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Canada, also known as the Dominion of Canada to some, is a large nation that covers most of the northern portion of North America, and stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Arctic Ocean in the north, and the border of the United States to the south, which is the longest border any two single nations share. Canada covers nearly 10 million sq km, making it the largest nation in the world based on size.
Brief History (Before POD)
The land occupied by Canada was inhabited for millennia by various groups of Aboriginal peoples. Beginning in the late 15th century, British and French expeditions explored, and later settled, along the Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763 after the Seven Years' War. In 1867, with the union of four British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces. This began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom.
World War I
Canada fought valiantly during the First World War, fighting alongside the British and French and other colonials on the Western Front. Canadian forces were responsible for one of the few victories of 1917, the capture of Vimy Ridge, which was the first time that all four corps of the Canadian Expeditionary Force fought together, and were able to secure the ridge in one day, which both the British and French had failed to take. Canadian forces were among the last to give up the war, only doing so after being surrounded by German forces and out of ammunition. As a result, they were granted an independent seat, at the behest of the Germans, at the peace conference, though they still had lost the war itself.
The last few remaining political ties with Great Britain were severed after the war, and this was made official in 1921, when the British Parliament agreed to give the Canadian government the powers to change their constitution themselves. Canada soon prospered, and, befitting the role it had played in the War (which even Kaiser Wilhelm II was said to have admired), it was able to finally emerge from the Motherland's shadow, and was accepted as a fully independent nation.
Canada would join the Imperial Commonwealth upon its founding after the end of the war as well.
World War II
With the British and French declarations of war against Germany, an immense debate began in the Canadian Parliament over whether or not they should follow the mother countries into the fray. After a marathon session, and a fairly narrow open vote, war was declared.
The Canadian government would send what forces they could across the Atlantic to Britain, in slowly increasing numbers. By the time France was invaded on May 10th, three divisions of Canadian troops had arrived, one of which was deployed in France, near where they had been stationed at the end of the First World War. In a fighting retreat across the French countryside, these troops would would prove themselves once again, destroying German formations equal to twice their number in the process. Eventually, the would reach the coast north of the city of Caen, and would retreat northward from there to Cherbourg, where they were evacuated by the Royal Navy back to Britain. Following the surrender of France, vessels of the Canadian Navy would assist the Royal Navy in destroying the French Fleet at Algiers, as well.
There they joined up with the other Canadian divisions, and they were used to defend the coastline of Dorset county and the city of Dorchester during Operation Sea Lion. While not directly attacked in the operation, they were attacked within days by the invading forces from the east. As a result, they were forced to retreat northward into Wales, meeting up with the Royal family and the Prime Minister on the way.
Eventually, most of the Canadian troops, and their British charges, would be evacuated from the port of Holyhead in northwestern Wales. They would arrive back in Canada, only a third the size of when they had left, in March of 1941. Most of the British forces that evacuated the islands, as well as the Royal Navy, eventually joined them.
The British government in exile set itself up in the city of Toronto, to maintain some sort of independence from the Canadian government. From here, they directed the remaining British forces around the globe, most notably in fighting German forces in Egypt and later on, Japanese forces in Asia.
The government-in-exile soon demanded the Canadian government send troops to the battlefields in Egypt. They refused to send out troops that they viewed as being essential to their own defense. Eventually, the two sides reached a compromise - the Canadian government would send out troops to garrison British territories in the Americas, allowing Free British forces there to be moved to Africa and the middle East, where they would play a crucial role in fighting the Ottoman Sultanate as well as allowing forces to stop the Germans in Egypt at the Gazala Line.
With the Japanese attacks in 1941, the Canadian government would declare war on them as well. Over the course of the war in the Pacific, Japanese forces would both bomb and shell the Canadian coastline several times, as well as make excursions in the Yukon during their takeover of Alaska, where Canadian and American units continued to hold out in the panhandle, near the capital, until the end of the war.
With the end of the war, as per the peace treaties, Canadian forces that had been garrisoning the Atlantic Islands for the Free British pulled back to Canada itself, and Bermuda. Most of these were granted some sort of independence, with a few being returned to the government of Edward VIII in the British Isles, and the Bahamas going under American administration. In return for this, and the recognition of Edward as King, the deposed King George VI and his heirs were recognized as the heirs to the British throne, though they would remain in exile in Toronto until such an event occurred. The island of Bermuda, as well as the French islands of St. Piere and Miquelon, were also left in the hands of the Canadian government.
Canada would also join the Organization of Nations and remain in the Imperial Commonwealth, along with signing a series of agreements with the American government, leading to their being a founding member of the American Defense Alliance in 1949.
With the German domination of Europe, the long-standing relationship between Canada and the mother country, despite the agreement at the end of the war, was badly damaged, only really recovering in the 1970s.
With the threats on both sides, the Americans quickly moved to fill this void, rapidly signing a series of defense agreements with the Canadian government, culminating in the hemispheric treaties based on the Monroe Doctrine which established the American Defense Alliance in 1949.