Join Tim Cook for a lecture about his new book, The Fight for History: 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering and Remaking Canada’s Second World War, a masterful account of the way the Second World War has been remembered, forgotten, and remade by Canadians since its end 75 years ago. Click HERE to register.
The Fight for History: 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering and Remaking Canada’s Second World War
The Second World War shaped modern Canada. It led to the country's emergence as a middle power on the world stage; the rise of the welfare state, industrialization, urbanization, and population growth. After the war, Canada increasingly turned toward the United States in matters of trade, security, and popular culture, which then sparked a desire to strengthen Canadian nationalism from the threat of American hegemony.
The Fight for History examines how Canadians framed and reframed the war experience over time. Just as the importance of the battle of Vimy Ridge to Canadians rose, fell, and rose again over a 100-year period, the meaning of Canada's Second World War followed a similar pattern. But the Second World War's relevance to Canada led to conflict between veterans and others in society--more so than in the previous war--as well as a more rapid diminishment of its significance.
By the end of the 20th century, Canada's war effort was depicted as a series of disasters. Whether it was the defeats at Hong Kong and Dieppe or the racially driven policy of the forced relocation of Japanese-Canadians, many historians and much of the media seemed to dwell on failure. There was little discussion of Canada’s crucial role in the Battle of the Atlantic, the air war against Germany, or the success of its armies in Italy. No other Allied nation so bizarrely remade its victories into defeats.
The Fight for History superbly draws a balanced portrait of Canada’s part in the global conflict. It is the story of how Canada remembered the war, how we tried to bury it and how its importance was restored.