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  Home>> History>> Depression and War: 1930-1945

Depression and War: 1930-1945

Unemployed demonstrationIn 1929, the New York Stock exchange crashed, setting off a number of key events around the world which brought a sweeping downturn in the world economy.

Alberta suffered from the effects of the Great Depression with increased unemployment and few opportunities. Albertans responded by electing the first Social Credit government in the world. The new provincial government unsuccessfully attempted to regulate banks and financial institutions.

The Depression passed as the Second World War arrived. Many Alberta men and women enlisted. Alberta saw a massive increase in economic activity as air training schools were built across the province as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, a national effort that trained aircrew for the Allies. New roads, hangars, airstrips, and buildings had to be rapidly built.

Pilot TrainingThe Northwest Staging Route was a series of airfields built by the Americans that stretched from Edmonton to Fairbanks, Alaska, and brought tremendous economic activity. Its purpose was to provide landing sites for the large numbers of aircraft being sent to Russia for the lend-lease program, which provided the Russians with the aircraft they needed for the war effort.

The United States built the Alaska highway along the same route as the Northwest Staging Route so that American troops would have a land corridor to Alaska if there was an invasion from the Japanese.

During the Second World War Albertans had seen their fortunes change from the bleak years of the Depression to the rapid development and growth initiated by the war effort. There was a feeling of optimism and expectation at the end of the Second World War.


Attention, soldier! Your orders are to make your way to www.AlbertaSource.ca and look up the Wings Over Alberta website! There you will find lots more information about the British Commonwealth Air Training Program in Alberta! On the double, now!

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