Search for "World War II"

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Second World War (WWII)

The Second World War was a defining event in Canadian history, transforming a quiet country on the fringes of global affairs into a critical player in the 20th century's most important struggle. Canada carried out a vital role in the Battle of the Atlantic and the air war over Germany, and contributed forces to the campaigns of western Europe beyond what might be expected of a small nation of then only 11 million people. Between 1939 and 1945 more than one million Canadian men and women served full-time in the armed services. More than 43,000 were killed. Despite the bloodshed, the war against Germany and the Axis powers reinvigorated Canada's industrial base, elevated the role of women in the economy, paved the way for Canada's membership in NATO, and left Canadians with a legacy of proud service and sacrifice embodied in names such as Dieppe, Hong Kong, Ortona and Juno Beach.

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"Dear Old Pal of Mine"

“Dear Old Pal of Mine” is a pop song from the First World War with music by Gitz Rice and lyrics by Harold Athol Robé. Released by the Victor record label, it was originally recorded in New York City on 1 May 1918 with Irish tenor John McCormack and the Victor Orchestra under conductor Josef Pasternak (Victor 755). It was among the Irish tenor’s most popular 78s. The song is held in the collection of the US Library of Congress.

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Canada and the Battle of the Scheldt

The Battle of the Scheldt was fought in northern Belgium and southwestern Netherlands in 1944 during the Second World War. It was part of the Allied campaign to liberate northwestern Europe and defeat Nazi Germany. The First Canadian Army played a crucial role in clearing the Scheldt of German forces, opening crucial supply lines via the port of Antwerp. However, this victory came at a cost. The Allies suffered nearly 13,000 casualties during the battle, including more than 6,300 Canadians.

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Trench Warfare

Trench warfare is combat in which opposing armies defend, attack and counterattack from relatively fixed systems of holes dug into the ground. It is adopted when superior defensive firepower forces each side to entrench widely, trading mobility for protection. Trench warfare reached its zenith during the First World War (1914–18) on the Western Front in France and Belgium’s Flanders region. In the popular imagination, trench warfare on the Western Front is associated with the most horrific conditions of the First World War.

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First World War (Plain-Language Summary)

The First World War occurred between 1914 and 1918. Approximately 425,000 Canadians served overseas in Europe. More than 60,000 Canadians died. Over 170,000 were seriously wounded. Canadians suffered more casualties in the First World War than the Second World War. (See Second World War (Plain-Language Summary).)

(This article is a plain-language summary of the First World War. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, First World War.)

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Second World War (Plain-Language Summary)

Canada played an important role in the Second World War. It did much to help the allies win the war. Canadians fought on land, in the air and on sea. More than 1 million Canadians served in the military. Over 43,000 Canadians died. Approximately 50,000 Canadians were wounded. The war changed Canada forever. By the end of the war Canada had a very large military force. The Canadian economy was one of the strongest in the world. Canada paid more attention to world affairs than before. Canadians helped to create NATO and the United Nations.

(This article is a plain-language summary of the Second World War. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Second World War.)

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Wartime Home Front

The two world wars of the 20th century were total wars that involved the whole nation, and the "home front" became a critical part of Canada’s effort.

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Remembering D-Day: The Making of a Heritage Minute

On 6 June 1944, Canadian Forces landed on Juno Beach. D-Day was the largest amphibious invasion of all time and marked the beginning of the end of the Second World War. In 2019, Historica Canada released a Heritage Minute telling the story of 47-year-old Major Archie MacNaughton, a First World War veteran and leader of the North Shore New Brunswick Regiment’s A Company. In this article, Anthony Wilson-Smith, president of Historica Canada, reflects on the making of the D-Day Minute.

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Women in the Labour Force

Women are considered labour force participants only if they work outside the home. In the past women have been expected to be in the labour force only until they marry; this reflects the historical, idealized notion of a society in which the man is the breadwinner and the woman the homemaker.

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Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians)

Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) (LdSH (RC)) is one of three regular armoured regiments in the Canadian Army. The regiment was established in 1900 during the Boer War and has fought in all the country’s wars since then. The Strathconas have also participated in several peace support operations. The regiment has been based in Alberta since 1970 and is part of 1st Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, 3rd Canadian Division.

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Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)

The Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI, also known as the Patricia's) is one of three permanent Regular Force infantry regiments of the Canadian Army. Its current structure consists of three battalions and a reserve battalion, for a total of 2,000 soldiers lodged at bases in Edmonton, Alberta, and Shilo, Manitoba. The regiment has a proud history of service, dating back to its creation in the First World War.

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National Aboriginal Veterans Monument

The National Aboriginal Veterans Monument was unveiled in 2001 in Ottawa to commemorate the contributions made by Indigenous peoples in Canada during the First World War, Second World War and Korean War. The monument, a bronze statue with a granite base, was created by Indigenous artist Noel Lloyd Pinay of the Peepeekisis First Nation in Saskatchewan. It is situated in Confederation Park, directly across from the Lord Elgin Hotel. It is the first monument dedicated to Indigenous veterans in Canada.

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The Royal 22e Régiment

The Royal 22e Régiment (R22eR) is one of the three infantry regiments of the Canadian Regular Force (see Canadian Armed Forces). It is a francophone regiment made up of five battalions, of which three belong to the Regular Force and two to the Reserve Force. In 2014, the R22eR celebrated its 100th anniversary. Its headquarters are at the Citadelle de Québec. The regiment has participated in all of Canada’s major military engagements since the First World War, including the United Nations peace missions and the campaign in Afghanistan.

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Veronica Foster

Veronica Foster Guerrette, Second World War icon, model, vocalist (born 2 January 1922 in Montreal, Quebec; died 4 May 2000 in Toronto, Ontario). Foster worked for the John Inglis Company assembling Bren light machine guns during the Second World War. She was featured on propaganda posters that encouraged women to serve Canada by working in munitions factories. Foster became a Canadian icon representing female workers in the manufacturing industry. After the war, she was lead singer with the dance band Mart Kenney and His Western Gentlemen.