in Essays

Canada’s Post-War Benefit (November 6, 1998)

I wrote this for grade 9 history. The citation page is missing.

Man’s greatest abomination is war. After the world had just gotten over the First World War, the madness imerged once again. Hitler had unveiled and unleashed the Nazi war machine upon the world. Hitler’s Nazi Germany was essentially about hatred. Hitler blamed innocent “scapegoats” of being the cause of the 1932 Depression. The German people were unemployed, hungry and very angry. Hitler’s ideology, of the “superior race” and the cleansing of all other inferior races through genocide, was brainwashed into the minds of Germans. Thus began the Second World War.

For all the horrors of war there were some countries that benefited from its outcome. Canada, a colonial backwater had achieved being of international importance. The war had dragged Canada out of the depression. Canada had been strengthened, not only economically but socially as well. It is hard to believe that good could actually come out of war, but it stands to be true.

Canada was a poor country throughout its history. The 1941 census shows that two-thirds of the population was below the poverty line. After the war, the 1951 census showed that now two-thirds of the population was living above the poverty line (STAR’89). The unemployment rate had dropped dramatically by 800, 000 between 1939 and 1945, during the war. Do to the demand of supplies of the war; factories had been emerging across the nation. Thousands got jobs manufacturing bombers, fighter planes, ships, canons, bombs, shells, small arms and uniforms. Not only did it give people jobs it made Canadians efficient in producing automobiles, buses, passenger aircraft, refrigerators, washers, dryers, stereo speakers, houses and garments (HOW).

Canada was in a major economic boom. It went from a nation of farmers to being an industrialized nation very rapidly, as well as being a great agriculture and raw materials producer (GRAN). Canadians had the best of both worlds. With all the added wealth, Canada introduced social legislation. The nation received things such as baby bonuses, old-age pensions, health insurance and unemployment insurance. This was stimulated by the philosophy that what nations could do in war; they could do in peace (MAR).

The Second World War had not only had an effect on Canada’s economics; it had an effect on the grimy ethnocentric racism in the nation. Tolerance had expanded as the competition for jobs and money diminished. Photos that came from Auschwitz and other Nazi death and torture camps brought guilt to the people who used to go around happily hating. Signs that were put up in restaurants and factories in pre-war Toronto that might have say “No Jews” or “No Dogs or Irishmen” had disappeared. From 1944, anti-racist human rights legislation appeared in Canada, beginning in Saskatchewan and later in Ontario (STAR’89). The nation consciously tried to become a country fit for the heroes and heroines who returned from the tragedies of the war.

As you see, Canada did greatly benefit from the “post-war boom”. Jack Granatstein, a historian once said, “War is a hothouse and everything grows faster in that hothouse.” But Canadians must not forget the cost of all this gain. Canada would have never reached the economic and social standards today without the sacrifice made by the 45, 000 who died overseas and the 150, 000 youths that came back home with shattered bodies and minds. The painful truth is that this cycle may repeat itself and the next time there is a world depression, the only way to end it may be war.

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