World War II


Invasion of Poland

9/1/1939 - 10/6/1939

Hitler invades Poland using new strategy called Blitzkrieg. This swift, surprise attack leads to the fall of Poland in one short month.

Battle of the Atlantic


The Battle of the Atlantic was the struggle between the Allies and the Axis powers to control the Allies' shipping route across the Atlantic Ocean. Canada's contribution was much need since Britianwas almost completely dependent on food and military supplies from Canada and the United States.

Declaration of war by Canada


Britain and France declare war on Germany. Canada declares war one week later following a parliamentary debate and vote.

Mackenzie King introduces British Commonwealth Air Training Plan


The Air Training Plan was a massive, joint military aircrew training program created by the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, during the Second World War

Introduction of the convoy system


The British adopted a convoy system, initially voluntary and later compulsory for almost all merchant ships, the moment that World War II was declared.Canadian, and later American, supplies were vital for Britain to continue its war effort. The course of the second Battle of the Atlantic was a long struggle as the Germans developed anti-convoy tactics and the British developed counter tactics to thwart the Germans.

Gernany invades Norway, Denmark and Belgium


German warships enter major Norwegian ports deploying thousands of German troops and occupying Norway. At the same time, German forces occupied other Danish cities.

Evacuation of Dunkirk


German panzers reached the English Chanel and surrounded Allied forces in the French port of Dunkirk. In an act of desperation, the British navy rounded up every boat and evacuated Dunkirk

Fall of France


German army sweeps through France who proved to be no match for the German troops and France surrenders.

Operation Sea Lion/Battle of Britain


Hitler launched "Operation Sea Lion," his plan to invade Britain. To succeed, the Royal Air Force had to be defeated. In July 1940, the Luftwaffe started a massive bombing campaign, aimed at destroying harbours and shipping faciliies in southern England. On August 24, German planes bombed several areas of London. In retaliation, the RAF bombed Berlin. Hitler then oredered the Luftwaffe to bomb London and other Brithish cities, this became known as "the Blitz".

Operation Barbarossa


Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union. This massive attack on the Soviet Union broke the non-aggression pact that Hitler had signed with Stalin in 1939. The Soviets were unprepared for the attack, enabling the German army to strike deep into the Russian territory, the Germans got as far as Stalingrad but were stopped by the severe winter. The German army surrendered in 1943.

Pearl Harbour


In a surprise attack Japenese planes bombed the the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbour, on the island of Hawaii. More than 2400 people were killed and much of the American fleet was destroyed. Japan then bombed the U.S territory of the Phillipines. On December 8, the U.S. joined the Allies and declared was on Japan.

Hitler introduces final solution to Jewish problem


Hitler orders all Jewish people and "underirables" to be shipped to concentration camps, such as Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald in Germany. Upon arrival guards stripped them of their clothes and valuables, shaved their heads and seprated families. The weak the old and the young were immediatley killed in gas chambers, healthy people worked as slave labours and when overwork, starvation and disease weakened them, they too were murdered.

Canadian Soldiers defeated in Hong Kong


Hours after bombing Pearl Harbour, Japan attacked Hong Kong, a British colony. After 18 days of fighting, Hong Kong fell to the Japanese on "Black Christmas". Every Canadian was either killed or taken prisoner. Nearly 1700 prisoners of war faced brutal conditions and were later used as slave labour. More than 260 of these POWs died during three and a half years of imprisonment.

Japanese Canadians sent to internment camps


Under the War Measures Act, Mackenzie ordered all people of Japanese descent to be moved away from the coast. Over the next few months about 20 000 were removed from their homes and taken to internment camps. Some men were assigned to work on road construction in northern British Columbia and Ontario. Others were used as farm labourers in the sugar beet fields of Alberta and Manitoba

Mackenzie holds "plebiscite" on conscription


The Conservative opposition continued to pressure Mackenzie King to bring in conscription. King decided to hold a plebiscite to get Canadians' views on conscription. He used the slogan "Not necessarily conscription, but conscription if necassary" to describe the government's position on the issue.

Battle of Stalingrad


The Battle of Stalingrad was where Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in the southwestern Soviet Union.It is among the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare, with the higher estimates of combined casualties amounting to nearly two million. The heavy losses inflicted on the German army made it a significant turning point in the whole war.After the Battle of Stalingrad, German forces never recovered their earlier strength, and attained no further strategic victories in the East.



The Dieppe Raid was the Second World War Allied attack on the German occupied port of Dieppe. In the morning one of the ships carrying Canadian soldiers to Dieppe met a small German convoy. The two sides engaged in a brief sea battle, and the noise alerted the German troops to shore. They were easily machine-gunned down by waiting German soldiers.

Invasion of Sicily and Italy


Allied forces invaded Sicily, Canadian soldiers fought Italian and German soldiers through 240 kilometers of mountainous terrain, losing 562 soldiers in the battle. The Allies captured the island after 38 days.

Battle of Ortona, Italy

12/20/1943 - 12/28/1943

The Allies followed the Germans as they retreated to mainland Italy. Canadians were given the task of capturing the medieval town of Ortona on the Adriatic Sea.After capturing Ortona on December 28, 1943 the Canadian troops advanced through Italy until they were sent to join the campaign in France.

D-Day and Juno Beach


The Allies launched a full scale invasion of Europe called "Operation Overlord." To avoid a disaster like Dieppe, the Allies planned and rehearsed the invasion down to the smallest detail. Canadian soldiers arrived at Juno Beach as part of the first wave of the attack, they had fought their way inland and were very successful.

Liberation of Europe


Once the Allied forces had reached the Rhine River and Germany, the Canadians were given a separate task: liberating the Netherlands. An earlier Allied attempt to free Holland had failed and German troops had practically destroyed the port cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam and flooded much of the countryside.

Concentration camps uncovered


The first Nazi concentration camps were hastily erected in Germany in February 1933 immediately after Hitler became Chancellor.The camps were to hold and torture political opponents and union organizers, were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and held 45,000 inmates already in 19.H.Himmler's SS took full control of the police and concentration camps throughout Germany. It was then that Hitler allowed Himmler to start using the camps' facilities and personnel to purge German society of so-called "racially undesirable elements" like Jews, criminals, homosexuals, and gypsies.

V-E Day Germany surrenders


When the Allies invaded Germany from the north and west, the Soviet Union attacked from the east. Facing certain defeat, Germany surrendered to the Allies. Hitler commited suicide in a bunker in Berlin before he could be captured. The war in Europe was over and the Allied declared May 8 as Victory in Europe Day.

Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki


An atomic bomber plane dropped an atomic bomb over Hiroshima. The destruction unleashed by the bomb had never been experienced before. Three days after the first bombing a second atomic bomb had been dropped on Nagasaki. The bombing killed approximately 100 000 people and wounded another 100 00, long term affects such as cancer affected many more.

Japan surrenders ending WWII


The Japanese realizing that they could not withstand the awesome power of the new U.S weapon, surrendered. Finally, after 6 long years and the loss of millions of lives, the Second World War was over.