At Normandy in June 1944, Canada was assigned one of the five invasion beaches.
Casualties began to mount quickly as the offensive in France dragged on, and the Canadian army became strapped for infantry reinforcements. Ralston, supported sending conscripts overseas and was forced to resign as a result.
Canadian factories turned out everything from rifles to Lancaster heavy bombers, and Canadian scientists, technicians, and engineers worked on advanced weapons technology, including the atomic bomb (for which Canada supplied the uranium ore).
Canadian foods, direct cash contributions to Britain, and munitions for the Allies, including the Soviet Union, contributed to the overall war effort.
The Great War, lasting from August 1914 to November 1918, had a huge effect on Canada. In 1914, Canada had a tiny standing army, a two-ship navy and no air force.
In the hothouse atmosphere created by the conflict, attitudes changed faster, tensions festered more quickly and events forced governments and groups to take new positions at an unheard-of pace. By the end of the war, 620,000 men and women had put on a uniform, an extraordinary effort from a population of just eight million.
The Canadian army, which had been fighting in Sicily and Italy since July 1943, was crippled by particularly high infantry casualties in late summer and early fall 1944. Ralston’s resignation precipitated a cabinet crisis, which was resolved in November 1944 when King relented and agreed to send conscripts to the front to reinforce the army’s infantry units.
Not only was Canada’s war effort in World War II far more extensive than that in World War I, but it also had a much more lasting impact on Canadian society.
On September 9, 1939, eight days after Germany’s invasion of Poland, Canada’s Parliament voted to declare war on Germany, which the country did the next day. Roosevelt, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at an Allied conference in Quebec, Canada, 1943, during World War II.
(Its separate declaration of war was a measure of the independence granted it in the 1931 Statute of Westminster; in 1914 there had been no such independence and no separate declaration of war.) The vote was nearly unanimous, a result that rested on the assumption that there was to be a “limited liability” war effort that would consist primarily of supplying raw materials, foodstuffs, and munitions and the training of Commonwealth air crews, mainly for the Royal Air Force. The expulsion of the British from the Continent and the fall of France in the spring of 1940 totally changed the circumstances.