World War II

World War II is generally considered to have begun on 1 September 1939, when Nazi Germany, under Adolf Hitler, invaded Poland. The United Kingdom and France subsequently declared war on Germany on 3 September. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with the Republic of China by 1937. In December 1941, Japan attacked American at Pearl Harbour which resulted in the United States declaring war against Japan.

The Second World War saw Canada carrying out a vital role in the Battle of the Atlantic and in the war over Germany and left Canadians with a legacy of proud service and sacrifice embodied in names such as Dieppe, Hong Kong, Ortona, Normandy and Juno Beach.

 Between 1939 and 1945 more than one million Canadian and Newfoundlander men and women served full-time in the armed services. Over 45,000 of our brave men and women in uniform gave their lives and another 55,000 were wounded. Also at this time Newfoundland was not a part of Canada.

 On September 16, 1939, the first convoy set out from Halifax for the United Kingdom. Soon, two convoys a week were sailing from Halifax. By the end of 1939, some 410 ships had crossed the Atlantic. It was difficult and dangerous work and Canadians shared in the worst hardships experienced in the war at sea.

Canadians also saw action in South East Asia . Despite the hardships faced in places like Hong Kong and Burma, brave Canadians did their part to help the Allies triumph and 'V-J (victory over Japan) Day' was declared on August 15, 1945.

World War II was by far the deadliest conflict in human history; it resulted in 70 to 85 million fatalities, a majority being civilians. Tens of millions of people died due to genocides including the Holocaust, starvation, massacres, and disease.

The war in Europe concluded with the liberation of German-occupied territories, and the invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, with Germany surrendering on 8 May 1945. Following the refusal of Japan to surrender, the United States dropped the first atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima, on 6 August, and Nagasaki, on 9 August. Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August.

* information taken from the Canadian Encyclopedia