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HISB41H3 (45)
Lecture 6

lecture 6

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C Pennington

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 doesn’t 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 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 Canadian pilots in british air force RCAF saw action as well In fall of 1940 - hitler - decided to attack directly london itself - wanted to bomb civilian population into surrender - the blitz - big mistake - he took his attention away from british military King didn’t like Churchill - he was intimidated by him - Churchill was an illustrious statesman King felt like he didn’t measure up Picture of churchill - taken by canadian by Yusuf Carche - photographer stole his cigar - he looks annoyed Hitler felt like he couldn’t invade Britain - not a contest of two equals - like to wrestlers - little wrestler just trying not to get pinned June 1941 - hitler turned east - largest invasion in history 3 million german troops - 1 mill Soviet troops died in one day Estimated 1 out of 6 russians died - 25-30 million people Great thing for Britain - took hitlers focus away from Britain fro 3 yrs Churchill said even if Britain was defeated - fighting would go on from the new world - Britain empire would re locate to Canada Roosevelt guaranteed king that Canada had his support if that happened Disaster at hong kong dec 1941 First active combat for Canadian ground forces 20k troops - british thought it was indefensible in case of war with Japan When Canadians what they could contribute - churchill asked them to go to quebec 2000 canadian trooops went - from quebec and winnipeg - not well trained Churchill didn’t really care - just warm bodies - didn’t think hong kong could be defended anyways After 3 week battle - hong kong fell on christmas 1941 Commander of canadian forces in hong kong - jk lawson - made a final desperate call to british hq - said we re being over run -took a pistol in both hands and went out to battle - he was killed Those who survived were captured - endured yrs of suffering in POW war camps - horrific conditions - starvation and abuse - many died This was a fiasco - devastating defeat for Canadian troops Second land action no better 1942 - hitler focused on east - allied forces - US in war bc of pearl harbour attack - 1942 - Allied forces looking to probe german defences - wanted to open a second front - to divide german troops This was tall order -west coast of france heavily fortified by german British high command - launched raid at Dieppe to test german defences - sneak attack Raid just before dawn - british and Canadian - not a permanent raid - just hit and run The raid turned out to be disaster - 5k canadians and 1k british Sun was already coming up - don’t know if germans knew they were coming - but no element of surprise - within 10km of shore - they were already under attack Raid lasted 9 hours - some canadians did scramble ashore - but did not achieve any objectives Casualty rate 60% 3k canadians - captured or killed Germans filmed out - so unconcerned were they about losing It was total fiasco Canadians might be forgiven for thinking that British just sent Canadians where ever British knew the situation was hopeless From 1941 - from the time that hitler invaded USSR - canadians active in bombing germany from air Four engine bombers - the lancaster Huge bomber - heavy bomb load - from Britain to germany and back to Britain in single flight Canada heavily involved in this mission - bomber command - was a controversial component of allied war effort - no question in launching high altitude of bombing - there was
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