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Women’s Work

When we think of war we usually think of men—and now women as well—fighting battles on land and sea and in the air. All too often we forget that for these combatants to fight millions of people are required to work behind the front line to provide them with supplies of food, clothing and weaponry and to fill positions the combatants occupied before joining the armed forces. In Canada, during the Second World War, this vital role was filled by hundreds of thousands of women on the home front—in the armed forces, the volunteer sector, war industries, the civilian labour force and agriculture.

The Happiest Prisoners

Prisoners look out from behind barbed wire at Sherbrooke, Que., in 1945. PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA—PA163788 In the shadow of Mount Baldy, where lodgepole

The Rush For Rubber

On Dec. 7, 1941, in a co-ordinated strike without equal in the annals of war, the Japanese wrought havoc on units of
the United States Pacific Fleet in a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, invaded the Philippines and Hong Kong, assumed control of Saigon and the rest of French Indochina, landed invading forces at two points on the northeast coast of Malaya, and bombed Singapore. Other units headed for key invasion points in Sarawak, North Borneo and the Dutch East Indies. Using bicycles as their principal means of transport through the Malayan rubber plantations, the Japanese advanced swiftly and silently, outwitting and outdistancing the British, Australian and Indian defenders. These co-ordinated attacks gave Japan control of the Indian Ocean and severed the artery of the Allied rubber supply.

In The Shadow Of War

Teenagers at a wartime farm service camp, 1940. PHOTO: ARCHIVES OF ONTARIO—RG 16-20-0-1-3 Nadia Jarvis was nine years old in September 1939. Her parents, Ukrainian

Members of the Ontario Farm Service Force at work, 1941. [PHOTO: ARCHIVES OF ONTARIO]

The Farmers’ War

Working the fields near Markerville, Alta. PHOTO: GLENBOW MUSEUM—NA2071-12 On April 14, 1941, federal agriculture minister James Gardiner delivered an urgent address to the nation’s

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