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February 28th, 2012
World War Two: Ottawa's War
1. the north atlantic triangle
september 1939, canada goes to war along side great britain but not the united states
reasons they went to war as important as why canada waited a week
to understand wwii politics
uk smart manipulated animal or spiritual animal who saw hitler as a villain, pull of light and
dark forces
war from perspective of ottawa
by joining war effort, entered diplomatic contecxt—diplomatic triangle in north atlantic, in
this triangle there are 3 key dynamics that we want to understand
drew canada closer to britain 9the war did)
1940 western europe conquered by germany
britain feared invasion by germany and vice
no usa yet
canada a key ally
us dont enter until dec 1941
canada offers 2 kinds of support, economic and military support
canada, revs up its army
by end of sept 1939 they had 60,000 enlistments
those inital soldiers go under largely british set war strategy
although units normally led by canadian officers, canada throughout war acepted
leadership of great britains military structure
canada largely added influence to these great pwoers
canada joins to undertake training efforts
wants germans take europe, britain doesnt invade right away
lots of training equipping an dmobilizing
canada joins great britain, biritsh commonwealth air training plan—bring polit to canada
to train, and directed by ropyal canadian efforts on behalf of britain and other dominions
king reluctant to engage in this before war, thought it would suggest inevitable
participation in war
wanted to avoid definite signals
consisderable behind the scenes tension about these joint training efforts
a lot of jockeying for position, arguments about policy,
canada supports britain financially and economically
canada lent or gave britain 3 million, most spent in canada
to make war material to britain
given the money and britain spends it on canadian workers, but helps with the war effort
canada and britain drawn closer
second dynamic are ties to the united states
see ties in economic and military terms
ogdenburg agreement—first of two key agreements before usa even enters the war in
1941
ogdensburg agreement military agreement with canada and usa about coordinating
defense strategy for the war
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permanent joint board of defense
coordinate continental defense and discussions
leads to series of discussions on how continent should defend itself
1940 first agreement reached by the joint board of defense, should germany succesfully
take over britain then canada would let usa set direction of war and canada would follow
ppl dont know britains going to fall
1941, seond plan, when threat on britain less dire, what should we do if usa enters, canada
resisted being subjegated to americans
inital agreement about britain in peril and likely to be invaded
canada and us coming together on military issues before us enters war
hyde clark declaration july 1941, still before usa enters
agreement between usa and canada, roosevelt and king
usa and canada coordinate defense spending a little more closely
balance trade between the two countries
trade would get unbalanced
allowed british government to use american aid and spend it in Canada
whole idea is to try and coordinate economic mobilization, but whole dynamic is to
coordinate war efforts
through out all this particularly after 1941 december, canada has relatively little influence
over big piutre of war
when usa enters it becomes must more concerned with global rather than continental
issues
great powers set war poliy
set broad terms fo war poliy, small ountries fall in line
canadian officials explicit about relative weakness to great powers
we were not consulted about plans and decisions at high levels unless out agreement was
essntial, and this was seldom—lester pearson on war service in canadian embassy in
washingotn
articulate functional principle: say in setting policy for war should be a function for how
much importance a particular country has in that area, key question is food
major providerr of food for war
bread basket for the world
canadian officials argued their role with food should give them a bigger say
combined food board, organizaaiton where all allies have membership and try to feed all
ally armies
should have say as great power because canada has control over food policy
in areas where they are important, influence should be a function of responsability
great powers didnt buy in theory, but canada gets a representative, small powers can have
strong influence in particular areas
2. mobilizing the nation
information
government moves to aggresively create meaning for the war
implant in canadians minds what the war should mean
1st way was to control and suppress information
early in war federal government put out series of regulations called defense of canada
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