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Homefront Propaganda

Wartime Propaganda dealt with a variety of issues including: How Canadians heard about the war; How Canadians supported the war; how military campaigns were explained; how hardships were justified; how children were influenced?

The photo essays seen throughout this entire website derive much of their material from Second World War Canadian Government publications, 1939 to 1946. These documents were distributed nationwide, influencing and persuading Canadians to view the Second World War from the same perspective as the Federal Government. Wartime propaganda was instrumental in harbouring national support and raising finds to finance the war effort. Through the use of posters and imagery, viewers will get a sense of how the Canadian government used propaganda as a useful wartime tool.

Propaganda is the art of influencing and persuading others. During the Second World War, propaganda was an effective medium for conveying the government’s sentiments. For instance, if morale on the Homefront began to subside, the same sort of attitudes could be reflected on the battlefields culminating in defeat and loss of lives. Propaganda involves several components – a sender, a message, a purpose, a receiver, a medium and an effect. In wartime the sender is the Government with a purpose (an official policy) that will influence the Homefront public (the receiver) to accept the policy and to act on it as required (the effect). The medium for delivering the message includes posters, cartoons, leaflets, advertising, cinema, radio, news media and Government publications.

The Canadian Government relied on many publications for the general public. Many different ones have been referenced in preparing the Photo Essays. Here is a listing of some of the main publications used, complete with excerpts, which will help place the Photo Essays within its proper historical context.

CANADA AT WAR

“CANADA AT WAR is a factual monthly reference booklet of basic information on Canadian war activities. The material contained in it may be reproduced in whole or part, with or without credit to the Wartime Information Board.”

A Citizen’s Forum “Of Things to Come”

This pamphlet is provided for your use by the Canadian Association for Adult Education through the Canadian Legion Educational Services. Reading it with a group of your friends is recommended. In any case pass it on to some service man or woman interested in the subject.”

CANADIAN SCHOOLS AT WAR

(Published by National War Finance Committee)

Dear school teachers of Canada:

No one could possibly be more aware than you are of the aspirations, the dreams and hopes of the children and young people to whom you are devoting your lives. All of them do not fully realize that they can, in a large measure, play an important role in making Canada a land they will be happy to share when, like you, they will have taken their places in Canadian life.

Canadian youth can start acquiring NOW their rightful share in the land of their birth threatened by the storm of war. They can do much to bring about Victory for our Armed Forces –peace and security for themselves after Victory is won. Yours is the sacred trust to show the way—explaining the meaning of War Savings Certificates and Stamps and what they mean to our Armed Forces, to our Nation, and especially to themselves. No one is better equipped than you are to do this.

You will find this little booklet very helpful in your patriotic work. I commend it to you, confident that its many suggestions will stimulate your initiative. I know that in later years your pupils will always remember your practical foresightedness in guiding them through these difficult times. Continue the good work you have been doing so well!

Faithfully yours,
Minister of Finance

ACHIEVEMENT

(Published by General Motors of Canada Limited, September 1943)

“This booklet is sent to you with our compliments, in the belief that it will give interesting and useful information covering one phase of the war’s progress on the home front. It is our wish to chronicle, in brief and readable form, the story of our part in the mighty achievement of Canadian industry and, to that end, many well-known writers have contributed material. As you go through the booklet, we hope you will enjoy each succeeding page and that the whole will give you a better knowledge of industry’s unceasing war effort.”

WAR, CURRENT AFFAIRS AND CANADIAN AFFAIRS

War and Current Affairs were published throughout the war for the Canadian Armed Forces by the Army Bureau of Current Affairs; Canadian Affairs was published by the Wartime Information Board for the Canadian Armed Forces and the Homefront.

SPEECHES, RADIO BROADCASTS, MAGAZINE ARTICLES AND NEWSPAPER STORIES

The Federal Government produced pamphlets and leaflets to reaffirm Canadian commitment to the war effort. Other organizations and inviduals produced similar material instilling various messages of propaganda in the minds of many Canadians. here are some examples:

  • What is Canada’s Responsibility?
    Published by the Canadian Association For Adult Education to accompany the C.B.C. broadcast of the same date (Feb. 13, 1945).
  • I lived Through An Inflation by Hans Habe.
    This article is reprinted from the December American Mercury, by special permission. Issued by the Wartime Prices and Trade Board Ottawa, Canada (January 1942).
  • With Canada’s Fighting Men by G.H. Sallans.
    Mr. Sallans, representing the Vancouver Sun, wrote a series of articles describing his impressions of the men he saw at camps, barracks, schools and airports. These articles are reproduced in this pamphlet by the Director of Public Information, Ottawa (October 1941).
  • The Extent of Canada’s War Effort.
    Speech by Honourable J.L. Ralston, Minister of Defence. Delivered in the House of Commons February 10, 1942. Ottawa, Edmonton Cloutier, Printer to the King’s Most Excellent Majesty.
  • Talking Points.
    Produced by the Ministry of Information, London. Printed and Distributed by Empire Information, 330 Bay St, Toronto. ( Oct. 20, 1942).
  • The Home Front.
    This leaflet is a condensed version of a booklet entitled “Canada at War”.

Those who wish to receive these publications should write to the Director or Public Information, Ottawa, Canada.


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