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World War II Canadian Contributions Sana Usman CHV205-10 Mr.

Pallotta May 4, 2012

After the destruction caused by World War I, it was not long before Germany and the Axis Powers once again regained power to take over what they had lost. Under the command of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, Germany sought revenge after the humiliation caused by the League of Nations and the Treaty of Versailles. Quickly, as Hitler began to take over lost land, the countries that had once defeated Germany came together to create the Allies Power and it was in this that Canada was also included. Although, it was under the command of the British Empire, Canada had many valuable contributions which helped lead the success of the Allies Powers in the war. Canada's most significant contributions to the war effort included the industrial contribution, Canadian men and women, and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

As Hitler gained control, Canada was able to supply the right equipment and weapons that the Allies Powers could use to defend themselves against the Axis Powers. Canada's effort in the industrial front was highly important since they were able to supply large amounts of war equipment and supplies to help win the war (Bollotta, 167). Hundreds of Canadians were hired to work in the war production, creating military trucks, armored vehicles, planes, ships and weapons to be sent overseas (Bollotta, 165). Munitions plants were also created to provide ammunition and by 1945, war factories in Canada had created over 800, 000 military vehicles that included trucks and tanks (Bollotta,165). Moreover, Canada produced over 16,000 aircrafts to help the effort (World War II Database). All of Canada was aware of the importance of contributing to the war, and out of the total population of 11.3 million, 1, 049, 876 Canadians were a part of the war industries (Veterans Affairs Canada). In addition, as Germany enhanced their army, Canada kept on providing the essential equipment to the other Allies. Canadian industries produced a mass amount of military vehicles; 50,000 tank, 40, 000, field, navel, and anti-aircraft guns and 1,700,000 small arms (Veterans Affairs Canada). Companies all over Canada were issued to support the

cause by creating war equipment. For instance, 4000 heavy utility-body vehicles were created by General Motors in Oshawa. These vehicles were highly useful since they were able to convert into a personnel carrier, ambulance, or a machinery truck (Veterans Affairs Canada). Likewise, the Canadian Pacific Railway was also able to construct 788 Valentine tanks in Montreal, with engines created by General Motors (Veterans Affairs Canada). As a result of Canada's industrial contributions, the total value of the war production was almost $10 billion-approximately $100 billion now (Veterans Affairs Canada). Canada's effort towards the war effort was not unnoticed as they were able to supply all the necessities that the Allies needed to win. To summarize, without Canada's industrial contribution to the war effort, the Allies Powers could not have defeated and defended themselves against Germany and the Axis Powers.

Continuing on, not only did Canada supply intensive machines and equipment that helped its allies, many Canadian men and women had enlisted to join the war and bring success. Soon enough when the Allies realized that troops were needed, Canada was the first Commonwealth country to send its troops to Britain in 1939 (Veterans Affairs Canada). During the war, more than 40 per cent of the male population had enlisted, many of which were merely volunteers (Veterans Affairs Canada). Canadians were encouraged to join and serve in the war, working on the war front, as firefighters, and helping those who were injured during action (Veterans Affairs Canada). Many Canadians volunteered with the Red Cross, some acting as assistants to nurses and ambulance drivers. Others, working as firefighters, had no experience and received no training except for whatever they had learned from Veteran firefighters (Veterans Affairs Canada). Not only this, but 50, 000 women had joined the war and served as nurses, drivers, and firefighters as well (Bollotta, 167). Going against social and gender expectations, women also worked to create munitions, tanks, ships, and other weapons that the Allies could use (Bollotta, 157). By 1943, about 261, 000 women

were working in factories were they built munitions (Bollotta, 157). As well, over 1 million women worked in jobs outside of their homes, and despite the fact that many were uncomfortable with them working, 33, 000 worked along with men to build planes in the aircraft industry (Bollotta, 157). Many volunteered with the Red Cross and worked as nurses for the injured soldiers and although they were to work away from the battlefield, some did come under fire and were wounded or killed (Bollotta, 167). Canadians were all eager to enlist so they could contribute to the war effort and by mid-1942, the Canadian Army had increased with over 400, 000 Canadian men and women (World War II Database). In addition to this, over 3000 Aboriginals and Mtis men and women had also joined the Canadian forces (Bollota, 157). And despite over 200 had died in action (Veterans Affairs Canada), many decorations were served to the several Indians for displaying bravery and courage on the battlefield (Bollotta, 157). Without the many Canadian troops that had joined the war to serve, the other Allies would not have had enough support and backup during the war. In conclusion, as the war progressed, many Canadian men and women had enlisted and contributed their lives and hard work to the war effort.

Lastly, one of the most significant and recognized Canadian contributions to World War II was the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan held in Canada. Created in 1939, the program was under the control of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RACF), and included several units that were used for training, recruiting, administration and maintenance (Royal Canadian Air Force). Canada was the first choice for the base as the wide open space, clear weather and distance from the fighting was ideal for the students (Bollotta, 167) from countries like, France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Norway (Veterans Affairs Canada). Designed to train students to fly and navigate planes that would attack the enemy in Europe, the plan turned out to be a huge success and graduated 50, 000 pilots and 25, 000 navigators to air forces in Britain and other countries (Bollotta, 167). As well, 107 schools and 184

ancillary units were set at 231 sites (Royal Canadian Air Force), allowing the production to graduate over 3,000 students per month (The Canadian Encyclopedia). Although 856 trainees died while learning to fly planes (Bollotta, 167), Canada was able to provide successful recruits for 40 RCAF at home and 45 overseas (The Canadian Encyclopedia). The plan created a huge transformation in Canada, making countries of the Allies acknowledge and praise the hard work that had been done on behalf of Canadians during the war. U.S President Roosevelt had even called Canada "the aerodrome of democracy" for its intensive efforts and determination with the plan (World War II Database). In summary, through the training plan, Canada was able to contribute to the war effort by graduating many pilots and navigators that came into use during the battle.

To conclude, during the World War II, when Germany gained control and started to take revenge, Canada was there to help and support the rest of the Allies. Canada made several contributions to the war effort which included the industrial contribution, the enlisted Canadian men and women, and lastly, the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. These were the efforts that made other countries recognize Canada for its help and hard work during the battles. All these contributions were able to make a significant impact on the success of the Allies Powers and allowed Canada to be remembered for its war effort.


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"Veterans Affairs Canada." World War II and Canada. 2012. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <>.