Dr. Norman Bethune, Spanish civil war, 1937

Dr. Norman Bethune left his medical practice in Montreal in 1936 to join the Republican forces fighting the fascists under General Franco in Spain. There Dr. Bethune pioneered a portable blood transfusion unit that was used at or near the front and it saved thousands of lives. In 1937, he was asked by the Republicans... Continue Reading →

W. L. Mackenzie King and war on Germany, September 1939

After Adolph Hitler came to power in 1933, he rearmed Germany and pursued an aggressive foreign policy which saw him annex both Austria and then the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia in 1938. Initially, Canada’s Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King supported British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in his decision to sacrifice Czechoslovakia by appeasing Hitler. But... Continue Reading →

Arthur Meighen on military conscription, 1917

In 1917, there was a divisive debate in Canada over military compulsory conscription. It was led by Conservative cabinet minister Arthur Meighen, who had drafted the legislation. That bill became the centrepiece of  the bitterly contested "khaki election" which occurred in December 1917. The Conservatives won the election but divided the  country. Brilliant, opinionated, and... Continue Reading →

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