A History of Canada: Dominion of the North

By Donald Creighton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TEN
MODERN CANADA IN A GREAT-POWER WORLD

[I]

ON MONDAY morning, September 10, 1939, the Canadian people awoke to the realization that once again, for the second time in a single generation, it was formally and irrevocably at war with Germany. The decisive vote had been taken in the Canadian Parliament on Saturday; on Sunday, a proclamation in the King's name had announced the fateful news in the Canada Gazette. 'Now therefore We do hereby declare and proclaim,' ran the solemn and traditional words of the proclamation, 'that a State of War with the German Reich exists and has existed in Our Dominion of Canada as and from the tenth day of September, 1939. Of all which Our Loving Subjects and all others whom these presents may concern are hereby required to take notice and to govern themselves accordingly.' There were about twelve million Canadian subjects of the Crown for whom 'these presents' were to be a matter of terrible concern for the next six years; and on that first Monday of the first week of the war they began the difficult and dangerous business of 'governing themselves accordingly'.

There was a tremendous, a staggering amount of work to do. For, once again, Canada, even more than the other nations of the English-speaking world, was lamentably unprepared for war. The Canadians remained, what they had been

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