World War II

    The Second World War began in September of 1939 when France and Great Britain declared war on Germany after Germany invaded Poland. The countries that fought with France and Great Britain were called the Allies. They included the Soviet Union, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Holland and all the British dominions such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The United States did not enter the war until 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour. The countries that sided with Germany were Italy, Japan and Spain, although Spain did not fight.

    In the first part of the war, Germany did very well, invading and taking over surrounding countries including Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, Greece, Holland and even parts of Africa.  German submarines prowled the North Atlantic, sinking Allied boats. The find out more about the role of German submarines, go to the Battle of the North Atlantic page.

For a  year-by-year time line of events in World War II and links to a huge number of web sites, visit
Search Beat’s World War II resource page . The time line is linked near the top of the page. You may have to look carefully to see it.

To find out what it was like to be a Canadian soldier in a tank crew in North West Europe, visit the Canadian War Museum's Armoured Warrior interactive game. This game, based on real-life experiences, allows you to make decisions as the commander of a Sherman tank in the final days of the Normandy Campaign in 1944.

American Troops in Newfoundland

Because Newfoundland is closer to Europe than any other part of North America, it became very important during theSecond World War. Troops being sent to Europe often left from Newfoundland. Even before the Americansentered the war in December of 1941, the strategic importance of Newfoundland was recognized. The American navel base at Argentia, in Placentia Bay, was built before the USA entered the war. The American ship Edmund B. Alexander arrived in St. John's with the first American troops in January of 1941, almost a year before Pearl Harbour.

By the end of 1942, 20,000 American troops were in Newfoundland and Labrador. During the war more than 100,000 American troops passed through.

The End of the War

Make or Break Spring is set in May of 1945. By then, it was clear that Germany had lost the war. Adolph Hitler committed suicide on May 1, 1945. A few days later, Germany surrendered. On May 8, 1945, everyone celebrated V-E Day (Victory in Europe). But the war wasn't over. It didn't end until Japan surrendered in August.

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