During the Second World War, the staff of the century-old Hamilton
Spectator newspaper kept its own monumental record of the war. This
collection of more than 144,000 newspaper articles, manually clipped,
stamped with the date, and arranged by subject, includes news stories and
editorials from newspapers, mostly Canadian, documenting every aspect of
the war. You are invited to explore the online database using either the Basic
search or the
search, which includes a date searching feature.
Short historical articles on key topics from the 1939-1945 time period, along with sample
clippings from the collection, supplement this impressive resource of news
information "as it happened". A glossary of
terms, highlighted in red throughout the historical articles, provides definitions
for technical terms and abbreviations.
The Second World War
Fought on every continent except Antarctica, in all the oceans,
and through the vast distances of the world's airspace, the Second
World War was the most significant person-made event in human history.
It shattered millions of lives and shaped the world for decades
to come. Its effects are felt still.
An estimated fifty million people, both combatants and civilians,
died in battle or by execution, disease or starvation. The young
did most of the fighting. Those who survived often carried with
them disabilities, wounds and emotional illness, and their lives
were frequently shorter and always distorted by what they had experienced.
The war also caused irreparable damage to the natural environment
and to the world's collective cultural heritage.
The detonation of two atomic bombs in Japan at war's end brought
a glimpse of the terror of nuclear war. The world would have to
live with weapons that had the potential to kill millions in moments
and indeed to kill the whole human race. That prospect was increased
when a Cold War rose out of the Second World War, and pitted the
Communist Soviet Union, suspicious of the West and intent on protecting
itself from further attacks on its soil, against democratic capitalist
countries such as the United States and Canada.
The Second World War led to technological innovations such as synthetic rubber,
the computer, affordable trans-Atlantic aviation, plastics and synthetic
fibres, radar and the jeep. Memories of the Depression of the 1930s
and the war which was in many ways its child were an impetus to
the building of social welfare states in Canada, Britain and elsewhere
after 1945. The United Nations was a further attempt to turn the
war in the direction of constructive change, an imperfect but deliberate
effort to construct a system of international co-operation where
possible and a method of deterrence when peace failed.
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