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HISB41H3 (45)

Lecture 4: The Troubling Twenties

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C Pennington

The Troubled Twenties, 1919-29 January-31-11 2:05 PM -period in which the country remains traumatized by WWI -emotional toll of war tolled heavily on Canadians; never experienced large volume of deaths in one war -very few Canadians did not know anyone who died in the war -desire for things to go back to normal: conservative impulse -relative full employment during the war -Canadian government did poor job of helping surviving soldiers transition back into regular life -in the USA 1920s was a era of economic growth, contrary to Canada [Troubled Twenties] -1926 is when country recovered from post-war recession -brief economic boom before the Great Depression The Spanish Influenza (1918-19): -thought to have first emerged in Spain -estimated 21 million died worldwide (~50,000 Canadians died) Department of Health created in 1919 -spread by soldiers [tended to be kept in close quarters for long periods of time] -caused overreaction by immune system -young strong healthy people most severely affected by the flu -old people generally faired better -many soldiers who had managed WWI came home only to be killed by influenza -alerted Canadians that there was no national strategy to cope with outbreak Winnipeg General Strike, May-June 1919 -when done well, an organized strike can effectively shut down particular sector of city -labour prospered during the war; wages rose substantially -considerable government suspicion of unions; seemed unpatriotic -many Eastern Europeans who had come to Canada and who were active in the union -beginning of May building and welding workers of the city went out on strike against their employers -primary concern being right of collective bargaining -employers were not willing to grant collective bargaining -May 15, 1919 after a vote a general strike was called -expected that most of the union workers would go out on strike -approximately 25,000 people went on strike in support of the building and welding unions -whole city effectively shut down
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