Canada’s Contribution to WWII
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Many people know little about Canada’s large contribution to World War II and the efforts many Canadians made. Nearly everyone helped out in this war and thanks to the determination of those involved, the allies were victorious in defeating Hitler. Allied victory in World War II was in large part aided by Canadian involvement in the form of women contributing to the war effort, the British Commonwealth Air Training Program (or BCATP), and Canada’s change in economy.
World War II was a time of opportunity for some, none more significant than that of Canadian women. Women were finally given the chance to work in positions once controlled by men, whether it was working on the farmland, in factories building war supplies, driving trucks, buses, taxis and streetcars, or as construction workers. Without the support of Canadian women, the men would have had to do the work at home, which meant there would be fewer soldiers available to fight in Europe and less products being made. Thanks to the hard efforts of Canadian women in the time of war, many felt their presence and appreciated their hard work. Women who worked in this time may have also helped pave the way for other women who have successful careers presently and are so well recognized by many.
Another huge contribution to Allied victory would be the British Air Commonwealth Training Program, otherwise known as the BCATP. Some may argue that this was the most significant and successful Canadian involvement in the war effort. The BCATP was under the control of the Royal Canadian Air Force and was designed to train pilots, navigators, and other air personnel. Training bases could be found all over Canada and were used to successfully produce 50 000 pilots, 25 000 navigators, and 57 000 other air crew members. Out of the 132 000 trained, 55 percent, or 72 600 graduates were Canadians. Thanks to Canada’s involvement with the BCATP we were able to win many battles including the Battle of Britain, which was fought in the airspace over British soil and helped destroy Hitler’s Luftwaffe, also known as the German Air Force. Praise from many people was given to the determination and success of the RAF and BCATP, most notably British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s famous quote, ‘Never…was so much owed by so many to so few’.
Canada’s economy changed dramatically creating new jobs for many unemployed Canadians bringing us out of the Depression. Canada’s factories that had once produced such items as automobiles, appliances, and other goods were now converted into factories that produced tanks, ammunition, weapons, military vehicles, fighter planes and ships. Not only did this help the war overseas by supplying all these things, it helped Canada’s economy grow and stay strong which lasted for a long time to come. Without Canada’s help in producing war time goods there would be limited supply in Europe, and the Allies would have to resort to some other means of getting these things. Also, if Canada did not help in producing these wartime products, the depression could have continued for many more years and our economy would have done very poorly. All together Canada had put $2.5 billion towards the war effort by 1942, and by 1945 Canadian war factories had produced over 800 000 military vehicles, including trucks and tanks. Canada’s ingenious idea of using Victory Bonds was a very successful way of raising $12 billion to help finance the war. It was also a way to get everyone involved since Canadian citizens who purchased these loans at $4 received $1 interest when they were repaid after the war.
Canada contributed to the war in more ways than most people could ever imagine and thanks to these contributions we were able to win the war and defeat Germany once and for all. All Canadians who helped out in this time of need should feel proud of themselves because without them none of this could have been possible.