Skip navigation links (access key: Z)Library and Archives Canada - Bibliothèque et Archives Canada Canada
Home > War and Military > From Colony to Country Franšais

Archived Content

This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.

IntroductionAbout This SiteCommentsImage Gallery
Banner: From Colony to Country: A Reader's Guide to Canadian Military History

Canadian Military History: An Overview
War of 1812
Rebellions of 1837 and 1838
Northwest Campaign
South African War
First World War
Second World War

General References

Government and the Military

Troops and Traditions

Personal Stories

Aboriginal Peoples

Multicultural Communities


Art, Music and Literature


Web Research
Second World War
Government and the Military


The authors have included the English edition of works if they are available in both French and English. Items marked with an asterisk (*) are known to be available in French. Most titles included in this guide are held by Library and Archives Canada, and many are available for interlibrary loan, both within Canada and abroad.

Political Direction of the War

Liberal Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King dominated the politics of Canada's Second World War. His aim throughout was national unity -- a war effort that would satisfy both English and French Canada. Ever mindful that conscription for overseas service could have a negative impact on unity, he avoided conscription for as long as possible. Conscription was a measure that might please a pro-British element within English Canada, but would risk the alienation of Quebec. His efforts are best seen through his own diary, which was edited by his former aide J.W. Pickersgill. See also the works in this section on "Manpower and Conscription", for literature on the greatest recurring Canadian political problem of the war and on "Civilian and Military Leadership", for the important biographies and memoirs of politicians and bureaucrats of the wartime years.

Granatstein, J.L. -- Canada's war : the politics of the Mackenzie King government, 1939-1945. -- Toronto : Oxford Univ. Press, 1975. -- 436 p.

_____. -- The politics of survival : the Conservative Party of Canada, 1939-1945. -- Toronto : Univ. of Toronto Press, 1967. -- 231 p.

The Mackenzie King record. -- Edited by J.W. Pickersgill and D.F. Forster. -- Toronto : Univ. of Toronto Press, 1960-70. -- Vols. 1-3

Masschaele, Brian. -- "Memos and minutes : Arnold Heeney, the Cabinet War Committee, and the establishment of a Canadian Cabinet secretariat during the Second World War". -- Archivaria. -- No. 46 (Fall 1998). -- P. 147-174

McNaught, Kenneth. -- "J.S. Woodsworth and War". -- Challenge to Mars : essays on pacifism from 1918 to 1945. -- Edited by Peter Brock and Thomas Socknat -- Toronto : Univ. of Toronto Press, 1999. -- P. 186-198

  • The pacifism of the only Canadian M.P. to vote against the declaration of war with Germany in 1939

Nolan, Brian. -- King's war : Mackenzie King and the politics of war, 1939-1945. -- Toronto : Random House, 1988. -- 188 p.

  Previous Next