Mackenzie King Record Volume 2, 1944/45 (e-bok)
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University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Mackenzie King Record Volume 2, 1944/45 (e-bok)

Mackenzie King Record Volume 2, 1944/45 (e-bok)

E-bok (PDF - DRM), Engelska, 1968-12-15
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Volume I of the Mackenzie King Record carried the story of Mackenzie King as wartime Prime Minister of Canada down to mid-1944, a time which might be regarded as almost the peak of his career. When Volume II begins he has just returned from important London meetings of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers during which he had addressed the combined Houses of Parliament at Westminster. It seemed that the great problems of the war had now been met, and the chief preoccupations of his government while the invasion of the Continent was first awaited and then watched were with preparations for the post-war period and the extent of Canada's participation in the war against Japan. Victory late in 1944 or early in 1945 seemed certain. Within six months of his return from London, however, the task of maintaining Canada's contribution to the war effort in Europe had created the gravest political crisis of the war and raised an issue of profound significance for Canadian unity then and in years to come. The crisis was the unexpected request for provision of reinforcements for the invading Canadian army, and the ensuing debate about whether men for general service could be found in sufficient numbers by the volunteer system or whether a measure of conscription would have to be introduced. A drama then unfolded which can be observed with fascination in these pages as the cabinet discuss the issues, Colonel Ralston is replaced as Minister of National Defence by General McNaughton, the appeal for volunteers is not a success, and Mackenzie King finally makes his startling decision to pass the order-in-council which drafted 16,000 men for general service. The story is given in great detail as recorded in the Prime Minister's diary, and it gives an amazing insight into the workings of a cabinet and a government attempting to deal with a momentous issue and to resolve clashes of opinion of great significance for the stability of the country. The volume also contains a full account of such events as the Grey North by-election and the general election of 1945, and includes both the ominous arrival of atomic power and the hopes for peace represented in the San Francisco Conference. The authors have let the diary tell the story in greatest part, and have provided connecting passages for any necessary background. This volume, like volume I, has had the benefit of Mr. Pickersgill's special knowledge of the events gained in his service at this time in the Prime Minister's office. The volume will be of the highest interest for both amateur and specialist students of Canadian government and history. The Record, to be completed in one more volume taking the story to Mackenzie King's retirement, is to be distinguished from the official biography begun by R. MacGregor Dawson and being completed (up to the outbreak of the Second World War) by Blair Neatby. Its special importance lies in the fact that it makes accessible large uninterrupted sections of a diary whose copiousness, accuracy, and human interest make it a document unique in Canadian history.
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