Was Canada Effective in World War II? ASK THE WORLD

I used to always state that Quora.com was a site where people could ask questions on any topic, and those who feel qualified attempt to answer them.¬† “It’s much like Yahoo! Answers”, I would further explain.¬† But it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is not a fair comparison.¬† ¬†It’s becoming more like a bunch of yahoos WITH answers making up answers.¬† And doing an even worse job with some of the questions.¬† Quora doesn’t make people stupid.¬† It just makes stupid people more accessible to the general public.¬† And as the old adage says – “stupidity is contagious, and there’s no known cure”.

The question popped up a few days ago, and I couldn’t believe it.¬† I also couldn’t keep quiet.¬† How dare the uneducated chatter class insult the memory of the tens of thousands of Canadians who gave their lives for our global freedom (yep, including the freedom of the brainwave that wrote this question, no matter where he or she lives).¬† This writer should be happy to discover that Canada was very effective in World War II, along with their Allied partners.¬† It’s why we aren’t speaking German or Japanese today.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS MY RESPONSE, word-for-word, to this highly controversial question.  Photos were later added for this blog article only.


You‚Äôll have to excuse my homeland of Canada – we were amiss apparently by not personally educating YOU on our war effectiveness from 1939‚Äď1945. Let‚Äôs fix that. There are a few people you should talk to:

  • Workman John Hawkins of Toronto checks the tags of Bren machine-guns at the John Inglis Co. plant in Toronto. Canada produced millions of arms for the Allied war effort. ¬© Archives Canada mikan-3197327

    ASK THE BRITISH  how effective we were. Before we even sent a single man, gun, plane, tank or ship Рwe made sure to take care of the British people themselves.  Remember, they live on an island, and risked being isolated by the Nazis, after the war started in September 1939.

    Canadian exports accounted for as much as 77% of British wheat and flour consumption in 1941, 39% of the bacon, 15% of the eggs, 24% of the cheese, and 11% of the evaporated milk that the British imported globally.

    Abandoned British equipment on the beach at Dunkirk. Although 340,000 troops were evacuated from Dunkirk, the British Army left behind: 120,000 vehicles, 600 tanks, 1000 field guns, 500 anti-aircraft guns, 850 anti-tank guns, 8000 Bren guns, 90,000 rifles and half a million tons of stores and ammunition. (Credit: LIFE Magazine, 1940)

    Britain also had to leave 75,000 of their 80,000 vehicles behind in the evacuation at Dunkirk in 1940. Virtually defenseless on the ground, Britain turned to Canada – and particularly the Canadian auto industry – to replace what had been lost. Canada not only replaced those losses – we also did much more.

    Canada produced more than 800,000 military transport vehicles, 50,000 tanks, 40,000 field, naval, and anti-aircraft guns, and 1,700,000 small arms. 38% of this production was used by the British military alone. The Canadian Army “in the field” had a ratio of one vehicle for every three soldiers, making it the most mechanized field force in the war.

    Canada also loaned $1.2 billion on a long-term basis to Britain immediately after the war; these loans were fully repaid in late 2006. That’s the equivalent of about $17.7 billion today.

  • Canadians landing at Juno Beach. (Credit: Le Conseil Regional De Basse-Normandie / Library and Archives Canada)

    ASK THE FRENCH how effective we were. On June 6, 1944, 14,000 Canadian troops stormed Juno Beach, arriving on 110 Canadian ships and supported by 10,000 Canadian sailors, part of 150,000 Allied troops total, who were part of the greatest invasion by sea in world history. Canada was the only nation that captured its beach and fulfilled all Her orders on D-Day. We suffered over 1,000 casualties that day alone.

    The French WILL tell you we were effective, by the way – they were occupied by the Germans for over 4 years – but then just 74 days after D-Day, we liberated Paris, and less than one year after D-Day, our little nation had assisted in bringing down the Third Reich completely – an empire that conquered 11 nations on 2 continents with 20 million battle-hardened troops, And Hitler was dead. Were we effective. They would shout a resounding ‚ÄúOui!‚ÄĚ

Dutch Ambassador to Canada, Dr. J.H. van Roijin and Mrs. van Roijin, greeting Dutch immigrants arriving by ship in Montreal, June 1947. (Credit: George Hunter / National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / Library and Archives Canada / PA-123476)

ASK THE DUTCH how effective we were. Our country welcomed Queen Juliana, Prince Bernhard and the other members of the Dutch royal family as our guests for 5 years, after the Nazis invaded their Kingdom in June 1940. Dutch Princess Margriet was born in Ottawa Civic Hospital.

