That week was a deliberate pause to show that canada was going in under its own control
Phony war Sept 1939-1940
Germany used blitzkrieg - rapid coordinated use of aircraft and mechanized infantry - german
troops could strike quickly
They defeated poland in matter of weeks - to late in yr to go west and attack france
After conquest of poland - uneasy waiting - they knew germany was going to attack in spring -
sitskrieg
Canadas main contribution to war - battle in atlantic - 1939-45 - longest battle in the entire war
Not a lot of direct contact bw surface vessels - germans invested in submarines called u boats -
havoc on british shipping - german goal was not to destroy the british and canadian navy - but to
sink the shipping - of vital supplies
To counter that - the british assisted with canadians and americans - formed huge convoys -
protected on the outside by warships - called corvettes - small vessels - meant to fight
submarines - they were small cramped and dirty vessels
Worst position - to be on a merchant ship
Couldn’t see the enemy 99% of the time
Long days at sea - threat of torpedo
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In merchant ship - you didn’t even have weapons - you were the target - but didn’t have any
defence - all you could do is hope your ship is not hit - atlantic ocean was below freezing - could
only survive 5 minutes
U boats had substantial advantage - tide turned gradually - thanks to tech advances like radar
This british could crack german naval codes - they cracked the codes
1000s of vassals were sunk - esp. up to 1942
This was the principle engagement of the canadian royal navy
Churchill said - the only thing that frightened him was the u boats
This was a commitment King could stand - he didn’t mind battle of atlantic - losses were not that
severe
He also sought to contribute without commited heavy ground forces - British commonwealth Air
training plan - 1939-45
British needed place to train their men - they couldn’t train in Britian - german bombers could hit
them
Canada was safe though - pearson airport had its origins in this plan
It was expensive 1.6 billion canadian dollars - canada paid for it
Huge success - 130k personnel were trained - bombers, gunners
72k were canadians being trained
In addition to these contributions - Canada gave a lot of money to Britain -
Over the course of the war - canada would donate 3 billion dollars to Britiain - Budget was 550
million per yr
This was the kind of commitment king could live with
As long as contribution could be kept to these areas - conscription not nec
German forces marched through western Europe in matter of days - denmark, norway, belgium,
holland APR-MAY 1940
France surrenders in June 1940 - shocking unexpected collapse
In a matter fo weeks france was defeated
British army was almost annihilated - had to be evacuated from France - dunkirk
They had to leave heavy equipment behind
Situation now desperate for GB
Hitler in control of western Europe - US not yet in war - USSR signed non aggression pact with
germany before war
GB left all alone
Battle of Britain July 1940-June 1941
Churchill - Britians most important ally was now canada
Canada not really fit to fight in 1939
Even by spring of 1940 - only one division had been raised - arrived in Britain - only battle ready
division in Britian
If germans crossed the channel and invaded it would be Canadians that would have to defend the
country - Britain would have been defeated
Churchill becomes PM - rallied British people to fight and not to surrender - hitler expected that
He respected British people - they know how to control people - thought GB would surrender to
Germany
British refused
Churchill in particular refused "we shall never surrender"
Hitler had not really prepared to invade Britain - he didn’t expect them to resist - he didn’t have
navy, or heavy bombers
Battle of Britain lasted a yr - was a persistent german attempt to knock out defences of Britian to
so it could invade island
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