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Second World War (1939 – 1945)

Canada’s role in the Second World War

Our country's great efforts in the Second World War involved virtually the whole country whether by serving in the military or by serving on the home front in industry or agriculture. More than one million Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in the military — more than 45,000 gave their lives and another 55,000 were wounded. While the great powers made more significant contributions to the war effort; for a country of only 11 million people Canada's contribution was remarkable. At war's end, Canada had become a significant military power with one of the largest navies in the world, the fourth largest air force and an army of six divisions. Canada had grown significantly through the ordeal of war and assumed new responsibilities as a leading member of the world community.

Timeline - Canada and its military

Sacrifice, Achievement and Legacy - Trailer

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Soldiers on a boat

Something was brewing, we knew there was something brewing but we did not know where. The announcement came over the loudspeaker system.

Veteran talking

"All hands to main deck for briefing." The most solemn time of my life was right there and you know it.

Soldiers on boats

He says, "Our destination is Dieppe. There are a lot of embankments, and so there'll be a lot of climbing. It's not going to be a picnic. But," he says,

Veteran talking

"The worst part I have to tell you is that only one out of every four of you people will come back alive."


In this comprehensive video, learn about how Canadians rallied at home and overseas, in the face of the biggest threat the country ever faced. Through archival Second World War footage and Veteran interviews discover the contributions Canadians made in Hong Kong, Dieppe, Italy, Normandy, Holland and in Asia, as well as in the skies and at sea around the globe.

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