Later, Canada almost single-handedly liberated the Netherlands from the Nazis on May 9, 1945, and the Dutch still celebrate Liberation Day (unofficially called ‚ÄúCanada Day‚ÄĚ) with Canadian flags flying in Amsterdam on that day, citizens still running to give our aged soldiers flowers as they march or ride in parades there.

In a decades-old Dutch tradition, schoolchildren visit the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, Netherlands on Christmas Eve every year, where nearly 1,400 Canadian soldiers are buried, and they place candles on every grave. More immigrants arrived in Canada in the 1950s from the Netherlands than from any other nation in the world, including America. In fact, the 2016 Canadian Census reported 1,111,655 persons of Dutch origin living in Canada out of 37 million Canadians. Did they find us effective? They would say ‚Äúja!‚ÄĚ

  • In fact, I’d even recommend ASKING THE GERMANS how effective we were. Particularly the German troops that were garrisoned at the town of Zwolle, in the Netherlands. Canadian soldier L√©o Major was the only Canadian and one of only three soldiers in the British Empire and Commonwealth to ever receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) twice in separate wars. In 1945, he single-handedly liberated the city of Zwolle, the Netherlands from German army occupation. He was sent as a scout with one of his best friends, but he thought the town was too beautiful for a full scale attack. So the next rational option was to clear it out himself. A firefight broke out and his friend was killed, but that didn‚Äôt stop him – he put the commanders of each group of soldiers he found at gunpoint, and the entire unit would end up being taken prisoner as a result. He ended up taking nearly 100 Germans prisoner that night, until the entire city was clear of Nazis. He received his second DCM during the Korean War for leading the capture of a key hill in 1951.

(Credit: Globe & Mail.)

Canada declared war in Germany just 7 days after Great Britain and France, and had troops in Europe literally weeks later. It would take a further 26 months before the United States would enter the War. By the time the War was over, Canada had over 1.1 million soldiers in uniform – about 33% of our entire adult male population.

At the end of the Second World War, Canada had one of the largest navies in the world, with 95,000 men and women in uniform, and 434 commissioned vessels including cruisers, destroyers, frigates, corvettes and auxiliaries.

During the 2,159 days that Canadian soldiers fought across Europe, Asia and Africa, 45,000 were killed, and 55,000 were injured. Those total casualties were equal to nearly 1 out of every 10 soldiers that served.

Canadians are not a blunt, brash or boasting lot. We are famous for apologizing for things that aren‚Äôt our fault. So let me say ‚ÄĚsorry‚ÄĚ to you in that vein – during the War, our armed forces were too busy making scraps to make a scrapbook for posterity. Many of our soldiers were gone for six years and then had to be re-integrated back into society after the War. We were also kind of busy burying our dead, and helping rebuild the world.

We’ll be sure to get it right for World War IIIwhich ironically will likely be started by someone like you, asking ill-advised, inflammatory questions like this.


(Editor’s Note:¬† The answer above certainly struck a nerve, which I’m thankful for!¬† ¬†In just the last 30 days alone, nearly 50,000 people on Quora.com read my answer above, and I received dozens of very kind comments.¬† I’ve shared my favorite at the end of this article.

I’m also honoured to have been “upvoted” over 2,900 times, which, according to Quora, means that these readers “believe I answered the question asked and contributed in a meaningful way to Quora’s repository of knowledge”.

If only the ORIGINAL QUESTION had been written with that same goal in mind.

And for the very first time in my life, I believe, something I’ve written has been painstakingly translated word for word into French, by a man I don’t know and have never spoken to before!¬† Merci beaucoup, Pierre Luc Gaudreault de Montr√©al!¬† You did an amazing job / Tu as fait un travail incroyable!

And it’s comments like these that truly make my blog, Quora, Youtube, Twitter…all worthwhile.¬† Thank you Raymond Li!


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By Shawn Jorgensen,  Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Posted:  January 19, 2020
[God’s Got A Plan For You!]

The Poppy STILL Matters

There are some today who believe that it’s time to put the poppies away, let go of the past, and stop commemorating Remembrance Day. ¬†Some believe it should no longer be a statutory holiday, others say it “glorifies War” – an activity that only the criminally insane would ever contemplate. ¬†

And for one giant global sports brand, apparently wearing a¬†poppy is considered nothing more than¬†a “political statement”.

Nothing could be further from the truth. ¬†The poppy still matters. ¬†Remembrance Day still matters. ¬†And they are both¬†worth fighting for – because they represent those who fought – and died –¬†for us.


