Ordeal by Fire: Canada, 1910-1945

Ordeal by Fire: Canada, 1910-1945

Ordeal by Fire: Canada, 1910-1945

Ordeal by Fire: Canada, 1910-1945

Excerpt

In the sunlit year of 1910 an unsuspecting Canada began the most painful and momentous years of its education for nationhood. For all it knew of what lay ahead, it might have been a happy child swinging a five-cent scribbler in one hand and a shiny new pencil box in the other on the way to the first day of school.

Canada's nationhood was already more than half won and the rest was within certain grasp. But the education needed to make it fruitful had a long way yet to go. The phase now beginning on the threshold of a new general election was to see bitter conflicts within the country's borders and draw it deeply into two wars beyond them. It was to revolutionize Canada's economy, its individual ways of living, its philosophy of government, and its whole attitude and relation to the world.

But in 1910 the impending deluge of events was not discernible even at its sources, much less on the far-off tidal flats of North America. For most Canadians their country's greatest hazards were securely lost in the past, among the shadows of the Hurons and Iroquois, the Plains of Abraham, the Family Compact, and the War of 1812. The most serious of them all, the affair between Wolfe and Montcalm, was not quite forgotten, but its scars had nearly ceased to throb and what new grains of salt fell on them were apt to be directed more by carelessness than by malice.

For almost a decade and a half the Protestant English "conquerors" had loyally accepted and indeed helped to elect as their Prime Minister one of the Catholic French "conquered."

It was true that there recently had been a not well resolved altercation between the two main branches of the Canadian family con-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.