Fighting

At war with Japan

After the surprise Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Canada lost no time in declaring war on Japan.

Widening the war

On 7 December 1941, the federal government announced that a state of war existed between Canada and Romania, Hungary, and Finland.

The advance through Italy

The messages from Generals Alexander and Leese were sent to the troops at the end of a period of bitter fighting in Italy. In the weeks that followed, Allied troops (with the Canadians in reserve) would continue the advance, eventually capturing Rome in June 1944.

1 Canadian Corps leaves Italy

Early in 1945, Canadian units were withdrawn from the campaign in Italy so they could join the Canadian divisions fighting in north-west Europe. On their departure, the army commander thanked them for their work since the invasion of Sicily in July 1943.

Certificate of Honour

First World War veteran Eli Spencer also served in uniform during the Second World War, and was given this certificate (along with a wallet-size version) by the city of Ottawa in recognition of his service.

Recruiting in Toronto

Before the First World War was twelve months old, citizens' recruiting groups had swung into action to ensure that there were sufficient numbers of volunteers coming forward to reinforce Canadian units at the front.

Change of command in Italy

Richard McCreery took over the Eighth Army in Italy (including I Canadian Corps) from Oliver Leese, and remained in command through the rest of the campaign.

The end in Italy

Canadian units had played a major role in the Italian campaign, but most of them had been transferred to north-west Europe when this message was conveyed from the Supreme Commander (and future governor-general of Canada), Harold Alexander.

The offensive moves through north-west Europe

These messages were conveyed to Canadian units before and after the breakout from the Normandy beach head and the move east into Belgium, before the crossing of the Rhine River, and at the defeat of Germany.

A souvenir of Valcartier

The first contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force came together at Valcartier, Quebec, in September 1914 - and enterprising entrepreneurs were quick to produce souvenirs to sell to a willing public.

Militia General Orders, 1917

General Orders, promulgated to Canada's Non-Permanent Active Militia by the Minister of Militia in Militia Council, addressed a range of administrative and functional matters. This one covered financial instructions and allowances, the Reserve of Officers, the Fort Garry Horse, and the disbanding of certain CEF battalions.

Militia General Orders, 1917

General Orders, promulgated to Canada's Non-Permanent Active Militia by the Minister of Militia in Militia Council, addressed a range of administrative and functional matters. This one covered military funerals, the Military Police, the Canadian Ordnance Corps, and decorations and medals.

Militia General Orders, 1917

General Orders, promulgated to Canada's Non-Permanent Active Militia by the Minister of Militia in Militia Council, addressed a range of administrative and functional matters. This one covered minor changes to regulations regarding pay, rations, depot battalions, medical services, and other organizational issues.

A journalist's impressions

Journalist Fernand Rinfret, later a member of parliament and mayor of Montreal, took part in a press junket to Britain and France in 1918, and wrote about his impressions of the war zones in an Ottawa newspaper, "Le Canada."

Henri Bourassa and the war

His opponents twice prevented newspaper editor Henri Bourassa from giving this speech, in which he argued that the duty of Canadians was to stay clear of involvement in the First World War, so he elected to publish it as a booklet instead.

View PDF: Duty of Canada.pdf

The war according to Borden

This pamphlet collected some of Prime Minister Borden's statements on conscription, the Union Government, and what Canada must do to win the war.

Can Germany win the war?

Foster, the Minister of Trade and Commerce, addressed two critical questions in this talk: did Britain do everything possible to keep out of the war?; and, can Germany win the war?

View PDF: Some Phases.pdf

The Union Government in power

A year after the 1917 election, Newton Rowell, president of the Privy Council in the Union Government, surveyed its achievements, including the institution of conscription, and applauded the Liberals (like himself) who went over to the Union side.

Freedom or despotism?

In this wide-ranging speech, Sifton, the chairman of Canada's Commission of Conservation, placed the First World War in the context of the long struggle for freedom that went back to Demosthenes, the Everlasting League, Magna Carta, and England's Glorious Revolution.

View PDF: Sifton address.pdf

Vote against the Union Government

In this booklet published during the 1917 election campaign, Boyd called for Canadian voters to reject the Union Government and "shatter the trenches of deception, special privilege, political autocracy and narrow-minded fanaticism."

View PDF: Fair Play.pdf

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