Victory Aircraft of Toronto, produced 433 MarkX Lancaster Bombers. Canada also produced Hurricane Fighters, Mosquito-fighter-bombers, Canso amphibians and many many more

Workers at Victory Aircraft of Toronto celebrate the 100th plane. The operation produced 433 Mark-X Lancaster bombers. Canada also produced Hurricane Fighters, Mosquito-fighter-bombers, Canso amphibians and many many more

History: Sept.10,1939, it’s WAR for Canada

Share

Everyone hoped it would not come to this, but the storm clouds had been brewing for years

The Munich Agreement of September 1938, signed by England, France, Germany, and Italy, had allowed Nazi Germany to occupy the “Sudetenland” portion of Czechoslavakia in an effort to appease Hitler and avoid war. Czechs had not been invited to the conference and the deal broke another agreement, that of a military alliance the country had with France and Britain.

“The peace in our time” statement of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain while he held aloft a copy of the agreement with Hitler, did not last long at all. Within a year, Germany had occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia, and invaded Poland. Britain was now cornered by another treaty, with Poland, and declared war on Germany on September 3rd.

null
Workman John Hawkins of Toronto checks the tags of Bren machine-guns at the John Inglis Co. plant in Toronto. Canada produced millions of arms for the Allied war effort. © Archives Canada mikan-3197327

Unlike in WWI, this time Britain’s declaration did not automatically include Canada.  Although there was never a doubt about Canada’s commitment, Canada’s then Prime Minister Mackenzie-King wanted to assert Canadian independence on the issue and delayed an announcement for a week.

On September 7, a special two-day session of the Canadian Parliament was called and gave approval for joining the war.

“Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl”; Veronica Foster, an employee of the John Inglis Co in Toronto, became the poster symbol for the million women working in factories to replace male workers who’d gone to fight. This promotional idea was a hit and increased support for the war effort. Her image later featured in the New York Times. inspired the better known American fictional character of Rosie the Riveter, which Americans created for the same purpose some two years later. © Archives Canada PA-119766

Canada mobilizes before Britain

The official declaration of war on Germany was made following the sessions, and announced publicly on September 10. 1939

What is little known is that Canada had already begun a partial mobilization in August, well before Britain. In fact the Canadian Active Service Force was mobilized on September 1, two days before the British declaration of war, and well before its own declaration on September 10;

Even so, Canada was ill-prepared with a standing army of only about 4,500, and few dozen mostly outdated aircraft, and six ageing destroyers.

Workers on the deck of a motor torpedo boat, under construction in Montreal, Québec, Canada, 24 April 1941. Canada's role in the war was critical in the victory, providing all types of military hardware along with food, construction material, oil, medicine, clothing and valiant fighting forces.
Workers on the deck of a motor torpedo boat, under construction in Montreal, Québec, Canada, 24 April 1941. Canada’s role in the war was critical in the victory, providing all types of military hardware along with food, construction material, oil, medicine, clothing and valiant fighting forces. © Archives Canada mikan-3205300

A nation of only about 11 million at the time, Canada soon had one million citizen volunteers in uniform. Many other Canadians had been signed into the British Royal Air Force or served with the British army and navy.

A mostly agricultural nation at the time, Canadian industry grew exponentially and turned almost exclusively to war manufacture.

null
Canada produced hundreds of thousands of uniquely Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) vehicles like this 1944 Chevrolet 60cwt restored in the 1990’s by Marc Montgomery. They served in all theatres and with almost all allied forces including Britain, and Russia. © Marc Montgomery

Canada produced literally millions of machine-guns, pistols, and rifles, many millions more of ammunition and shells, along with artillery pieces, naval guns, warships, armed and unarmed cargo ships, bombers (eg Lancaster), trainers and fighters (eg Hurricane, Mosquito), tanks and armoured vehicles, communications equipment, uniforms and webbing, medicine and equipment, and hundreds of thousands of cargo and specialized military trucks as well as creating the largest air-crew training programme in history. Canada also supplied vast amounts of desperately needed food and fuel to England and the entire war effort.

Workmen and engineers at the Sorel Industries Ltd look over blueprints of the 25-pounder field artillery piece. The giant SIL operation prouduced thousands of field artillery pieces, and naval and anti-aircraft guns and supplied barrels for the Sexton self-propelled guns prouced in Montreal at the two tank factories.
Workmen and engineers at the Sorel Industries Ltd look over blueprints of the 25-pounder field artillery piece. The giant SIL operation prouduced thousands of field artillery pieces, and naval and anti-aircraft guns and supplied barrels for the Sexton self-propelled guns prouced in Montreal at the two tank factories. © Photo by Nicholas Morant. National Film Board of Canada / National Archives of Canada, PA-174507.

By the end of the war in Europe, Canada’s participation and contribution proved to be critical to the victory.

The nation had been transformed into a manufacturing powerhouse, and was fourth in the Allied production of war materiel. From virtually nothing in 1939, by 1945 Canada had created the fourth-largest air force, and fifth largest navy in the world. It’s contribution in materiel, and in the outstanding daring and courage of its military on land, sea and in the air, earned it a place at the table among the most powerful nations in the world.

Share
Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

One comment on “History: Sept.10,1939, it’s WAR for Canada
  1. Legi0n says:

    and shamefully enough, nowadays a kid draws a cartoonish gun on paper and promptly gets a suspension.