Canada History

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Prehistory | 2 Worlds Meet | New France | England Arrives | Clash of Empires | Revolution | British America | Reform/Revolt | Responsible Government | Confederation | Nation Building | Laurier | The Great War | Roaring 20's | Great Depression | WWII | The Peace | Cold War | Trudeau | PC's in Power | Modern Canada

European Tensions | War | Mobilization | Poland - France | Battle of Britain | Dieppe | Battle of the North Atlantic | Training the Empire | The Pacific | Quebec Conference | Hong Kong | Home Front | Italy | Conscription | Normandy | France | Netherlands | Germany

Canada was truly transformed during the Second Word War from an agrarian based country with many natural resource based industries and a large rural population to an modern industrialized country with huge manufacturing facilities and a population becoming more urban based then ever before. The war accelerated the end of the depression and liberalized views of women who filled rolls in the military, in industry and business management. The first items on the home front were to build up the training facilities the manufacturing base and logistical support system that would support the war effort not only for Canadian forces but also for Great Britain.

Once the reality of the Nazi threat set in with the fall of Poland and France, Canada moved quickly to a total war footing. Manufacturing started to grow dramatically in 1939 and by 1940 was rising dramatically. This trend continued not just through the war but well afterwards also.

Shipments of Manufacture Goods in Thousands of Dollars

1920  $    3,706,545.00
1925  $    2,816,865.00
1930  $    3,280,237.00
1935  $    2,653,911.00
1940  $    4,529,173.00
1945  $    8,250,369.00
1950  $  13,817,526.00
1955  $  19,513,934.00

Activities on the home front included raising money by buying war bonds and encouraging people to live within the rationing system. Recycling important strategic materials such as rubber and metals took on a new importance.

Selling Victory Bonds Recycling Material Launching the 1000 ship built during the war
ration stamp book Building War Ships Manufacturing Weapons

Sugar was the first item o be rationed, followed quickly by tea, coffee, butter, gasoline and other vital materials. Wage and prices controls were imposed to head off labour/management issues and inflation. A vital way of paying for this vast expansion in spending was to sell Victory Bonds to the people of Canada. Victory Bond drives became a popular activity for those looking to help in the war effort.

Women were recruited into the manufacturing work force and quickly proved that they could do an excellent job on the plant floor. Many skilled business leaders were also recruited by Ottawa at $1 a year to help manage and direct the large bureaucracy that was trying to coordinate all of the expansion in military and government services.

Even before the entry of the United States into the war, relationships with Canada were becoming closer. This was reflected in military and economic arenas with the Ogdensburg Agreement in August of 1940 which created a joint North American defence system and transactions such as lend lease which oversaw many transactions such as the transfer of 50 destroyers which Canadian naval personal picked up in Norfolk Virginia. By 1943 Canada and the U.S. were out-producing he Axis powers by 150%.