1. Explain how Canada’s decision to go to war in WWII was different than WWI.
Canada was automatically at war when Britain declared war on Germany in WWI. Canadians were excited and confident about the war, and were eager to be enlisted. In WWII, Canada was an autonomous country, which mean we did not have to go to war because of Britain again. Canada was divided about entering the war or not. In parliament, prime minister Mackenzie King and Ernest Lapointe (the Minister of Justice from Québec) were in favour of Canada participation in the war, but were against conscription. J.S. Woodsworth, (leader of CCF), argued against going to war and thought Canada should remain neutral. Although many Canadians still felt strong ties to Britain, they also did not want experience the hardship of war once again. However, there were still Canadians willing to volunteer.
2. What were the BCATP and CD Howe’s Total War economy?
The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) was a program to train pilots and aircrew during the Second World War. It produced half of all Commonwealth aircrew and is the largest air training program in history. The program was a major Canadian contribution to the war effort and allowed conscription to not be a major problem. Industrialist C.D. Howe was put in charge of the Department of Munitions and Supply, created because the federal government became more involved in planning and controlling the economy. Known as the “Minister of Everything,” he controlled industries, businesses, Crown corporations, factories, and farms all across Canada.
3. Come up with a statement that the best describes Canada’s attitude towards WWII and support it by referring to the evidence from the class and the textbook (#1-2 above).
Canada portrayed a passive attitude towards WWII. The parliament was divided, with some members against conscription, and some against war at all. Citizens were divided, with some Canadians traumatized from the previous war, and some voluntarily joining the war driven by national pride. Canada didn’t join the war immediately; they were hesitant. Rather than sending tons of troops to Europe, they tried to compromise by provided resources and starting up BCATP instead.