Canada and World War 2

  • Germany Invades Poland

    Germany Invades Poland
    In 1938, The "Munich Agreement" was created (despite the protests of the Czechoslovak government) in an attempt to stop the German Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler, from conquering more land in exchange for some territory in part of Czechoslavakia However, Hitler ignored the agreement terms and eventually took over the rest of Czechoslovakia. This only created more tensions between Germany and Britain, as well as surrounding nations. Germany's invasion of Poland became the spark that triggered WWII
  • Britian and France Declare War on Germany

    Britian and France Declare War on Germany
    As German Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler rose in power, he began taking over more and more territories, continuously breaking previous treaties and agreements (such as the Treaty of Versailles). Tensions and suspicions towards Germany started to rise, and eventually, 2 days after the German invasion of Poland (also defied the Munich Agreement), Britain and France declared war on Germany
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    The Course of World War II

    The second World War was fought between the Allies (Britain, France, and British Commonwealth) and the Axis (Germany, Japan, and Italy) and lasted almost 6 years. It was triggered by the German invasion of Poland, and ended after a second atomic bomb was dropped on Japan by the U.S. Although the second World War was not as bloody as the first, new advances in technology (radar, planes, nuclear warfare),medication (ex. Penicillin),and strategies (ex. Blitzkrieg) drastically altered life for many.
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    The Phoney War

    Shortly after WWII had started, a period of strange inaction set in. Both the Allies and Germany had not engaged in battle operations for months, and instead began a heavy rush to build up defences and intense preparation to attack. The Phoney War (A.K.A. "sitzkrieg") ended on Apr. 9, 1940, when Germany invaded Denmark and Norway
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    The Battle of the Atlantic

    The longest military campaign during WW2 was the Battle of the Atlantic. It ran almost the whole course of the war, but was key to winning. Convoys and merchant ships supplied with goods and resources were continuously being sent overseas to Britain. Germany, of course, tried to stop the action. However, new technology such as Liberator bombers, Canadian corvettes (small, quick warships), and the cracking of the German naval code eventually led to the Allies' victory over the German U-boats.
  • Canada Declares War on Germany

    Canada Declares War on Germany
    Unlike WWI, Canada has been becoming increasingly independent of Britain ever since (part of British Commonwealth). This meant that Canada had more complications to consider before following Britain into war. Initially, PM King of Canada did not wish to take part in another war, for fear of reopening deep scars from the previous war. However, King eventually decided to support Britain and, with the promise that there'd be no conscription, Canada declared war on Germany.
  • BCATP Established

    BCATP Established
    In the December of 1939 (few months after war started), Canada agreed to host and help administer a training plan in which pilots, bombers, and other flight personnel from all over the British Commonwealth would gather to be trained by British instructors. Canada's mild climate and safe skies made it an ideal location. In total, the BCATP cost over $2.2 billion and trainined over 130,000 people.
  • Blitzkrieg in Action

    Blitzkrieg in Action
    Shortly after the invasion of Norway and Denmark, Germany launched subsequent blitzkrieg attacks against Holland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. Panzers (tanks) would rush in to clear the path, aided by soldiers on motor bikes and other vehicles. Bombers would fly overhead and soften up the target beforehand, with paratroopers descending and encircling the target. The dangerous but highly effective tactic swiftly conquered much of Europe during the first few months of WWII.
  • Holland Falls

    Holland Falls
    Within four days of the simultaneous German blitzkrieg attacks, Holland was overrun.
  • Belgium Surrenders

    Belgium Surrenders
    In less than three weeks after Germany's blitzkrieg attack, Belgium surrendered.
  • Evacuation at Dunkirk

    Evacuation at Dunkirk
    On May 27, an original plan from the Allies to maintain a position in Dunkirk was abandoned when German soldiers were reported to be marching towards the trapped Allied troops. In the following week, almost 340,000 men at Dunkirk was desperately evacuated to England in anything that could float. However, this "heroic rescue" of such a huge number of troops raised the morale of the Allied support
  • Denmark falls; Norway surrenders

    Denmark falls; Norway surrenders
    The invasion of Denmark and Norway marked the end of the Phoney War. Denmark had originally been easily taken by the German in only a few hours (suffering only 20 casualties), Norway, on the other hand, was essential for Germany to engage its Luftwaffe Air Force against Britain later on. Norway surrendered on June 10, 1940
  • Paris Falls; France Surrenders

    Paris Falls; France Surrenders
    Shortly after the Allies' failure to uphold a position at Dunkirk, the German army continued its sweep through France. On June 22, the surrender of France marked the isolation of Britain and its Commonwealth against the forces of Germany.
  • "Operation Sea Lion"

    "Operation Sea Lion"
    With Britain and its Commonwealth standing alone against Germany, the last obstacle for Germany to gain complete control of Europe (excluding USSR and Italy) was the takeover of Britain (A.K.A. "Operation Sea Lion"). However, Hitler indefinitely postponed the operation and instead started a massive Luftwaffe bombing campaign on July 10, 1940, which later became known as "the Blitz" after civilians were targeted.
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    "The Blitz"

    Despite postponing "Operation Sea Lion", Hitler did not let up on Britain. After the Luftwaffe bombing targets shifted from harbours, factories, and air fields to civilians, "the Blitz" had officially begun. However, this turned out to be a mistake on Hitler's part, as it gave time for Britain to recover. Britain and its Commonwealth eventually started winning the air battle. Hitler finally gave up his plans to invade Britain on May 10, 1941.
  • "Axis" Formed

