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The Second World War .pdf

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University of Toronto St. George

THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1939-1945 INTRODUCTION •“Humanity went to one of the worst places” •The single most destructive war in all of history -- it was really unprecedented in its scale •Between 50 and 75 million people died There is now question that this was a just war • •People who died in the war did not die in vain because there was a very real threat •Larger in scope that the First, at lest for Canada •One million men and 100,000 women, but causalities were less C ANADA ’S R OLE OF A PPEASEMENT • The war created great challenges for king because he had to mange a war effort and the home front •There was the same question about conscription “PARLIAMENT W ILLD ECIDE,” EPTEMBER 1939 •The British and the French gave a guarantee to Poland -- if Poland was attacked they would come to Poland’s aid Hitler didn’t anticipate that the Invasion of Poland would get a strong response • •September 1,1939 -- Germany invaded Poland •Britain and France gave Germany an ultimatum -- Germany declined and the War began on September 3 •Poland’s army was not ready to defend against German blitzkrieg •Within a month Germany had been conquered by Germany (and the Soviet Union) •There was never really any question that Canada was going to go to War •Though Canada was constitutionally independent, there was still a moral dependency •August 1939 -- King’s cabinet agreed in gong to war, but a limited war •King convened parliament -- almost unanimous support for going to war •Canada declared war a week (September 10) later than Britain -- wanted everyone to understand that Canada declared war on its own right •The Canadian armed forces were in a pretty pathetic state at the beginning K INGS W ARTIME PRIORITIES •King was not a very good wartime leader, but he had a very shrewd sense of timing and a great sense of the national mood •His priorities: preservation of national unity, military victory, meditating between United States of America and Britain •He saw himself as the linchpin in the North Atlantic Triangle -- King felt he could serve as a mediator between American President and the British Prime Minster THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1939-1945 •It was a concept that King felt fit into the Canadian identity, but it was not really needed in the War •National unity was everything to King -- if the country fell apart, everything was lost “L IMITEDL IABILIT,” TO JUNE 1940 •The period between the Invasion Poland and the Battle of France is known as the Phony War •King was not committed to total war -- limited liability •Wanted to make clear that conscription was not on the agenda •Unlike Borden, he knew this was going to be an enormous war, but decided against conscription •When Britain asked for troops, King complied and set up the First Canadian Force •King was interested in keeping Canadians alive over seas When British approached King about the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan • King was ecstatic -- it was a plan to train citizens from the dominions for the British Air Force •Canada was too far away for German bombers to reach -- it was too dangerous in Britain •This was a great commitment, but it wasn’t going to cost all lot of lives -- this is why he supported it •The BCATP trained 130,000 men •This was an extremely expensive program •Annoyed the British because he was unwilling to go all in -- to make common cause with the British •King annoyed the British because he said “this was not out war” B ATTLES B ATTLE OF THE A TLANTIC , 1939-1942 •One battle in which Canada fought •Began on the first day of the war and ended, virtually, on the last day of the war -- in 1942 there was less German defense It was a war between German submarines, U-Boats, and allied merchant ships • (civilian ships that had to cross the Atlantic) •The U-Boats would hide and attack the ships, usually at night -- making crossing the Atlantic were scary •The Merchant ships had protection in the form of convoys and escort ships •Merchant Seamen were not naval officers, but were regular officers •The Canadian navy was a very small unit, only 6 of which were destroyers •Over the course of the war the Navy would expand dramatically, becoming the 3 largest navy in the world! THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1939-1945 •The type of ship the Canadian Navy was known for the Corvette -- it was much smaller than destroyers and only good for hunting submarines, but they were poorly designed THE D ISASTROUS S PRING OF 1940 In the Spring of 1940, the Germans resumed their blitzkrieg offensive toward the west • •The allies were caught unsuspecting •In every one of these battles, the Germans assumed there would be a bitter resistance •Most dramatically, France fell in the Spring of 1940 within 2 weeks •This is because of poor French tactics •British tried to send their whole army across the Channel to help, but that didn’t do anything •The whole of the British army was evacuated in 3 days across the French channel to Britain -- the Dunkirk Evacuation B ATTLE OF B RITAIN •July 1940 to June 1941 •The period after the evacuation changed the pace of the War •Britain found that its greatest ally during the War was Canada •Hitler’s attention shifted to Britain -- he respected it because it
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