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Canada’s Response To the Threat of War . Policy OF ISOLATIONISM . Isolationism - The policy of remaining apart from the affairs of other countries. How did Canada do this during the 1930s? We , in Canada, hoped that Britain’s policy of appeasement toward Hitler would be successful.

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Canada’s Response

To the Threat of War

policy of isolationism
  • Isolationism - The policy of remaining apart from the affairs of other countries.
  • How did Canada do this during the 1930s?
  • We , in Canada, hoped that Britain’s policy of appeasement toward Hitler would be successful.
  • King did not want to have to enforces conscription again, for this would lose support in an election, and he was just starting to get past the years of the Depression.
  • The economy was slowly improving and King did not want to plunge back into debt.
  • What was happening in Nazi Germany was thought of as a domestic issue as well, so this isolationist attitudes influences Canada’s immigration policies towards Jewish refugees feeling persecution in Europe.
ss st louis
SS St. louis
  • S.S. St. Louis left Germany with 907 Jewish passengers
  • Denied entry in Cuba, and then denied entry in South America, and then again denied in the U.S.
  • Canadian government then refused to let the St. Louise dock because the passengers did not qualify for entry as immigrants
  • Sent back to Europe
  • Many ended up dying in concentration camps
  • People lashed out in response to this in Canada; therefore King was urged to take in Jewish refugees. Still only admitted 5000 between 1933 and 1945.

September 1st, 1939 – Germany invaded Poland

  • September 3rd, 1939 – Britain and France declare war on Germany
  • Canada, however, was now autonomous with no obligation.
  • Decision to join war had to be decided by Parliament.
  • Parliament’s vote. . . . . . .
join the war
Join the war!
  • September 8th, 1939 – King calls Parliament to decide
  • Gives a speech on favour of war
  • Decision supported by Conservatives
  • Parliament votes to go to warSeptember 10th, 1939 –- Canada declares war on Germany
  • Opposed by J.S. Woodsworth and CCF party
    • Nothing can be settled by war and Canada should remain neutral
mobilizing our resources
Mobilizing our resources
  • Canada was NOT prepared
  • Small army of 4300 troops, few light tanks, and no modern artilley.
  • Air force and Navy were small and had out dated equipment
  • No crowds cheered this time – vivid recollection of last war
  • September 1939 – 58, 000 people volunteer
  • Paid $1.30 a day , $60 for dependent spouse and $30 per child
  • People also felt strong ties to Britain still and others volunteered out of a sense of duty - First troops sent out December 10, 1939 from Halifax
  • King wanted to contribute through supplies and training to avoid conscription, so agreed to host the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP)
  • Airfields built on Prairies to train pilots and other flight personnel
  • Canada’s FIRST MAJOR CONTRIBUTION to the war
  • BCATP:
    • Trained 130,000 pilots, navigators, flight engineers and ground crew
    • Cost $ 2.2 billion, with Canada paying 70%
total war
Total war
  • Definition – The mobilization of the entire resources of a nation for war
  • Federal government becomes more involved
  • Department of Munitions and Supplies is created and C.D. Howe is put in charge
  • “Known as the “Minister of Everything” – government ran telephone poles, refined fuel, stockpiled silk for parachutes, mined uranium and controlled food production.
  • Given authority to do whatever it took to gear up the economy to meet wartime demands
  • Told industries what to produce, how to do it, convinced business leaders to produce things they never had before, and even farmers were told to produce more wheat, beef, dairy,
  • If private sectors could not produce what he wanted, he created Crown Corporations (business and industry owned by Canadian government) to do the job.
  • Britain
  • France
  • Commonwealth countries including:
    • Canada
    • Australia
    • New Zealand
  • Germany
  • Italy (1939)
  • Japan (1940)
phony war
Phony War
  • Allied troops stationed along France’s border with Germany where they waited for Germany’s next move
  • For SEVEN MONTHS (October 1939 – April 1940) nothing happened. . . . . .
  • Many people believed there might not be a war
  • Illusions of a war not happening were shattered when Germany renewed its blitzkreig or “Lightning War” which was German war tactic of surprise attacks by tanks and fighter planes that used speed, surprise, and massive power to quickly overwhelm the enemy
  • They attacked Denmark and Norway in April of 1940
  • Germany quickly conquered Denmark and Norway
  • Went on to attack the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium and overrun all 3 countries within weeks
  • Hitler then set his sights on France. . . . . .