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The Conscription Crisis in Canada During World War Two. Background Information. By 1943, volunteer rates had dramatically declined. As a result, the Canadian government was worried that Canada would not be able to maintain an effective armed forces. The Solution? .

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The Conscription Crisis in Canada During World War Two

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Presentation Transcript
background information
Background Information
  • By 1943, volunteer rates had dramatically declined.
  • As a result, the Canadian government was worried that Canada would not be able to maintain an effective armed forces.
  • The Solution?
prime minister king s solution
Prime Minister King’s Solution
  • Prime Minister MacKenzie King remembered his Canadian History. He knew that the conscription issue had divided French and English Canadians during World War One.
  • In addition, he knew that a lot of his electoral success came from Quebeckers; specifically, French Canadians.
  • What should he do?
king introduces a plebiscite on conscription
King Introduces a Plebiscite on Conscription
  • King’s famous line was “conscription if necessary, but not necessarily conscription!” A very good example of double talk!
  • His idea was to hold a plebiscite on the issue. A plebiscite is a non-binding question that asks the electorate to vote on a particular issue.

MacKenzie King votes in the

National Plebiscite in 1942

king introduces a plebiscite on conscription1
King Introduces a Plebiscite on Conscription
  • King’s reasoning was that a positive result on the plebiscite would give him a mandate to proceed with conscription. However, since it was a plebiscite he would not necessarily be forced to introduce conscription. Confusing? Clever? Many historians argue about the merits of King’s tactic.
the result of the plebiscite
The Result of the Plebiscite
  • The Result of the Plebiscite on Conscription was:

73% of Quebec voted “non”

80% of the Rest of

Canada voted “Yes”

what did king do
What did King Do?
  • King knew that the results of the Plebiscite could be just as damaging to national unity as the original conscription crisis of 1917 during World War One.
  • As a result, he delayed enacting conscription until 1944. Since conscripted men had to be trained before they hit the battlefield, most of them never saw combat.
the end result
The End Result
  • Of the 13,000 who were sent overseas, only 2,500 reached the battlefield.
  • 69 would die in action before the war ended (less than a year later).
  • MacKenzie King would go on to win a majority government in the federal election of 1945 with most of his support from “la belle province. He was the great compromiser
total war
Total War
  • By 1942, Canada was committed to a policy of “Total War”.
  • All industries, materials and people were put to work for the war effort.
government and the economy
Government and the Economy
  • The war launched Canada out of the depression and into an economic boom.
  • C.D. Howe, minister of munitions and supply, quickly organized Canada’s war economy, he assumed near dictatorial powers telling businessmen what they would produce including how much and how fast.
  • Canada became an industrial power, new factories were built, and old ones adapted for war purposes. Factories churned out thousands of guns, ships, fighter planes and military vehicles.
  • With so many men enlisting, Canada faced a labour shortage as early as 1941, most notably in war-related industries.
  • In 1942, the Canadian government passed the National Selective Service Act to mobilize the country’s labour resources for the benefit of the war effort.
  • One of the main strategies of the program was to recruit women for the work force.
women back them up to bring them back
”Women, Back Them Up -To Bring Them Back!”
  • At first only single women were recruited, but upon severe labour shortages, both married women and mothers were sought out; the government even funded daycare centres so that women would be free to work.
  • In 1943, there were approximately 225,000 Canadian women working in munitions factories.
in the army now
In The Army Now…
  • In 1941, for the first time in Canadian history, women were able to enlist in their own divisions of the Army, Navy and Air Force. Although Canadian women were not allowed into combat during the Second World War, they did just about everything else.
  • Women served as nurses, stretcher bearers, drivers, machine operators, cooks and secretaries. They also flew Canadian built planes to bases in Britain and ferried officers and politicians from Ottawa to London.
  • They were paid roughly 60% of what their male counterparts made
enlistment by women in canada s armed forces
Enlistment By Women In Canada’s Armed Forces:

Over 43,000 women served overseas in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps, the Royal Women’s Navy Service and the Women’s Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

wartime prices
Wartime Prices
  • To ensure there was a large enough supply to meet both military and civilian needs, certain staple goods were rationed.
  • Rationed Items Included:

Meat, Butter, Tea, Coffee, Gasoline, Tires (rubber), Alcohol, Clothing Fabric and Silk

pitching in on all fronts
Pitching in on all fronts
  • Dedication to the war effort also extended outside the factories.
  • Women’s organizations collected paper, glass, metal, rubber, rags and bones to be recycled into war supplies.
  • They planted victory gardens, sewed clothes for troops and were recruited to work on farms and in factories.
financing the war
Financing the War
  • The Canadian Government did raise taxes during the Second World War to help offset the cost of financing the war. The increased revenue from higher taxes accounted for about one-half of all war-related expenses.
  • To help pay for the rest, the Canadian government turned to an old idea: Victory Loans drives.
  • The government conducted nine Victory Loan drives between June 1941 and October 1945. These campaigns raised nearly $12 billion by the end of the war.
battle of the atlantic
Battle of the Atlantic
  • Naval Battle – lasts the entire war, really big in the beginning
  • Germans wanted to starve Britain by destroying merchant ships
    • Use of U-Boats and Wolf-packs
  • Canadians protected these ships on convoys
  • Initial German success, but soon long distance bombers changed the battle.
battle of the atlantic1
Battle of the Atlantic
  • Hitler doesn’t see the U-Boats as successful and cuts funding.
  • Germans sink less Allied shipping
  • More troops and supplies start to build in Britain