Photo Essay, World War II in Canada

by Miika Jarvela

Canada primarily entered the war because of its position as a British Commonwealth. However, this is not to say that it was the only cause; Canada was definitely an independent country of this time, displaying its autonomy by maintaining neutral for a very brief time after the British declared war (after the Polish Invasion). It joined the Pacific Theatre after the US did because of the defense agreement it had signed in 1940. Overall, Canada was worried about Hitler's actions and those of the other Axis powers. Almost immediately after the beginning of the war (i.e. when Canada decided to join), they sent troops and reinforcements across the Atlantic over to help the British and French, who desperately needed it. Of the Commonwealth nations, Canada contributed the most. Their main objectives were to neutralize the acts of the Axis powers that encroached on the liberties and freedoms of other nations. They were willing to fight in order to maintain peace. Overall, Canada suffered some losses (as all countries), but they were vital to the Central powers. They provided necessary support that allowed the Central powers to overtake the Axis powers by the end of the war. Their innovation and numbers were useful.
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This newspaper articles shows the degree to which this war was considered total. It is obvious that (at least the government) was willing to do whatever it took in order to win. This is because their objectives were based on human freedoms and liberties, which were important to the Canadian people. This also shows the anticipation that the war will not be a short one, which is very accurate; it displays how much they needed to prepare in anticipation.

Newspaper Headlines. Digital image. BBC News. BBC, 31 Aug. 1999. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/special_report/1999/08/99/world_war_ii/430178.stm>.

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The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) was vital to the war efforts. This piece of propaganda is trying to encourage people to join the RCAF. In terms of its significance, this piece of art shows how revered the air force was in the general public (i.e. in a positive light). Because of posters such as these, the RCAF was able to have sufficient people to support the allies in Europe.

Bumblebeaver. PROPAGANDA WAR WWII CANADA ENLIST AIR FORCE PILOT FINE ART PRINT POSTER BB8234B. Digital image. Ebay. EBay Inc., 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://www.ebay.com/itm/PROPAGANDA-WAR-WWII-CANADA-ENLIST-AIR-FORCE-PILOT-FINE-ART-PRINT-POSTER-BB8234B-/151170338715>.
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Requisite aid was not just provided by just soldiers. This piece of propaganda shows just how pervasive the ideals of war were in Canadian society. It brings about the role of women, making them feel more important by being able to contribute to the war, something typically only men could do. Again, this shows the degree to which this war was total, because everyone had to contribute. This poster shows how important everyone is and little acts could be. Because of the shortage in supplies, they encouraged saving of these scarce resources.

Dewey, Pam. WW2 Canadian Propaganda Poster. Digital image. Pinterest. Pinterest, 2012. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <https://www.pinterest.com/pin/279715826826346095/>.
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This piece of propaganda shows just how important everyone was in contribution to the fighting. It displays how people at home are able to contribute to the front because something that is as big in scale as World War II requires this.

Steinberg, Danita. CANADIAN PROPAGANDA FILMS AND THEIR POSTERS DURING WORLD WAR II. Digital image. Toronto Film Scene. Toronto's Online Film Magazine, 29 Apr. 2013. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://thetfs.ca/2013/04/29/canadian-propaganda-films-and-their-posters-during-world-war-ii/>.
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Because there was not really a "front" in Canada, their best allocation of troops was in Europe. Almost immediately after declaring war, they sent convoys of fleets filled with troops to Europe. This is the kind of support that Canada showed throughout the war.

WW2Facts. Convoy being formed before sailing across the Atlantic. Digital image. Twitter. Twitter, 26 Oct. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <https://twitter.com/ww2facts/status/526404649629528064>.
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The Canadian Industry rapidly developed throughout the time of war. It was necessary because they needed to provide materials and manufactured goods to the allied countries who needed them. They were able to provide all kinds of weaponry and artillery because their allies were running low on those materials.

The Canadian War Industry. Digital image. Canada At War. WWII.ca, 17 Sept. 2007. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://www.canadaatwar.ca/content-17/world-war-ii/canadian-war-industry/>.
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Because of the war, the US government banned all non-essential exports to Canada (in order to preserve the US economy). This had a profuse effect on the children because this ban included comic books. Because of this, "Canadian whites" (called so because they were printed in black and white) as shown in the picture began to be published to fill this gap, so that the Children were not affected quite as much by the war efforts.

Durajlija, Walter. Canadian Whites Collection Found. Digital image. Bigbcomics. Big B Comics, 17 July 2013. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://www.bigbcomics.com/waltor/2013/07/17/canadian-whites-collection-found/>.
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There was a large number of the Canadian Youth (under the age of 21) participating in this war (over 700,000). This meant that there was a lack of the important age demographic within the society. If most of them died during the war, then there would be nobody to fill their void in the future after the war ended. This would lead to stagnation as they experience after World War I, so they had to figure out a way to prevent that. Moreover, the fact that everyone so young wanted to participate showed the degree to which this war was total in Canada. This picture depicts private Gérard Doré, who was the youngest man to die in the Battle of Normandy.

