Article on History
- Hits: 6505
In my opinion, home front refers to the civilian activities when the nations are involved in war. The Second World War was a full-blown war and what was more important to the allied and the axis powers was homeland production. Home front life during the Second World War was an integral part of the war effort for all the nations that took part in the Second World War and its impact were felt everywhere. During the war, many governments, the Canadian government included, were actively involved in their respective home fronts as a measure to educate them on a wide variety of protective measures both at the individual and at the national level. There was widespread propaganda to influence the citizenry and women were a significant part of the home front because they were the pillars of the country during the war because most of the men were away from home. In the years after the Second World War, Canada became one of the leading nations in the world because the conclusion of the war spearheaded economic prosperity allover Canada especially because of the political alterations that took place in the country. The country became more vocal in the international affairs especially after moving away from the shadow of Britain. Apart from economic and political transformations, there were also cultural transformations that took place that ensured that the Canadian culture were preserved in the wake of the on going Americanization that was taking place immediately after the war, and the increasing immigrant population. Canada is one of the countries that emerged from the Second World War stronger. This because of the position it took during the war and the role it played.
The economy of Canada improved unexpectedly at the outbreak of the Second World War, just like the USA. Canada involvement in the Second World War was well calculated because unlike the First World War, where it plunged into the war as soon as the United Kingdom got involved, in the Second World War, Mackenzie King, the Canadian leader had to wait until the parliament consented to the involvement. Canada got involved only after Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 (Finkel 101). One of the major contributions of Canada in the war that helped the country even after the war was its commonwealth training plan where the pilots and air crews of the allies were trained at various air bases in Canada. This helped Canada to become one of the world’s leading trainers in the aviation sector even to date.
Examples of women in their work force
The Canadian women were very much involved in the war efforts and there were some who got fully involved in the armed activities at a time in the world when there were very few women in the armed forces (Zuehlke 44). Initially women were involved as nurses but as time went on, the Canadian women corps army, the royal Canadian women's division in the air force and the royal Canadian naval division for women were formed and this provided avenues through which women could actively be involved in the Second World War. However, women were not allowed to enter combat zones, though they would perform other administrative duties in the armed force of Canada. More than 45,000 women were involved in the war efforts with one ninth of the number serving in overseas. There were a large number of men serving in the army and the rest of the economic areas of interest seemed to suffer a beating due to the large scale of Canadian involvement in the Second World War. There emerged very many opportunities for women in the workplaces, some of which they had never handled. The government encouraged women to work in the male oriented fields like in the factories, machinery stores and even in the heavy industries by giving women tax breaks and free care for their children.
During the war, many supplies were required and the women who were involved in the recycling and salvaging in order to meet the demand. There were very many volunteer organizations formed and headed by women that helped in preparing packages for the army officers working overseas or the POWs based in the axis countries (Graham 23). I think the reason why the economy of Canada was not affected by the overly involvement of the country in the second world war is because of the active involvement in the economic sectors that were left behind by the men who had gone to fight in the war (Zuehlke 47).
Daily life for Canadians
The dire need of employees in the workplace was satisfied by the compliance by women to join economic sectors that were not traditionally identified with women and this meant that economic production was not affected by the involvement in the war. By the end of the Second World War, the number of women in the workforce was twice the number that was there at the beginning of the war in 1939. I would therefore conclude that the success of Canada both at the home front and at the war had its foundations on the role of the women as the supporting pillars that enabled the country to continue going on at all avenues.
Another front, which the Second World War had, a very heavy impact on the Canadian way of life was in technology and engineering. Most of the research that aided the allies in the Second World War took place in Canada. The first decompression chamber for high attitude flights in the world was manufactured in Canada as the war went on (Graham 24). The NRC was at the center of global contribution to the technology of radar and Canada installed the coastal defense system at a place called Halifax; called the night watchman. Later Canada produced radar systems for the British in large quantities. The advantage that Canada had is that it was being used to supply the allies with a wide variety of war equipment and technology and in the process Canada was building its own foundations in the same areas that helped it in quick expansion after the war while others were busy trying to reconstruct their nations after the war.
The impact of war on the Canadian economy
The war on Canada made it to be transformed from a nation that dealt with agriculture into an industrialized nation within a period of five years (Zuehlke 50). Before the war, the Canadians were concentrated in the countryside and the country was almost sixty percent an agricultural nation. There was no heavy industrialization, but the war activated the people who moved from the rural areas to the towns and cities where they learnt a variety of industrial skills especially the ones who joined the military and these are the skills that were used even in the economic transformation of Canada even after the war. The other impact was in transport network, which was expanded. Because of the war, Canada was forced to build over 250 new air fields for the training program of commonwealth where about thirty five nations were targeted. The focus on training of the air force and other military personnel had a positive impact even after the war because, though the purpose of the training was to feed other countries like Britain that actively participated in the war, by the end of the war, Canada was left with very strong armed forces. In fact, it had the third largest and strongest navy in the world by 1950. To date, the Canadian air force is one of the best in the world and Canada leads in the manufacture of military trucks that have been consumed by a wide variety of countries throughout the world. These are but some of the positive ways in which the war changed Canada but the most negative way in which the Second World War affected Canada was the massive loss of young men who died in the process and most of them were never even buried at home. Had Canada not involved itself in the Second World War it would not be as it is today. This is because during the war, most countries least focused on the productive processes and relied on Canada to provide them with various types of supplies. To feed the countries especially the allies, Canada had to be on its feet, meaning that the process of development, innovation and creativity was continuous and this is what laid a foundation for a stronger economy in the years after the war and even today. The women in Canada are one of the most empowered groups in the world and this empowerment is as a result of their economic participation in nation building during the years of the Second World War. Women continue to hold plum political and economic positions and Canada is the only North American country that has been governed by a woman. There have been two female prime ministers in the recent past.
The cultural transformation that occurred during and after the war where Canada shrugged off its dependency on Britain and fought off the wave of Americanization is still evident in the cultural orientation of Canada. The World War two is the event that altered the destiny of the entire construct of Canada as a country. Though war is destructive in very many ways, Canada chose one of the rarest ways of involvement in the Second World War, a way that was constructive and beneficial to the socio cultural political and economic dispensation of Canada. Very few countries have taken part in a war and reaped as many benefits as Canada did in the Second World War. The praise goes to the parliament and the entire administration of Mackenzie King for choosing to enter the war at the most opportune moment, avoiding the mistakes that were made in the First World War where Canada was one of the aggressors.
Barton, P. The Great Depression, 1929-1939. Toronto: Penguin, 1990
Finkel, A. History of the Canadian Peoples: Ontario: OUP, 1988.
Granatstein, J. Canada's War: The Politics of the Mackenzie King Government. Oxford:OUP, 1995
Graham, R .Through the First World War, in The Canadians: Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 2000.
Hoar, V. The Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion: Canadian Participation in the Spanish Civil War. Toronto: Copp Clark, 1999
Hossage, C. Props on Her Sleeve: The Wartime Letters of a Canadian Airwoman. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1999
Kazimiera J. Women in War and Resistance: Nepean, Ontario: New Military Publishing, 2008.
Keshen, J, A .Saints, Sinners, and Soldiers: Canada's Second World War. Ontario: OUP, 2
Latta, R, The Memory of All That: Canadian Women Remember World War II. Ontario: The
General Store Publishing House Inc., 1992
Zuehlke, M. The Gallant Cause: Canadians in the Second World War, 1936-1939. Vancouver: Whitecap Books, 1996