World War Two  

Adolf Hitler was the leader of the Nazi Party and the person who was responsible for the Holocaust and World War Two.

the Causes of the War

The Weimar Republic appeared to have no idea how to solve the problems of the Depression. The Nazis on the other hand promised to solve the problems. Hilter promised most groups in Germany what they want. He used other sections of society as the blame for their problems. It made sense to the German people, he united everyone by providing explanations for Germany's problems Hitler promised to make Germany proud again- it was exactly what people want to hear.

Hitler pledged something for every part of the Germany society:

  1. Farmers – were promised higher prices for their produce- making up for all their losses during the Depression
  2. Unemployed Workers – were promised jobs building public works such as roads and stadiums
  3. Middle Class – were promised a restoration of the profits of small businesses and the value of savings. To end the Communist threat.

To all Germans he promised to restore German honour by tearing up the hated Treaty of Versailles and by making Germany great again.

Criticism of Hitler and the Nazi state was banned, and those who broke this ban faced interrogation, torture, prison, and sometimes death. Using this policy of fear, the Nazis managed to stop freedom of speech and expression. Everyone had to go along with the Nazi policy or they would face the consequences.

Appeasement: giving into someone's demands to avoid conflict.

Governments of the world were following the policy of appeasement in hope that if Hitler had his way in Europe that he would eventually be satisfied. When Hitler annexed Austria, politicians did nothing to stop him. Hitler demanded the Sudetenland, Britain and France gave in. He took over the rest of Czechoslovakia, and nothing happened. It was not until Hitler invaded Poland that Chamberlain and Daladier did something. The problem now was that Hitler had great confidence than he did before when he annexed Austria, and the German army was stronger than it was at the beginning of the war.

Canadians in Battle

The Dieppe Raid: To defend the Axis powers, the Allies knew they had to find a way to invade France and take it back from the Germans. The Second Canadian Division was chosen to conduct an experimental raid on the French port of Dieppe. Canadians accounted for 4963 out of 6103 troops who attacked Dieppe from the sea on August 19th, 1942. 907 Canadians were killed, 586 wounded, and 1874 taken prisoner. The Canadian troops were not well-prepared. They had no battle experience and very little information about the layout of Dieppe. The raid was badly planned and taught the Germans more than it taught the Allies.

Battle of the Atlantic: In the Atlantic Ocean, Canada made a important contribution. The Allies depended on ships to take troops, war supplies, and food from Canada across the Atlantic Ocean to Britain. The Germans knew that they could starve Britain of these necessities if they sank the ships. The Allies sailed in conveys, where war ships escorted vessels carrying vital supplies. Until 1942, it seemed that the Allies would lose the Battle of the Atlantic. German submarines did damage to the conveys. The situation turned, corvettes- small, fast ships that were equipped with depth charges that exploded underwater. Canadian naval ships also performed rescue missions.

Battle of Ortona: In 1943, Allied forces landed in Sicily. They attacked the Italian mainland. Germany rushed troops to the defence of Italy and fierce fighting followed. Canadian regiments played a role in the invasion of Italy, especially the Battle of Ortona. The Germans had destroyed most of the streets, trying to forced the Canadian down a central road that was heavily fortified. To move forward, the Canadians had to clear the houses on either side of the road individually. They did this by firing their anti-tanks shells through windows, and clearing houses from the top down. The Allies' advance through Italy was slow and difficult, but eventually they succeeded in pushing out the Germans.

D-Day at “Juno” Beach: Code-named “Operation Overlord,” the invasion was launched on D-Day, June 6th, 1944. The invasion was planned and rehearsed down to the smallest detail. A large Allied force invaded France from Britain, while a smaller forced attacked from the south. The force that landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day included 30 000 Canadians. They arrived at “Juno” Beach. The Allied troops had two advantages. They had massive air and naval support and they managed to keep the details of the attack a secret from the Germans. D-Day casualties were high- 359 Canadians died and 715 were wounded- but these figures were lower than what had been expected. The invaders worked their way inland, a 11 month advance through France and Belgium, towards Germany.