The “controversial” poppy armband, now banned by FIFA’S players to wear on November 11. (Credit: The Guardian)

BREAKING NEWS:

The BBC reported on November 1 that Zurich, Switzerland-based FIFA, the international union of 211 member associations that governs worldwide football, turned down a request from England and Scotland for players to wear armbands featuring poppies when they face each other at Wembley on Armistice Day (Remembrance Day in Canada or Veterans Day in the United States), says the Scottish Football Association (SFA).

Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, wear the poppy with pride in 2013. (Credit: The Mirror)

FIFA doesn’t allow any “political, religious or commercial messages” on shirts. The teams were allowed to wear black armbands embroidered with poppies in November 2011, after Prince William and British Prime Minister David Cameron appealed to the football governing body.

Certainly the poppy is not a religious or commercial message. ¬†So we’re left to believe it’s a ¬†political message? ¬†Surely World Wars I and II are much more all-encompassing than a debate about politics?

THIS Is Why Poppies Matter, FIFA

RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) men search the packs of the British dead for letters and effects to be sent to relatives after the Battle of the Somme, September 1916. (Credit: Imperial War Museum)

In World War I, more than 10 million soldiers on both sides Рincluding 6 million Allied troops Рwere killed on the battlefield.  Another 9 million civilians were killed in the crossfire. Europe buried an entire generation of young men, changing their landscape and history forever.

Great Britain (whom¬†FIFA believes doesn’t need to be wearing it’s history on its sleeve)¬†alone raised an army of 6 million troops out of their population of 46 million – and 900,000, or 11.5% of those, were killed. ¬†Overall, the death toll represented an astounding¬†2% of the overall population – the largest loss of life in the 1,000-year history of Britain from any conflict.

Canada’s contribution was even more priceless – thus perhaps why we are just as upset as our British brothers and sisters. ¬†Our little nation of 7 million somehow raised an army of 620,000 troops – that’s 1 out of every 11 people in the country.¬† Today, with 35.6 million people, an equivalent army would number 2.9 million people – or the entire populations of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland put together.¬†

img_1316-1But our¬†total losses on foreign battlefields with names like the Somme, Vimy, and Passchrndaele changed us forever –¬†with¬†67,000 killed and 250,000 wounded, nearly 40% of our armed forces ended up casualties of this Hell on earth,¬†representing 5% of our population!

Perhaps people in Zurich, Switzerland¬†where FIFA is located, a neutral country in both wars, cannot relate to the horrors of war.¬†¬†That’s an enviable position to be in for sure.

But for the nations that lost so much for the price of freedom…

…the same freedom that Switzerland enjoys without having lost any of their sons¬†for it;

…the same freedom that allows FIFA to make buckets of money in¬†a relatively wealthy, peaceful Europe today

…those nations who remember and honour that terrible price have a¬†RIGHT and a RESPONSIBILITY¬†to commemorate those¬†who freed our world of evil and tyranny, and who¬†laid the foundations for our Western greatness and freedoms with their bodies.

The installation 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' at the Tower of London, commemorating the centenary of Britain's involvement in the First World War . (Credit: Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph)
The installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London, commemorating the centenary of Britain’s involvement in the First World War . (Credit: Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph)

From a business perspective, it makes no sense for FIFA to¬†snub their¬†nose at an event that millions of people commemorate. ¬†Every year, more than 40 million poppies are sold in the United Kingdom alone to support the Legion.¬† 40 MILLION.¬† In fact, I could even go one step further and say that to ignore or to even insult the memories of the fallen dead within Wembley Stadium on November 11 will¬†have negative repercussions on FIFA for a long time¬†to come.¬† FIFA is making¬†a political statement here by banning the poppies¬†– they are saying that the millions who died don’t matter, that¬†their¬†sacrifice isn’t as important as corporate image, or as necessary¬†as insulting some modern leftwing pacifists’ delicate sensitivities.

We, from both sides of that terrible War, know better.¬†¬†FIFA also doesn’t seem to recognize that a¬†new generation of school children are finding a new interest in Remembrance/Veterans/Armistice Day, and attendance has never been better.

Why? ¬†Because we¬†all need to believe in heroes, more than ever before.¬† The next generation needs to see¬†peace on Earth modelled for them. ¬†They need to be taught that sacrifice isn’t a wasted effort, that “I” and “self” can be our greatest threat.

We all need to hope and strive to never see war like this ever again between nations.  And a people that forget their history are doomed to repeat it.

