Canadian Primary Sources in the Classroom  
About UsHistorical MethodTeaching IdeasThemesQuestionsPublicationsContact UsFrançais
Interwar Foreign Policy
Politique étrangère de l'entre-deux-guerres

© The Begbie Contest Society - La Société du Concours Begbie
Multiple Perspectives - perspectives multiple

The material on this website is intended for educational use only and may not be reproduced for commercial purposes without express permission from the appropriate copyright holder.
Le contenu de ce site Web est destiné à des fins pédagogiques seulement et ne peut être reproduit à des fins commerciales à moins d'en avoir obtenu la permission du titulaire du droit d'auteur approprié.

The Gap in the Bridge, Punch Magazine, London, Leonard Raven-Hill, 10 December 1919, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons



"Fifty thousand Canadian soldiers under the sod in Europe is the price Canada has paid for the European statesmanship which drenched the continent in blood."
                                                              Newton W. Rowell, 8 December 1920




"May I be permitted to add that in this Association of Mutual Insurance against fire, the risks assumed by the different States are not equal? We live in a fire-proof house, far from inflammable materials. A vast ocean separates us from Europe."
                                                          Raoul Dandurand, speech, 2 October 1924

The Messenger of Peace, Richmond, Indiana, January 1925




The Nation, USA, 5 April 1933


"No interest in Ethiopia, of any nature whatever, is worth the life a single Canadian citizen. No consideration could justify participation in such a war."     
                                                                     Ernest Lapointe, 1935




"We do not believe that isolation from interest in world affairs is possible for Canada. No happening of any magnitude abroad [Italio-Ethiopian conflict] is without its repercussions on our fortunes and our future."
                                                               W. L. Mackenzie King, 18 June 1936















"Opposition to participation in war, any war, is growing. It is not believed that Canada itself is in any danger. It is felt that the burdens left by our participation in the last war are largely responsible for present financial difficulties. There is outspoken rejection of the theory that whenever and wherever conflict arises in Europe, Canada can be expected to send armed forces overseas to help solve the quarrels of continental countries about which Canadians know little and which, they feel, know and care less about Canada's difficulties – and particularly if a powerful country like the United States assumes no similar obligation."
                                                                                  W. L. Mackenzie King, 1937

Pamphlet regarding the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, Canadian volunteers who joined the fight against Fascism in Spain. Friends of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, Toronto, 1937.






The Sheaf, Saskatoon, 19 February 1937





Rt. Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King visiting Berlin. LAC PA-119013, [King was impressed by Adolf Hitler and supported the British Prime Minister in appeasing Germany.], June 1937

"He [Adolf Hitler] smiled very pleasantly, and indeed had a sort of appealing and affectionate look in his eyes. My sizing up of the man as I sat and talked with him was that he is really one who truly loves his fellow man and his country ... his eyes impressed me most of all. There was a liquid quality about them which indicated keen perception and profound sympathy (calm, composed) - and one could see how particularly humble folk would come to have a profound love for the man."
                                                                                        William L.M. King, 1937

William Kardash, New Era Publishers Ltd., Toronto, 1938

Norman Bethune worked supporting the Communist Party of China's (CPC) Eighth Route Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Bethune helped bring modern medicine to rural China and often treated sick villagers as much as wounded soldiers. 1938-1939

President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Rt. Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King. LAC, PA-052569,  Kingston, ON, 18 August 1938

"I give you assurance that the people of the United States will not stand idly by if domination of Canadian soil is threatened by any other Empire."
                                          Franklin D. Roosevelt, address, Kingston, 18 August 1938

The Sheaf, Saskatoon, 30 September 1938


"The idea that every twenty years this country should automatically and as a matter of course take part in a war overseas for democracy or self-determination of other small nations, that a country which has all it can do to run itself should feel called upon to save, periodically, a continent that cannot run itself, and to these ends risk the lives of its people, risk bankruptcy and political disunion, seems to many a nightmare and sheer madness."
                                                                     W. L. M. King, March 1939

His Majesty King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visiting Quebec. LAC, C-036289, Québec, Québec, 1939

King George VI delivering a radio broadcast to the Empire on Empire Day. Le roi George VI diffusant un message aux sujets de l'Empire britannique le jour de l'Empire. LAC, PA-122957 National Film Board 24 May 1939

Professor Mamlock, a film telling the story of brave men and women who battle Nazi barbarism. Russian dialogue, English subtitles. LAC, Acc. No. R738-119 Sydney Newman 1939