Chronol­ogy of the Se­condWorldWar

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Septem­ber 3, 1939: The pas­sen­ger liner Athe­nia is tor­pe­doed, killing the first Cana­dian of the war, stew­ardess Han­nah Baird of Que­bec. Septem­ber 10, 1939: Canada de­clares war on Ger­many - the first and only time Canada has de­clared war on an­other coun­try on its own. Septem­ber 14, 1939: The Prime Min­is­ter, Wil­liam Lyon MacKen­zie King, de­clares that Canada should be the arse­nal of the Al­lies and pledges not to in­sti­tute con­scrip­tion. Septem­ber 16, 1939: The first Cana­dian con­voy of mer­chant ships sails for Bri­tain. Novem­ber 13, 1939: An ad­vance party of Cana­dian of­fi­cers lands in Bri­tain. De­cem­ber 17, 1939: The first of the main body of Cana­dian troops ar­rive in Scot­land; in­au­gu­ra­tion of the British Com­mon­wealth Air Train­ing Plan to train pi­lots and air­crew in Canada, away from the fight­ing. April 9, 1940: Canada cre­ates a De­part­ment of Mu­ni­tions and Sup­ply to man­age the pro­duc­tion of war ma­te­rial. June 12, 1940: The 1st Bri­gade of the Cana­dian 1st Divi­sion lands in France; they are forced to leave days later when France sur­ren­ders to the Nazis. Novem­ber-De­cem­ber 1941: Cana­dian troops are sta­tioned at Hong Kong; on De­cem­ber 8, 1941, Hong Kong is at­tacked by the Ja­panese; on De­cem­ber 25 Hong Kong falls (of 1,975 Cana­dian troops, 290 were killed with the re­main­ing 1,685 taken pris­oner; a fur­ther 260 of th­ese Cana­di­ans would die as pris­on­ers of war be­fore the end of the war). April 4, 1942: A Royal Cana­dian Air Force plane spots the Ja­panese fleet en route to Cey­lon (Sri Lanka) and gives warn­ing in time for suc­cess­ful de­fence of the is­land (Win­ston Churchill cites this episode as “the most dan­ger­ous mo­ment of the war”). April 27, 1942: The Na­tional Plebiscite and sub­se­quent amend­ment to the Na­tional Re­source Mo­bi­liza­tion Act au­tho­rize con­scrip­tion. Au­gust 19, 1942: The Dieppe Raid sees a force of more than 6,000 Al­lied sol­diers (al­most 5000 of whom were Cana­dian) tak­ing part in a raid in oc­cu­pied France. The op­er­a­tion would prove to be a fail­ure, with 1,946 of the force be­ing taken pris­oner and 916 Cana­di­ans los­ing their lives. May 1943: The most dan­ger­ous pe­riod in the Bat­tle of the At­lantic draws to a close; more than

1,200 Cana­dian and New­found­land mer­chant sea­men had been killed at sea since the be­gin­ning of the war. July 10, 1943: Cana­di­ans, form­ing a part of the British 8th Army, join in the in­va­sion of Italy. Au­gust 17, 1943: The con­quest of Si­cily is com­pleted. Septem­ber 3, 1943: On the fourth an­niver­sary of Bri­tain and France’s dec­la­ra­tion of war on Ger­many, Cana­dian troops join Al­lied forces in the in­va­sion of the Ital­ian main­land. De­cem­ber 28, 1943: Af­ter heavy fight­ing, Cana­dian troops oc­cupy Or­tona, on Italy’s east coast. May 11, 1944: Tanks of the 1st Cana­dian Ar­moured Bri­gade sup­port the Al­lied as­sault up Italy’s Liri Val­ley to be­gin the cam­paign to lib­er­ate Rome from the Nazis. May 14, 1944: Af­ter four days of heavy fight­ing, the first en­emy de­fences in the Liri Val­ley are bro­ken. May 16, 1944: The 1st Cana­dian Corps is or­dered to ad­vance on the sec­ond Ger­man de­fen­sive line across the Liri Val­ley (this is the first time since 1918 that a Cana­dian Corps - a body of troops num­ber­ing about 50,000 - was to at­tack on a Eu­ro­pean bat­tle­field). June 6, 1944: D-Day. 15,000 mem­bers of the Cana­dian Army as well as hun­dreds of mem­bers of the Royal Cana­dian Air Force and the crews of 60 ves­sels of the Royal Cana­dian Navy par­tic­i­pate in the land­ings in Nor­mandy as part of an in­va­sion force of some 150,000 Al­lies (there were 1,074 Cana­dian ca­su­al­ties on D-Day, in­clud­ing 359 deaths). July 10, 1944: The city of Caen in France, the Cana­dian D-Day ob­jec­tive, is fi­nally taken by a com­bined British-Cana­dian as­sault. July 23, 1944: Lt. Gen­eral H.D.G. (Harry) Cr­erar takes over com­mand of the First Cana­dian Army, the first army-sized field force in Cana­dian his­tory. Au­gust 1944: By this time 700,000 Cana­dian-built mo­tor ve­hi­cles of more than 100 de­signs are in ser­vice. Au­gust 25, 1944: The Bat­tle of Nor­mandy ends with the lib­er­a­tion of Paris, the Cana­di­ans hav­ing been suc­cess­ful in what is gen­er­ally agreed to have been the fiercest por­tion of the cam­paign. Cana­dian losses had been large in pro­por­tion to the strength en­gaged. From D-Day through 23

Au­gust the to­tal ca­su­al­ties of the Cana­dian Army had been 18,444, of which 5,021 were fa­tal. Septem­ber 1, 1944: Cana­dian troops, tasked with clear­ing the heav­ily-de­fended English Chan­nel ports of their Ger­man gar­risons, re­turn to Dieppe as lib­er­a­tors. Oc­to­ber 23, 1944: The First Cana­dian Army be­gins the Bat­tle of the Scheldt in Hol­land. Novem­ber 9, 1944: The end of the Bat­tle of the Scheldt; a full three weeks would elapse be­fore the Scheldt es­tu­ary could be cleared of mines and the first con­voy, led by the Cana­dian mer­chant ship Fort Cataraqui, could sail into An­twerp with sup­plies for the Al­lies. De­cem­ber 1, 1944: The Cana­dian Corps in Italy at­tempts to break through into the Lom­bardy Plain and at­tain the Se­nio River, the north­ern­most out­post of the Ital­ian Front. Fe­bru­ary 1, 1945: The with­drawal of Cana­dian forces from Italy for de­ploy­ment in north­west Eu­rope be­gins. Fe­bru­ary 8, 1945: Com­mence­ment of the Rhineland Cam­paign; Gen­eral Cr­erar’s First Cana­dian Army, aug­mented by Al­lied for­ma­tions, be­comes the largest force ever com­manded by a Cana­dian. April 1, 1945: The First Cana­dian Army be­gins its cam­paign to open up a sup­ply route through Arn­hem and clear the Nether­lands and the coastal belt of Ger­many. May 7, 1945: Ger­many sur­ren­ders, the war in Eu­rope ends; the next day, May 8, is de­clared V-E Day. Au­gust 6, 1945: Drop­ping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in Ja­pan and, days later, Na­gasaki, ends the ne­ces­sity of send­ing into bat­tle the ap­prox­i­mately 80,000 Cana­dian troops who vol­un­teered to serve in the Pa­cific. Au­gust 14, 1945: Ja­pan sur­ren­ders - V-J Day. The Sec­ond World War is of­fi­cially over.

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