The poppies of Flanders Fields, Belgium

The poppy is incredibly symbolic in this commemoration.¬† When the ground was ripped apart in Europe after World War I, it was noticed on Flander’s Fields in Belgium, an especially bloody battlefield, that equally blood-red poppies were just about the only plant that would grow anywhere afree¬†– and grow they did, like a weed.¬† The symbolism wasn’t lost on the Canadian physician, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, who penned the words we all know so well:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders

Citizens of the United Kingdom, and football players of England and Scotland, disobey the rules.¬† Let’s not “break faith with those who died”. ¬†Wear your poppies with pride. ¬†These men and women have earned your honour.¬† They have earned your commemoration.

So we “Take up our quarrel with the foe.” ¬† FIFA, their¬†young players have earned all of our respect for their patriotism and desire to do the right thing. ¬†We hope they all come to the game wearing their poppies, violating your rules.

Signs like this appear in Premier League stadiums annually

You can even fine them if you wish – an outraged world will happily pay it. ¬†Unlike American football players who can’t seem to even stand for their anthems, these young men simply want to show respect.

Maybe you should return the favour to them. ¬†You should know from history that the United Kingdom doesn’t get told what to do, nor will they forsake their dead heroes for you.

I anticipate¬†the stands in Wembley¬†Stadium¬†to be a sea of red. And if you don’t change your opinion before November 11, you may find your global financial statements will be a similar color.

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By Shawn J., Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Posted November 2, 2016
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Canada…Still Glorious, Still Free

Canada is more than a location, a huge land mass, a country, a set of borders, a group of people with a common language, government and currency. Canada is an idea: the founding of a collection of souls from around the world into one fold, with a common set of values, a common bond of pride in who we are, what we have done and where we are going.


images (3)As Canadians from sea to sea to shining sea gather together today with their friends, families or entire communities to celebrate the 149th Birthday of the Dominion of Canada – the land we love so much – a few things popped in and out of my head as I thought about our homeland.

I’m happy to report that this morning, as I did last Canada Day morning 2015, and as has been the case every other morning of our lives in Canada thus far…. we all woke up free.

Having a hard time grasping how precious that is, or what that even really means? I completely understand and could relate – until, that is, I got on a jetliner and headed to Australia, France, Spain, North Africa and all over the United States. And suddenly, it all became incredibly obvious how blessed we are as Canadians to live in a mosaic of cultures that still works.

Victoria, BC on Canada Day
Victoria, BC on Canada Day

It’s true that on this Canada Day perhaps more than any other in modern history, we are threatened by groups that want to wipe us off the planet, and the occasional drooling Neanderthal from this illiterate lot occasionally sneaks into our country to try to do so. ISIS has even threatened to kill Canadians in their own bedrooms in the past.

But we are not afraid. We have heard this all before. We heard it in the 1930s and 1940, generally followed by shrieking “Sieg Heils”. Adolf Hitler had 20 million soldiers in his Armed Forces – our entire population wasn’t that large. Regardless, our teenage boys and young adult men went over there by the hundreds of thousands – in fact, nearly 1 million Canadians total – and we barrel-rolled over his goose-stepping goons in France after storming the beaches of Normandy. Then we liberated the Netherlands before pushing the Nazi beasts all the way back into Germany, where their ultimate defeat awaited.

Look, some Canadians have lived through a record -81C temperature, and we all suffered under Free Trade, a 69 cent dollar, 20% interest rates, a 13.1% national unemployment rate and the GST. Pierre Trudeau (shivers)… and now his idiotic offspring. There’s really nothing out there that’s bigger than we can handle.

IMG_2473On this Canada Day, as with the 148 before it, Canadians will have a day of lawn chairs, hot dogs, and fireworks – and have you noticed how sunny Canada Days tend to be? But the day really begins the moment we catch a first glimpse of our iconic flag – snow white and crimson red – painted on a cheek, draped as a cape, emblazoned on a T-shirt, or hanging from a balcony.

As far as the experts in marketing will tell you, it’s one of the most brilliant, simplistically designed brands in the world – and the whole global village knows who it belongs to the moment they see it. Like the Red Cross flag it closely resembles, it speaks safety and healing and security to the masses of wounded, terrified, displaced peoples everywhere. Canadians have a reputation for quiet patriotism – until the flag comes out. Then it’s all bets off how emotional we are going to get.

We live in a peaceful land with a federal government which has never been overthrown or even temporarily supplanted in an internal coup. In fact, the very idea of Canadian democracy itself has never been truly threatened – not ever. In the 149 years of our national story, no foreign power has ever overrun our borders (except maybe Wal-Mart) – not once, not even for 5 minutes.

distinctive

Former Prime Ministers Jean Chretien (Liberal) and Stephen Harper (Conservative), political foes, enjoy a laugh together as they flew 18 hours to Nelson Mandela's funeral last year.
Former Prime Ministers Jean Chretien (Liberal) and Stephen Harper (Conservative), political foes, enjoy a laugh together as they flew 18 hours to Nelson Mandela’s funeral last year. They were joined by Canada’s first female Prime Minister, Kim Campbell (Conservative) and Brian Mulroney (Conservative) – the four lead Canada for nearly 30 years total.

