Canadian History in the Twentieth Century

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Appendix 2.4.1

See web site for additional Appendices: timelines for teacher and students (2.4.2. and 2.4.3); list of events for students to put in timeline (2.4.4); organizer for study of Nazi death camps (2.4.5).

Appendix 2.4.1

Human Rights Issues in World War II

The Holocaust

The Treatment of Japanese Canadians

The Dropping of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The Basic Facts

Violations of Human Rights/

Your Response

Government Reasoning

Your response to government reasoning

US Reasons for Dropping the Bomb

What Would You Have Done? Why?

Activity 5: Canadian Contributions and the Impact of the War

Time: 150 minutes


This activity is divided into two parts. The first part is an analysis of Canadian military contributions to the Allied victory, on land, at sea, and in the air. The second part of the activity examines the contributions from Canada on the home front and assesses the impact of the war on Canada.

Strand(s) and Expectations

Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations: CGE1e, 1i , 2a.

Strand(s): Communities: Local, National, and Global; Social, Economic, and Political Structures; Methods of Historical Inquiry

Overall Expectations: CGV.04, CCV.03, SPV.01, SPV.02, MIV.01, MIV.02, MIV.03, MIV.04.

Specific Expectations

CG3.02 - explain how the conscription crises of World Wars I and II created tensions between English Canada and Quebec;

CG4.02 - compare Canada’s military contributions in WWI and World War II;

CG4.03 - evaluate Canada’s role in the Allied victories of WWI and WWII;

CG4.04 - describe how Canadians of various backgrounds, individually and as communities, contributed at home and overseas to the war effort during WWI and WWII;

CH2.02 - describe the contributions of selected individual Canadians to the development of Canadian identity since WWI;

CH2.03 - compare the backgrounds, careers, and contributions of twentieth century Canadian prime ministers, in both formal and anecdotal reports;

SP2.03 - demonstrate an understanding of the role of government in wartime and explain why the government acted as it did (e.g., implementing centralized planning, rationing and censorship);

SP2.04 - explain how and why the Canadian government restricted certain rights and freedoms in wartime, and describe the impact of these restrictions on the general population and the various groups within the Canadian population;

MI1.01 – use terms related to historical organization and inquiry correctly;

MI2.03 - record and organize information effectively using notes, lists, concept webs, timelines, organizers, charts, maps, graphs, and mind maps.

Planning Notes

  • The teacher may prepare a sample organizer for Canada’s contributions to the Allied victory, and sample charts for both the Canadian contributions on the home front and the impact of the war on Canada (see web site for examples – home front contributions - 2.5.1, battles chart - 2.5.2, contributions at sea and in the air - 2.5.3, and impact of war - 2.5.4).

  • The teacher should prepare in advance the resources to be used in the completion of this activity (decide which sections of the text and other resources should be used).

Prior Knowledge Required

  • finding and recording information, drawing conclusions based on information

  • an awareness of the condition of French-English relations in Canada following WWI

Teaching/Learning Strategies

1. The teacher introduces the activity by talking to students about the roles Canada played in helping win the war, including military and economic contributions. Students, with assistance from the teacher, create an organizer on which they record information gathered about Canadian military contributions to the allied victory. For this comparison organizer, students gather information about WWII battles/campaigns in which Canadians were involved (Dieppe, Sicily, and Italy, D-Day, and the liberation of Holland). They are to compare the purpose, major events, outcomes, and overall contributions of each of these campaigns. Students complete these in class. The teacher may decide that given time restrictions the activity should be done as a class, with the charts on overhead; the students would then volunteer the information in each of the categories as they find it, and the teacher can record it on the overhead. This approach would allow for consistency and give additional opportunity for the teacher to assess individual students’ abilities as they respond. Another approach would be to divide up the categories and have individuals, pairs, or groups come up with information and record it on the chart for collective use.

2. Once the information has been gathered, students might wish to compare the significance of these campaigns with the significance of the Canadian battles of WWI.

3. Students may have stories about members of their own families and their respective roles in WWII to share with the class. A speaker from the local branch of the Legion may enhance student learning (time permitting). Students may wish to write a letter of appreciation to a veteran.

4. This part of the activity is to allow students to inquire about and record what Canadians at home did to contribute to the war and to assess the impact of the war on Canada. The class is divided into four groups. They determine the various kinds of things that happened on the home front to assist in the war effort. Each group examines one of the following: Women, Children, Government, Business.

5. Once the groups complete their tasks, they re-assemble so that an expert from each of the original groups is now in a new group (jig saw). Each of the experts then shares his/her findings so that each member of the new group has all the information. The teacher circulates through the groups to direct and prompt them and to help them remain on task. The teacher may decide to have students put their information in point-form notes or create an organizer.

6. The final task in this activity asks students to consider the wide range of impact that World War II had on Canada. Students examine the impact of the war on the economy, on the role of women, on the role of government, on French-English relations, on Canada’s role in the world, and, finally, the human costs. Students draw conclusions from information that they have already covered, and the teacher provides additional information, including statistics on the losses Canada suffered; the background and outcome of the Conscription Crisis, including King’s promises and the results of the plebiscite; and the status Canada achieves as a middle power. In a teacher-led discussion, students determine the impact of the war on Canada and record their findings in an organizer chart or point-form notes.

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