The Decades of the 1920s and 1930s
* 1 The Decades of the 1920s and 1930s
* 2 Postwar Chaos
* 3 Mackenzie King & Arthur Meighen
* 4 The 1921 Election
* 5 Regional Politics
* 6 Sidelight: King George V Proclaims Canada's Coat of Arms * 7 The 1925 Election and the King-Byng Crisis
* 8 Foreign Policy and the Imperial Conference
* 9 The Roar of the "Roaring Twenties"
* 10 Radio & the Talkies
* 11 Canadians in Hollywood
* 12 Guy Lombardo Rings in New Years Eve
* 13 Art & The Group of Seven
* 14 The Growth of Canadian Sport
* 15 Sidelight: James Naismith Invents Basketball
* 15.1 The First Game
* 16 Toronto Ices First Professional Team
* 17 The Edmonton Grads
* 18 The Bluenose
* 19 Sidelight: Bombardier and His Snowmobile
* 20 The Persons Case
* 21 Background of the "Persons" Case
* 22 The End of Prohibition
* 23 Dr. Frederick Banting Discovers a Treatment For Diabetes * 24 Sidelight: Birth of the Dionne Quintuplets
Borden and Currie Review the Troops
With the planned symmetry of the number eleven, the Great War, as it was then called, came to an end on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. The conclusion of World War One marks, quite logically, one 'bookend' for both Canadian and world history. Two very different decades would follow. "The Roaring Twenties" were marked by unprecedented but unequally distributed prosperity. "The Dirty Thirties" witnessed untold suffering and hardship as the Great Depression left millions unemployed, destitute, and hungry. Then on September 1, 1939, the other 'bookend' would appeared, with the Nazi blitzkrieg of Poland, and the outbreak of World War Two. However, even before the decade of the twenties began, three significant events happened in Canada. The first was the outbreak of a worldwide pandemic, the Spanish Flu, which killed almost as many Canadians as had died in the trenches of the Western Front. The second was the only general strike ever to occur in Canadian labour history in the city of Winnipeg. The third was demobilization, as Canada, like all the fighting nations, attempted to convert from wartime to a peacetime society. The second was All three events, in some distant way interrelated, indicated the chaotic nature of Canadian society in the immediate postwar years.
Quite sensibly, the federal government established the Department of Soldiers' Re-Establishment to reintegrate returning soldiers into the mainstream of Canadian life. Despite its lofty name, the federal agency was hamstrung in its efforts. The most urgent problem was as simple as it was confounding. There were simply far too few ships to take the great numbers of soldiers back home to Canada. Not surprisingly, as the days turned into weeks and then into months, and still the Canadian soldiers remained in Britain, frustration began to build. Frustration turned into anger when they were told that many of the inadequate number of ships available had to be repaired. That was simply too much for some soldiers. On March 5, 1919, in the small British town of Kimmel, Canadian soldiers rioted. Peace was eventually restored when some Canadian soldiers from nearby Camp 20 quelled the uprising. Five rioters were killed and fifteen leaders were arrested and eventually given sentences of between one and seven years' hard labour.
Return of the Wounded Soldiers
Without a doubt, demobilization put enormous pressures on the Canadian economy, and indeed, the entire society. Prime Minister Borden, in part to maintain a strong Canadian fighting presence, had returned from the Imperial Conference and promised to maintain four Canadian divisions, or 400 000 soldiers, on the Western front. They fought with distinction, earning great...