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Canada at the start of WWII. Canada’s Policy of Isolationism. P.M. Mackenzie King (Lib.) did not want Canada to become involved in another world conflict Hoped Britain’s policy of appeasement towards Hitler would be successful Didn’t want to lose support of Quebec over conscription

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Canada s policy of isolationism
Canada’s Policy of Isolationism

  • P.M. Mackenzie King (Lib.) did not want Canada to become involved in another world conflict

  • Hoped Britain’s policy of appeasement towards Hitler would be successful

  • Didn’t want to lose support of Quebec over conscription

  • Debt avoidance (Depression)


“[N]othing is to be gained by creating an internal problem in an effort to meet an international one… We… must seek to keep this part of the Continent free from unrest.”

-Diary of Mackenzie King,

Tuesday, March 29, 1938


Canada s response to jewish refugees
Canada’s Response to Jewish Refugees

  • King believed what was happening in Germany was a domestic issue should not affect Canada

  • 1930’s: Anti-semitism was widespread

    • Newspapers, conversation

  • Affected immigration policy

    • Ex. Kristallnacht, Nov. 1938 Liberal Cabinet Minister Thomas Crerarsuggested 10, 000 Jews be allowed to immigrate, Cabinet refused

  • Immigration , deportations


The ss st louis
The SS St Louis


The ss st louis1
The SS St Louis

  • Left Hamburg, Germany in May, 1939 with 907 Jewish passengers escaping persecution

  • Denied entry in Cuba, South America, and the USA

  • Last hope= Canada



Canada s steps to war
Canada’s Steps to War What might be some modern examples?

Parliament Votes for War (Sept. 8, 1939)

  • decision to join the war had to be a Canadian one, decided by Canada’s Parliament

  • King & Minister of Justice, Ernest Lapointe (Que.) favor war

  • King: “So long as this government may be in power, no such measure [conscription] shall be enacted.”

  • Yes= Liberals, Conservatives

  • No= J.S. Woodsworth, CCF


Canada s steps to war1
Canada’s Steps to War What might be some modern examples?

Mobilizing Resources

  • Canada was not prepared for war

    • Armed forces= small, unfit for combat (4300 troops)

    • Air force/ navy= small, outdated equipment

  • 58000 people volunteered

    • Sense of duty (ties to Britain)

    • National pride

    • Steady source of income

    • African-Canadian/ Aboriginal volunteers


Canada s steps to war2
Canada’s Steps to War What might be some modern examples?

British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP)

  • Canada hosted to give supplies and training (avoid conscription)

  • Pilots from across the Commonwealth came to train with British instructors

  • Built airfields in Prairies and rural areas

  • Trained 130 000 pilots, navigators, flight engineers, and ground crew

  • $2.2 billion (Canada paid for 70%)


Canada s steps to war3
Canada’s Steps to War What might be some modern examples?

Total War

  • Federal government became more involved in planning and controlling economy

  • April 1940, Dept. of Munitions and Supply, CD Howe (aka “Minister of Everything) in charge


Canada s steps to war4
Canada’s Steps to War What might be some modern examples?

Total War

  • Vancouver= building ships

  • Montreal= constructing planes & bombers

  • Car industries= military vehicles and tanks

  • Crown corporations

  • Farmers

  • Gov’t ran: telephones, refined fuel, stockpiled silk (parachutes), mined uranium, controlled food


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