Doré, Paul Luis. Digital image. Geni.com. MyHeritage, 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://www.geni.com/people/Gérard-Jos-J-B-Doré/6000000002517726361>.
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This picture demonstrates training of the CRAF. Airplanes, because of their recent advent, were really important for this war. They were important because of the ability to add military applications (i.e. fire weapons) with the use of planes. The CRAF was crucial to this cause.

Hiller, Norman, and Fred J. Hatch. Pilot Trainees. Digital image. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Anthony Wilson-Smith, 4 Mar. 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/british-commonwealth-air-training-plan/>.
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Because of the respect that they received, it was customary to invite members of the air force over for dinner. This was one way in which the women who stayed at home were able to contribute to the war effort. By providing them (even strangers) with meals, it showed the support that everyone felt towards the war.

Carepoint. Home meal. Digital image. Carepoint.net. N.p., 24 July 2011. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://www.carepoint.net/content/cuts-to-meal-delivery-for-home-based-seniors-in-illinois-1996>.
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Another way in which civilians were able to provide help was through jobs related to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). The BCATP needed jobs like cooks, janitors, and even instructors for the academies. People at home were able to provide intellectual support by helping train pilots and recruits.

Monroe, Susan. BCATP Flying Training School in Virden, Manitoba 1944. Digital image. About New. About, 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://canadaonline.about.com/od/canadaww2/a/british-commonwealth-air-training-plan.htm>.

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"War brides" as they were called were introduced into Canadian society. Mainly, this included Canadian men who married people within the lands that they were fighting in (mainly Britain). Later, however, these women would come back to Canada. This changed the ethnic division and allowed for new cultural traditions to be introduced into Canada.

Mackey, Doug. Phil and Phyllis Bailey on their wedding day fifty-six years ago. Digital image. Past Forward Heritage Limited, 29 Nov. 2002. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://www.pastforward.ca/perspectives/nov_292002.htm>.
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This type of weaponry was called Canadian Anti-Acoustic Torpedo (CAT) gear. This invention was able to save many ships from torpedo attacks. By making a necessity for this type of technology to exist, the war made a push for innovation and a technological push. This technology saved lives of all allied troops and civilians.

Wolny, W. Hedgehog Anti-submarine Mortar. Digital image. Wikipedia. Wikimedia, 6 Jan. 2012. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-submarine_warfare>.
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Because of the climates that they had to face, the use of "fake furs" in order to provide for the soldiers facing harsh, cold weather, specifically because of the shortage of supplies. Because of this development, they were able to better provide for those in need and support the soldiers. This would have residual contemporary influence, as the advent of fake fur came about.

Faux Fur Luxury Shag Camel. Digital image. Fabric.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <https://www.fabric.com/buy/0260777/faux-fur-luxury-shag-camel>.
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Because of the shortage, Canadians developed things such as powdered egg, milk, bacon, etc. These rations were mainly sent over to the British who were running low on food. They were able to provide a significant amount of food.

Mcinnes, Fiona Ronan. WW2 Powdered Egg & Recipe for Eggy on Toast. Digital image. Pinterest. N.p., 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <https://www.pinterest.com/pin/317714948688197032/>.
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The Dieppe Raid was one of the most brutal for the Canadians. Lots of troops were taken into prisoner of war camps, while others were wounded or dead. Battles like this one would continue to occur throughout the war, but they continued not to lose hope.

March, Bill. Dieppe Raid. Digital image. Royal Canadian Air Force. Canada.ca, 19 Aug. 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/article-template-standard.page?doc=in-the-skies-above-dieppe-august-19-1942/idhq4ov9>.
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The relationship between Canada and the United States was an important one. The maintenance of this relationship was important because of their common interests in defeating Japan and the Germans. Canada participated in a lot of US operations and gave them access to complete their objectives.

National Film Board of Canada. OIL PIPELINE - HIGHWATER, P.Q. Digital image. Wikipedia. Wikimedia, 5 Apr. 2006. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada–United_States_relations>.
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This shows the relationship between the Canadian and British Prime Ministers and the American President. Because they were some of the most important nations, diplomacy amongst them was important. Canada acted as a middle-man in order to facilitate diplomacy between the UK and America and overall keep things running smoothly.

Stacey, C. P. Wartime Leaders. Digital image. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Anthony Wilson-Smith, 13 May 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/second-world-war-wwii/>.

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In terms of resistance and collaboration, Canada did not experience as much as some other nations. This does not mean that they were exempt from such. This is Jacob Lutijens, the first person to lose Canadian citizenship and be punished for his collaboration efforts during war time. He was originally a Dutch citizen, but he migrated over to Canada and ended up being punished after the war.

Jacob Lutijens. Digital image. De Dokwerker. Www.mokums.nl, 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://www.dedokwerker.nl/jacob_luijtjens.html>.
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Even children had to provide to the "war effort" by collecting valuable resources (especially scrap, rubber, etc.). Children often would stop going to school (at least full time; schools stopped counting attendance until the crops were harvested) in order to help maintain the farms and supply food to Canada and the other Allies. In terms of their self-perception, they were just preparing themselves to become soldiers by looking at themselves as such.

Poirier, Conrad. Two boys in the Rosemont neighbourhood gather rubber for wartime salvage. Montreal, Canada. Digital image. Wikipedia. Wikimedia, 5 Mar. 2009. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_front_during_World_War_II>.