A city reborn : patriotism in Saskatoon during the Second World War
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In the last decade historians have focused greater attention on the Canadian home front during the Second World War. This increased scrutiny has led to studies of not only the war’s impact on the nation at large, but also on specific urban communities. A weakness in all of these urban accounts, however, is that patriotism is too often taken for granted. An examination of Saskatoon between 1939 and 1945 provides a case study for how patriotism was fostered in a community thousands of kilometers away from the battlefield. Of particular interest here were the ways in which Saskatoon’s collective imagination, stifled for nearly a decade by the Great Depression, nourished the city’s patriotic zeal. Patriotism is considered from three main perspectives. The ways in which Saskatoon re-created at home the war “over there” are examined first. Instrumental to this endeavour were a deep and sympathetic interest in England’s weathering of the Nazi Blitz, a fear that the Germans might attack North America, and an idolization of the Canadian soldier, both abroad and in the city’s own midst. Secondly, Saskatoon’s vicarious experience of the Second World War in turn energized the countless patriotic initiatives in the city. Saskatonians, from women to the smallest children, were encouraged to “do their bit” to contribute to the war effort on the home front. Finally, there was also a darker side to the patriotic imagination: a disturbing xenophobia dominated Saskatoon during the war years. People of German and Japanese ancestry, as well as those on the left of the political spectrum, were suspected of being fifth columnists. Using the Star-Phoenix newspaper as a mirror of the community, this thesis provides new insight into patriotism, Saskatoon, and the Second World War.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeCottrell, Michael; Miller, J.R.; Calder, Robert L.
Copyright DateApril 2008
Second World War