Canada is country that is extremely supportive of freedom and accepting of other people. The invasion of Holland during World War II helped shape this identity of Canada as a nation in two ways by: the liberation of Holland by the Canadian troops reinforced the perception of Canada as a nation which supports freedom and by the shelter given to the Dutch royal family during the war that showed caring for others and acceptance of them.
One of the biggest factors that helped shape Canada's identity in the world, was the liberation of Holland. The liberation could not have happened at a more crucial time. The war was coming to a close and Germany had taken Holland under attack in only a few days. Starvation and disease took over the country. A lot of the food, warm clothes and other necessities were taken by German troops for themselves. "Many people were starving, some begging on the streets for a loaf of bread, others were reduced to eating tulip bulbs or sugar beets for food."
During the eleven months of battle, the Canadians were assigned to clear the coastal areas and open the channel ports for vital supplies. This was not an easy task, but the Canadians defeated the Germans in battles such as the "Scheldt" and the "Rhineland Campaign." The Canadians' final duty was to: "Open up the supply route to the north through Arnhem and then to clear the northwestern Netherlands, the coastal belt of Germany eastward to the Elbe River, and western Holland." This final battle was said to be much easier than previous battles because the Canadian forces were stronger due the combining of all Canadian troops from other parts of Europe. Liberation was declared on May 5, 1945. When Hitler committed suicide the Germans were forced to surrender in Holland. To show how much the liberation of Holland meant, a quote from a Dutch citizen said: "I remember standing there, looking down the road which they would use to enter The Hague. On the third day, I saw a tank in the distance, with one soldier's head above it, and the blood drained out of my body, and I thought: Here comes liberation. And as the tank came nearer and nearer, I had no breath left, and the soldier stood up, and he was like a saint. There was a big hush over all the people, and it was suddenly broken by a big scream, as if it was out of the earth." Canada's identity was reinforced due to the freeing of Holland form the Nazis.
Another incident that helped Canada cement her identity in the world was the settlement of the Dutch royal family in Ottawa. During the war, Queen Wilhelmina and her family took refuge in England. Soon thereafter, England appeared to be a threat to their safety, so Princess Juliana and her two daughters took shelter in Canada. Queen Wilhelmina and her husband stayed in England. In Ottawa, Princess Juliana's third child, Princess Margariet was born.
"After the Dutch royal family returned home in 1945, the people of the Netherlands sent a gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs to Canada's capital in appreciation not only for the refuge that Canadians provided to the royal family, but also for Canada's military role in the liberation of the Netherlands." In 1953, Ottawa decided to host an annual Tulip Festival showcasing the beautiful flowers. It has been a tradition ever since. Over the years, the royal family has visited the gorgeous display of flower, showing a continuing close tie between the two countries. Holland's ongoing appreciation of Canada's war-time efforts by being a liberator and a safe place for its citizens indicates that Canada is still perceived as such today.
World War II caused many deaths, hatred, vandalism of property, land and much more. Though Canada suffered many deaths (Dieppe Raid: 901 men killed in one day) , Canada also gained respect from many countries. Canada was seen to be a nation that would help anyone in need; and because of that multiculturism grew In Canada. Many of the Dutch, after the war, immigrated to Canada and became Canadian citizens. The remaining Dutch people were scared due to the massive loss of lives and property. About a quarter of a million people lost their lives during the war; much good farmland was floodedÃ¢ÂÂ¦ and housing was in short supply. "Those who moved, stated that there was little opportunity for advancement in HollandÃ¢ÂÂ¦they wanted change." The sanctuary they sought was Canada. People from around the world today, look towards Canada as a safe refuge from their homeland's turmoil.
It is apparent that the liberation of Holland by Canada was by far a great and rewarding achievement. Holland and Canada are now different countries because of World War II. The Dutch were liberated and given food, and the royal family was given shelter. Not only is there a strong bond between Canada and Holland; but that relationship has allowed Canada to mature as a nation and allowed us to find our identity in the world; an identity as a country extremely supportive of freedom and acceptance of other people.