Sunday April 22, 2012
For the sake of national unity, Prime Minister of Canada Mackenzie King of 1935- 1948 did not want to repeat mistakes that had occurred in the past (Quinlan, 50). As World War 1 unfolded Mackenzie King was forced to change his views on conscription (Quinlan, 50). Canada’s military had let in new troops and prepared them for war, during this time they believed conscription would not be necessary (Nelson, 42). The first military conscription divided the country (The diary of William Lyon Mackenzie King). On September 3rd, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany following the invasion of Poland by German troops. Mackenzie King held a special seating of Parliament with a vote directly following the debate in the House of Commons; a referendum was the elite alternative to his dilemma. “Are you in favour of releasing the government from any obligations raising men for military service?” this was what Mackenzie King had come up with. After the vote, 82.3 percent of voters, voted yes in Ontario, In British Columbia 79.49 percent vote yes. In Quebec 72.4 voters said “Non” (Quinlan, 50). This was when Mackenzie King found himself in the same position as Borden during the World War 1. Mackenzie was forced to decide between French and English voters. Firstly, for the first time being, Mackenzie King did not enforce conscription, “Not necessarily conscription, but conscription if necessary.” (Quinlan, 51). Furthermore, Mackenzie King had just made his first general tough decision that did not initialize conscription just yet but had to send men to war under the NRMA draft. Lastly, there was an election and Mackenzie made promises that he could not keep. This tells us a lot about Mackenzie and his contribution to the war. By 1943 Canadians were forced to fight the desperate battles in Italy, they pushed into France and casualties were high. After the evacuation in Dunkirk France surrendered to Nazi...