    "Axis" Formed
    In early 1935, Italy invaded (what is now) Ethiopia. As a response, the League of Nations imposed trade sanctions against Italy. Oil (crucial import to Italy) was not included. This, along with Japan's withdrawal from the League of Nations in 1931 (after invading the Chinese province of Manchuria), eventually led Germany and Italy (and later Japan) to form the "Axis" Alliance.
  • "Operation Barbarossa"

    "Operation Barbarossa"
    After Hitler gave up on "Operation Sea Lion", he decided to follow his original plans invade the USSR (even though a treaty was signed between them), as he was becoming suspicious of Soviet leader Stalin. This was Hitler's final mistake. Despite inital success, the German troops were ill-equipped for the harshness of Soviet Winter, and after suffering over 300,000 casualties, Germany surrendered in 1943, and by 1944, Soviet forces were advancing towards Germany.
  • Bombing of Pearl Harbor

    Bombing of Pearl Harbor
    Though Japan was in alliance with Germany and Italy (forming the "Axis"), Japan was not involved in the battle in Europe. On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese planes bombed the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, the result being the destruction of half the fleet. The traumatic and sudden event stunned the Americans, and they declared war against Japan shortly afterwards.
  • Absolute World War - U.S. vs. Japan

    Absolute World War - U.S. vs. Japan
    One day after Japanese planes bombed the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbour, U.S. declared war on Japan. The rest of the Axis, Germany and Italy, in turn declared war on the U.S. The whole world was now at war.
  • "Black Christmas" at Hong Kong

    "Black Christmas" at Hong Kong
    in 1941, Canada was asked by the British to send troops to help defend Hong Kong. Without assessing the situation, Canada eagerly sent 2,000 inexperienced soldiers to take part in the defence. The soldiers soon found themselves facing 50,000 Japanese veterans marching towards them. On Christmas Day, Britain surrendered Hong Kong, and Japanese soldiers took a few hundred Canadian prisoners. The POW's were sent to Japan and had to face slavery, starvation, and cruelty for the remainder of WW2.
  • Dieppe Raid

    Dieppe Raid
    On Aug. 19, 1942, the Allies decided to launched a raid on the port of Dieppe. Their main purposes were to test out the management of a naval invasion fleet, new technology such as landing crafts, and to see if it was possible to capture a port in a frontal assault. However, the raid was not well planned, and many mistakes led to the massacre and capture of 3,500 of the 6,000 soldiers sent. The disaster has led to controversies over the years and is often regarded as the worst disaster in WW2.
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    Italian Campaign

    Italy and Sicily, previously thought of as the "soft underbelly" of Europe, turned out to be a slow, harsh campaign for the Allies. The muddy and rugged terrain were reminders for many of the horrible conditions in which they had to fight in WWI. Slowly but surely, however, they fought past cities like Ortona, street by street, advancing at the cost of many lives. Ortona fell on Dec. 28, but the Italian campaign continued until the end of the war in Europe.
  • Italian Government Surrenders

    Italian Government Surrenders
    The Italian government officially surrendered to the Allies in September, only a few months after the campaign began. However, the German Nazis immediately seized control of Italy and attempted to push back the advancing Allied forces. *Picture shown: The Italy Star Medal awarded to Canadians who fought in the Italian Campaign during WW2*
  • D-Day: "Operation Overlord"

    D-Day: "Operation Overlord"
    After the fall of Rome, the Allies followed up with "Operation Overlord", a full-scale invasion of Europe (largest attempted by the Allies during the war). On "D-Day", the Allies executed 5 landings preceded by air attacks on 5 different beaches. Canadians took "Juno" beach quickly and fought their way inland, participating in an 11 month advance through France and Belgium towards Germany
  • Closing in on Germany

    Closing in on Germany
    At this point in the war, Germany was suffering major losses and being pushed back further in. Allied forces (Canada not included) advanced through the Rhineland while the Soviet Army pushed in from the east: Germany was surrounded.
  • Hitler No More

    Hitler No More
    After the Allies and the Soviets started closing in on Germany, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, facing certain defeat, had committed suicide by gunshot In his "Führerbunker" in Berlin (rather than to submit to defeat). His wife, Eva Braun, committed suicide along with him through ingesting cyanide. Germany surrendered 6 days after the news was made public.
  • Germany Surrenders

    Germany Surrenders
    Near the end of the war, Germany was facing an invasion from both its east and west fronts. WIthin a week of learning about Hitler's death, Germany surrendered.
  • Manhatten Project Revealed

    Manhatten Project Revealed
    On Aug. 6, 1945, U.S. revealed its secret weapon on the remaining Axis power, Japan. An atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. The force wiped out some 70,000 residents while the radiation wounded another 130,000.
  • Second Atomic Bomb Dropped on Nagasaki

    Second Atomic Bomb Dropped on Nagasaki
    Three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, resulting in casualties numbering between 40,000-70,000 residents. A few days later, Japan surrendered. *Picture shown: After-effect of atomic bomb on local resident.*
  • Japan Surrenders; End of World War 2

    Japan Surrenders; End of World War 2
    After experiencing the atomic bombings by the U.S., Japan, realizing that it could not withstand the force of the newly developed nuclear weapon, surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945. World War 2 was officially over.