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Second World War Collection (C311)

1941-1946. - 3 cm of textual records.

Administrative History - Biographical Sketch:

The Second World War was a worldwide military conflict that took place from 1939 to 1945. It was the most destructive war in history in terms of human lives and property destroyed. It broke out in 1939 as a European conflict primarily between Germany and the Franco-British alliance. The conflict soon spread, however, and virtually every nation on the planet became involved. When the war ended in 1945, the world had found a new equilibrium, dominated by the United States (USA) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

More than previous conflicts, World War II led to the mobilization of all the human and economic resources of the nations involved, disregard for the distinction between soldiers and civilians and the extension of the field of battle to all enemy territory. It was characterized by unprecedented atrocities committed against civilians and, in particular, by the Nazi genocide, with the deportation and systematic elimination of Jews, Roma (Gypsies), Poles and other Slavs in concentration camps. The victory of the Allied forces was the result of the human and industrial capacity they were able to mobilize.

In the last phase of the war, two totally new weapons made their appearance: the long-range missile and the atomic bomb. Overall, however, the weaponry used in the war was very similar in type to that used in the First World War, though considerably more modern. The biggest innovations were seen in aircraft and battle tanks.

Scope and Content:

This collection concerns the Second World War (1939-1945). It contains fuel coupons, ration books, liquor purchase permits, Victory bonds, bond purchase application forms and propaganda booklets. The collection also includes a special issue of the Montreal Daily Herald on the French-Canadian war effort.