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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 was a great Empire •He expected the British to be reasonable and fall to Germany as well •He though the British would surrender, like the French •Hitler misjudged the British and their will to continue fighting •The situations was bleak in the Spring of 1940 •June 1940, the British found themselves as the only power fighting against the Germans •Reasonable people though that some negotiations were better than slaughtering at the hands of the Germans Winston Churchill tried to motivate the British people, but made it very clear that the • British government would NEVER give-in to the Germans even at the prospect of being defeated •At the time, it was not a wise move to continue fighting because they were totally outmatched -- there was a constant fear of being invaded •When the British decided to holdout, the Germans would bomb the British Isles •The British knew that this was inevitable, so they did their best to resist the bombing threat •The British had a couple of advantages, like radar -- the Germans didn’t even know about it •Canadian contribution: because they had been ill-equipped since the evacuation, the Canadians were the best equipped force to defend the British home front •Hitler bombed London as a terror tactic, this is known as the London Blitz -- this marked a turning point in the War THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1939-1945 •It was intended to scare the British into submission •Spring of 1941, Hitler gave up on Britain in favor of the Soviet Union •The defense in the Battle of Britain was mainly the Royal Canadian Air Force, with one Canadian squadron •Canada also began contributing to the British financial support “T OTAL W AR ,” FROM J UNE 1940 •There was no chance of Britain defeating the Germans by themselves, but they could hold out •After the Battle of Britain, they held out with the assistance of Canada •Winston Churchill was waiting for the Americans to come into the War, but were ready to fight •If they had been invaded, the British Empire would have relocated to Canada •Canada gave a gift of $1 billion in direct aid for the war effort In many other ways, Canada abandoned limited liability in favor of total war -- all • Canadian institutions had contributed to the war efforts after this point •At the same time, King had to remember that maybe Britain was going to lose •1940 -- King called up Roosevelt to arrange some sort of mutual arrangement -- hammered out the Ogdesnburg Agreement •He confirmed that the United States of America would not stand idly by in the event of Canada getting attacked •A permeant Joint Board of Defense was created -- designed to plan for continental defense •Big step for Americans to take as a neutral country •Churchill was not thrilled -- it appeared to Churchill as if Canada thought Britain was going to lose •1941 -- King and Roosevelt hammered out the details of an economic partnership in the Hyde Park Declaration •Canada and the United States of America would manufacture what ever they could do best •Beginning of an continental integration King is often criticized for his commitments to the United States of America • LIMITS OF K ING’SINFLUENCE •In matters of grand strategy, Roosevelt didn’t want to hear from King •August,1941 -- United States of America, Canada, and Britain created the Atlantic Charter, which discussed post-war peace •When discussing the critical issues, King was never around because they thought he was a junior member •The same problem that Borden -- the strong powers didn’t want to share information with Canada •King didn’t know much about military strategy, so generally just consented THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1939-1945 B ATTLE OFH ONG K ONG , DECEMBER 1941 •British asked King to reinforce the British garrison at Hong Kong with 2000 soldiers -- the Winnipeg Grenadiersand Royal Rifles of Canada •The British knew that couldn’t hold Japan in the event of war with Japan •Canadians found themselves under siege immediately after the Attack on Pearl Harbor •J.K. Lawson was the highest Canadian soldier to be killed in action -- the Japanese gave him a full burial •John Osborn was given the Victoria Cross for saving several comrades by falling on a Grenade •The battle was a disaster -- all of the Canadians involved were either killed, wounded, or captured •The Canadians forces in Hong Kong were ill trained/equipped THE D IEPPER AID, 19 AUGUST 1942 Also very notorious • •Dieppe raid was the brain-child of Lord Mountbatten •The idea of stopping the enemy on the beaches •Lots of pressure by the Soviet Union to open up a second front -- the only front in use at this time was the Eastern front, where the Soviet soldiers were suffering staggering losses •The Allies didn’t open up a second front •Mountbatten believed it was a good idea to arrange an attack on Dieppe, to aid the Soviet Union •The raid was not kept secret -- the Germans knew they were coming •King said it was alright to use Canad
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