And you can be absolutely certain of one thing – in Canada, the wider the pendulum swings back and forth, the quieter the streets will be the next morning. We have never protested the results of elections being won by illegal means or so ridiculously close to call we waited days for the results – because it’s never happened. If Canadians are happy with a government or have no reason to be mad, they could stay elected forever. But if we are furious with them, we wipe them off the face of the earth or whip them back to the doghouse and give the other side fair chance to prove themselves. There are no dynasties or guys that we just can’t get rid of. We took Brian Mulroney’s massive majority government down to two seats in the next election. We’d never wipe out a ruling party though because we know eventually they’ll be needed again. Our politics are just that logical.

There have been no riots on election days, no rubber bullets, no tear gas. If our guy loses, we get up and put our pants on the next morning one leg at a time as we always have, perhaps grumble at the water cooler when we get to the office – then graciously accept the fact we’re gonna be slightly irritated by the new Prime Minister for his entire term – unless of course, he surprises us by doing something out if the ordinary that we can actually relate to, and he becomes “our man” (perhaps for that hour) as well.

IMG_2474Since the founding of Canada in 1867, we have had 149 consecutive years of total peace within our borders – there has never been a war or rumour of war. I am not sure that any other country on earth can make such a claim.

Our military is small but mighty. We dared to stand tall even the United States of America in the War of 1812, crossing the border and setting many public buildings on fire including the White House (which we burned to the ground – sorry about that!), and then successfully returning all our troops home.

  • In World War I, just 50 years along as a nation, we conquered Vimy Ridge when no one else could. We mobilized an army that was nearly 8% of our entire country’s population. We were often used as cannon fodder, and far too many of our boys died in places like Passchendaele, Ypres, and the Somme, that we could barely spell or pronounce. But we fought for King and in so doing, we became a country.
  • In World War II, our farm boys from Saskatchewan and city slickers from Vancouver and Toronto all stormed the same Juno Beach together, and were the only country on D-Day – June 6, 1944 – to successfully land our troops and push into Nazi territory, completing all of our ordered objectives. Then we waited for our British and American allies to catch up. We continued the push across Europe and almost single-handedly liberated the Netherlands from Nazi tyranny. It should be again stated that Hitler’s armies numbered nearly 20 million – larger than our entire Canadian population. But we were not going to be defeated. Oh, and by the way, the Netherlands still celebrates a special “Canada Day” ever year, as their eternal thanks for their liberation. It makes me emotional even to think about it now.
  • We served in many other conflicts, liberating captive populations and policing others in Korea, Kosovo, and Kuwait. We became known as the peacekeepers – we were the ones that no one wanted to mess with privately, but publically, oh they may have made fun of our older weapons and tanks and planes. But we have a secret that makes all that new-fangled, high-tech equipment today mostly irrelevant anyway. There have been very few moments in history when any other nation on earth has ever wanted to actually harm us. But shhhhhhh, keep that under wraps.

Oh yes, the world laughs at us for being so polite. We apologize…sometimes several times… when someone else walks into us, and I’m sorry I have to even admit that to you. We’re so mild mannered and boring up here, there were actually some Americans over the decades who believed we were closed on the weekends. The entire country.

Terrorists don’t generally want to blow us up. They barely remember we’re here. No one goes on television or radio or stands in large rallies and screams “Death to Canada” or brags about the missiles they can launch now upon Toronto or Montreal. It just simply doesn’t happen. EVER.

And you know why? Because they love us. Deep down, they all really do love us.

Canada Day fireworks over Parliament Hill, Ottawa
Canada Day fireworks over Parliament Hill, Ottawa

The 2015 report from the Reputation Institute ranked Canada as the #1 most reputable country in the world, based on a variety of environmental, political, and economic factors. Oh, and we have been one of the top two countries EVERY year for the last 10 years in a row.

Our former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, said it best on Canada Day 2013, when he described Canadians as..

“Compassionate neighbours, courageous warriors, and confident partners, a bastion of freedom in an un-free world, a standard-bearer of goodwill, in a time when too many choose to hate, a land of hope in a sea of uncertainty.”

May God keep our land…glorious and free!

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By Shawn J., Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
‚úí Posted July 1, 2015. Updated July 1, 2016

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