Home Research PapersBetter two most influential wars in in human history,

Better two most influential wars in in human history,

Better or Worse? Comparing aspects of
Canada’s War Effort from WW. I to WW. II

Perhaps the two most influential wars in in
human history, WW. I and WW. II impacted people from many countries of the
world, spreading destruction and death never seen before on the battlefield.
Both wars brought a new kind of warfare, highly mechanized and resource
demanding, and its affects are still being felt in today’s geopolitical
spectrum. Canada was of vital importance to the allies in both wars, providing
soldiers and armaments to the battlefront and raw materials and supplies to our
allies. Although Canada performed exceptionally well during WW. I, the Canadian
military and overall war effort improved drastically during WW. II in terms of
battle performance, wartime manufacturing and Homefront propaganda. Canada
mobilized as a nation twice within thirty years, and helped fight for freedom
across the world.

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1st, 1916 marked the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and it
marked the beginning of the most disastrous battle the Canadian army had ever
experienced. Canadian battle performance in WW. I was poorer performing to that
of WW. II because of its mediocre planning and the restricted self-autonomy of
Canadian troops. Although fighting very heroically, Canadian troops under the
command of British General Haig, were sent in senseless repetitive “over the
top” raids on German positions. Canadian troops were “gifted” a particularly
heavy fortified section of the Beaumont Hamel that a previous British
bombardment had failed to destroy, sending many Canadians into a hail of
mortars and machine guns. The Battle of the Somme lasted a total of 141 days
(Spotlight Canada, 4th Edition, Pg. 90) and despite heavy losses
Haig insisted the battle continue. After some staggering 5 months of battle
both sides were exhausted, and Canadian casualties numbered 24,000 (Spotlight
Canada, 4th Edition, Pg.90) with the allies gaining only 11km of
land. Poor planning and lack of Canadian strategic autonomy resulted in the
senseless slaughter of Canadian troops, leaving a very war-weary Canadian

During WW. II Canadian battle performance
improved dramatically because of better planning and coordination with the
allies and Canadian leadership of Canadian troops. A particularly strong
example of Canadian efficiency during battle is the D-Day invasions of Normandy
on June 6th, 1944. Under the Command of Major-General Rod Keller the
Canadians participated in a massive air, sea and land invasion against the
Germans that resulted in the breaking through of Hitlers “Atlantic Wall. 14,000
Canadians landed at Juno beach and some 374 Canadians lost their lives for the
cause of victory.  (Source: http://www.junobeach.info/juno-6.htm).Some
Canadians divisions had been training for the D-Day landings for almost a year
and the preparation is what contributed to minimal casualties and errors.
Although not strategically perfect, Canadians advanced further inland (16km) by
nightfall of June 6, than any other allied force on that day. Strategic
planning and cooperation with allies’ lead to the stunning Canadian victory at D-Day.


From the beginning of WW. I Sir Sam Hughes
was put in charge of coordinating and organizing the Canadian war production.
Hughes performance as Minister of Defense was a major blunder and an
embarrassment to Canada, his frequent profiteering and irresponsible awarding
of government military contracts to unequipped industries was a major detriment
to the Canadian war effort.  Despite
these failures, Sir Robert Bordens Imperial Munitions Board did achieve success
in supplying Britain with necessary materials. Most of the equipment Hughes
supported, was a major failure, the Ross Rifle, a Canadian sport rifle, jammed
when fired frequently or filled with debris. It was a hunting rifle, not meant
for war, despite this Hughes continued to support the use of this rifle and
attacked his critics. Another Hughes controversy was the shield shovel, a tool
designed to stop gunfire and work as a spade. However, the shovel could not
stop even a small caliber bullet and the hole in the spade made digging
impossible. Hughes was eventually dismissed by Robert Borden as under claims of
corruption and his inferior performance. Canada was slow at first to organize
for war and Hughes greed contributed to a bloated and inefficient war
production system.

The Canadian wartime production completely
changed during WW. II and was more efficient and better organized to that of
WW.I. Although some would argue that his methods were very draconian, C.D Howe,
the Ministers of Munitions quickly organized Canada’s war economy. He created
28 crown Corporations that produced everything from synthetic rubber, aircraft,
explosives and uranium.  “Howes Boys”
were industrialists and businesspeople who Howe convinced to work for his
ministries on a dollar a year. The output of his corporations was astounding producing
a total of 800,000 motor vehicles, 16,000 aircraft and 900,000 rifles
(Spotlight Canada, 4th Edition, Pg.273) In WW. I Canada was mostly a
supplier of raw materials, come WW. II Canadas war economy became heavily
industrialized and produced more complex and mechanized good. In 1942 the
government turned over all automobile manufacturing into the production of war
vehicles showing Canadas unconditional dedication to the war. Canadas war
production of WW. II was better planned, implemented and organized that lead to
a greater output of high value materials, profiteering and cronyism was
eradicated leading to a booming and efficient production of goods.         

In 1914, Canada was still a dominion of the
British Empire and a sizable portion of Canadian Homefront propaganda promoted
loyalty to the Empire. Canadian propaganda during WW. I was not as effective to
that of WW. II because of its heavily word based, hard to decode messages and
lack of decisive unity and promotion of a better world. The War Poster Service
didn’t include French language propaganda until 1916, failing to obtain a
substantial portion of support from French Canada (Spotlight Canada, 4th
Edition Pg. 83) With a population of 9 million in 1914 and 500,000 citizens
being immigrants born in another country, propaganda promoting loyalty to the
empire would not have been encouraging to all Canadians (Spotlight Canada, 4th
Edition. 47) WW.I propaganda was focused fighting and winning the war, few
posters promoted the prosperity that victory would bring, thereby discouraging
inputs in hope of a better future. Although somewhat effective to a portion of
Canada, WW. I propaganda was largely lacking because of its lack of inclusivity
and the emphasis on a “colonial” view of Canada.

Come 1939 Canada had
just begun to recover from the grips of a ten-year depression which had
strained its religious, social and political institutions and bred widespread
cynicism and anger. The Bureau of Public Information knew that a vast
unification campaign was needed to gather support for the war. In addition,
Canada had also received further autonomy from Britain since the end of WW.I.
The Canadian war propaganda of WW. II was more effective to that of WW. I, its
aggressive, in-your-face, and design-heavy messages shook fear in citizens and
encouraged immediate mobilization. The federal government felt the strain of
wartime demands and felt that it was necessary to make propaganda more dramatic
in the hopes of not only building unity, but to cement the fear and hatred of
fascism in citizens. In WW. II a more nationalistic tone of Canada emerged
including and encouraging people of all national background. Finally, a view of
good vs. evil developed and hopes were placed of a better world after the war.
Canadian victory bonds raised a staggering $8,000,000,000 in support of the war
and Canadian propaganda had more effective tones and messages compared to WW. I
(Source: http://www.airmuseum.ca/postscan.html)

WW. I and WW. II
brought immense changes to Canada both technologically and socially.  Canada improved during WW. II in battle with
the monuments and stunning victory in Normandy, it massive industrial
contributions to the allies that trumped the meager mostly raw material
contributions of WW. I and its effective use of wartime propaganda during WW.
II that helped defeat the Nazis. WW. I was a trial run for Canada seeing how
fast it could mobilize and unify, learning from the mistakes of the Great War Canada
was able to vastly improve during WW. II. Maturing as a nation Canada became a
middle power, being top 5 in largest Air Force and Navy at the end of 1945. Thousand
of Canadian lives were put on hold, as the world battled twice in the span of 21
years for deliverance, equality and freedom from tyranny.











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