Compared with the First World War, the Second World War was truly global in scope and presented many new challenges to the different branches of the Canadian Military. The experiences of these different branches, and the men and women who served in them, are examined.Army
Ground warfare had changed significantly from the First World War and soldiers had to deal with new weapons with greater destructive capacity, mechanized warfare, new tactics, and the very different terrain and climates of the various theatres.Air Force
Arduous conditions were not confined to the ground war. The battle for control of the skies was also extremely perilous – and deadly. Air warfare was a major element of the Second World War and Canadian pilots played a significant role.Navy
The RCN also played a crucial role in the Second World War, primarily by escorting convoys of merchant vessels through the treacherous North Atlantic. The seamen of the Canadian merchant marine who manned these vessels faced perhaps even greater risks as the primary targets of German U-boats.Women
Over 45,000 women enlisted in the Canadian military during the Second World War, and just over 10 per cent of them served overseas. They took on jobs as nursing sisters, drivers, cooks, clerks, and messengers and performed their responsibilities with dedication and pride.Prisoners of War
Canadian prisoners of war experienced the severe treatment and deprivations that are basic to the prisoner-of-war experience, especially at the hands of the Japanese.Death Marches
With the German armies in full retreat on all fronts, Germany's POW system began to break down, and POWs were forced to march into camps deeper in Germany. These forced migrations became known as the death marches.