Liberation of the Netherlands: In March 1945, the main Allied force attacked Germany. The Canadians were given a special task: the liberation of the Netherlands. Over 6300 Canadians were killed in the operation. Most German units in the area had surrendered by mid-April. The Dutch had suffered badly during the war. The Canadians arranged for army trucks to deliver thousands of tonnes of food a day to the civilian population. Canadians were hailed as heroes throughout the Netherlands.

the Homefront

The war affected almost every aspect of life in Canada. To fund the war effort, the government encouraged Canadians to buy government Victory Bonds, as it had done during World War 1. It also increased income tax.

The government introduced rationing, limits on the consumption of certain goods, especially food and gasoline. For example, each Canadian adult was limited to a weekly ration of about 1.8 kilograms of meat an 220 grams of sugar. There was fines for anyone who tired to buy or knowingly sold more than allotted amounts of rationed goods.

To make sure Canadians would continue to make sacrifices necessary to win the war, the government produced large amounts of propaganda. The country was flooded with posters designed to convince Canadians of the evils of the enemy and the need for everyone to play a part in the war effort.

Thousands of Canadians continued to volunteer for military service. Volunteer rates varied in different regions of the country. There was a large difference between Ontario and Quebec. Ontario politicians argued forcefully that the government should force people in Quebec to join the military by introducing conscription. The government had hoped that conscription would not be necessary, but many Canadians felt that the policy of total war demanded conscription. Mackenzie King promised there would be no overseas conscription and he kept his word, instead he sent the NRMA soldiers overseas. By the time those soldiers reached Europe the war was just about over.

Japanese Canadians became a special object of public suspicion after the attack of Pearl Harbour. There was no evidence to suggest that any of the people supported Japan rather than Canada. The military did not consider the Japanese-Canadians a security risk, but the government decided to take action. In March 1942, all Japanese-Canadians in western BC were rounded up. Families were separated and many were sent to isolated internment camps. The Custodian of Enemy Property was given the power to confiscate and sell Japanese-Canadian property. By 1945, the government offered Japanese-Canadians the choice to either repatriate to Japan or settle permanently east of the Rocky Mountains.

the Holocaust

The persecution and genocide were carried out in stages. Initially the German government passed laws to exclude Jews from civil society, most prominently the Nuremberg Laws of 1935. A network of concentration camps was established starting in 1933 and ghettos were established following the outbreak of World War 2 in 1939. In 1941, as Germany conquered new territory in eastern Europe, specialized units called Einsatzgruppen were used to murder around two million Jews and political opponents in mass shootings. By the end of 1942, victims were being regularly transported by freight train to specially built extermination camps where, if they survived the journey, most were systematically killed in gas chambers. The campaign of murder continued until the end of World War 2 in Europe in April–May 1945.

A network of about 42,500 facilities in Germany and German-occupied territories were used to concentrate, confine, and kill Jews and other victims and between 100,000 to 500,000 people were direct participants in the planning and murder of Holocaust victims.

End of the War

There have been several reasons suggested to why the Americans dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

  • the Americans believed that the Japanese would never surrender. If the atomic bombs had not been used hundreds of thousands of Americans would of have been killed in an invasion of Japan.
  • The bomb had cost a lot of money to develop and the Americans wanted to see how it would work
  • the bomb was used to show the USA's military strength to the communist USSR (Soviet Union)
  • the Japanese had done several thing that the Americans were not happy with: the bombing of Pearl Harbour and the treatment of prisoners of war.  

the mushroom clouds after the bombs dropped. Hiroshima(left) and Nagasaki(right)

The two bombs that were dropped were called Fat Man and Little Boy. The first bomb exploded with the power of 20 000 tonnes of TNT. Anyone within a kilometre of the explosion became a bundle of smoking black charcoal in seconds.

Survivors began to notice in themselves a strange form of illness. It consisted of vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhoea with large amounts of blood, purple spots on the skin, bleeding from the mouth, loss of hair and usually death.

Many people who did not die in the explosions, would later suffer from radiation and cancer caused by the bombs.

After Germany's unconditional surrender of May 8th, 1945, the Allies divided “Occupation Zone Germany” into four military occupation zones- France in the southwest, Britain in the northwest, the United States in the south, and the Soviet Union in the east.

In 1944, roughly 12.4 Germans were living in territory that after the dismemberment of Germany became part of post-war Poland and Soviet Union. About 6 million fled or were evacuated before the Red Army occupied the area.

Reba Sharma - Mr.Pupulin - CHC2DP - Thursday, June 19th, 2014

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