Chapter 7

Allies, 1938–1945: The Second World War


18 August 1938 President Franklin Roosevelt spoke at Queen’s University about the Canada–US defence relationship. He promised that the United States would not allow Canada to be attacked by any other country. Several days later, Prime Minister Mackenzie King gave a speech in which he promised that Canada would make sure that other countries would not use Canada as a base from which to attack the United States. The two countries had recognized that each had an interest in the security of the other.
9 November 1938 On Kristallnacht (Crystal Night or Night of the Broken Glass), the Nazis organized mobs to ransack Jewish homes, businesses, synagogues, hospitals, and schools. German Jews became anxious to flee Germany. Kristallnacht shocked President Roosevelt and Prime Minister King, but public opinion in both countries opposed the admission of large numbers of Jewish refugees. By the time the Nazi regime collapsed at the end of the Second World War in 1945, the US had accepted 200,000 Jewish refugees, while Canada had admitted fewer than 5,000.
10 September 1939 Canada entered the Second World War by declaring war on Germany. The United States remained neutral until 7 December 1941. Still, both governments initially pursued a policy of limited liability, supporting Britain without dispatching large numbers of ground troops.
17 August 1940 In the Ogdensburg Agreement, Prime Minister King and President Roosevelt agreed to create the Permanent Joint Board on Defence to study and make recommendations for the common defence of North America.
20 April 1941 In the Hyde Park Agreement, King and Roosevelt solved Canada’s balance of payments problems. Canada would no longer have to pay for components used to make equipment and munitions for Britain, and the US would purchase between $200 million and $300 million of Canadian armaments and supplies.
19 February 1942 President Roosevelt ordered that anyone of Japanese ancestry be removed from the West Coast of the United States. The Canadian government issued a similar order five days later.
17 March 1942 Concerned about a possible Japanese attack on Alaska, Canada and the United States reached an agreement on building the Alaska Highway to northern BC. Canada provided the right of way for the road, allowed American labourers free access to Canada, and let them use gravel and timber from the surrounding area. The US agreed that the portion of the road on Canadian territory would be turned over to the government of Canada after the war.