CHOOSING: 1940 — 1989 Sneak Peak


While the past ten years had snailed by as they waited interminably for rains that never came, this new decade would soon clip along at a pace they could never have imagined.

It started with many men from the English Methodist township joining the prevailing crush of the unemployed who rushed to the militia armouries to enlist, although far fewer of their German Lutheran neighbours from the other side of the road allowance were ready to go to war.

Jurgen Kuss departed on the Monday afternoon train for Regina. Anyone speculating that he was about to begin an exodus from his townships would have quickly been proven wrong. Peter Lutz’s two oldest sons would eventually go in the spring of 1941, but, over the next year and a half, no other young men were ready to defy their fathers to fight amid the hostilities across the ocean.

Now that the drought was on the verge of ending, the federal government was prepared to pull the country’s defunct economy out of its protracted depression and let men return to their fields to grow wheat to feed the Allied troops. The sons were—as were their grandfathers and fathers before them—farmers, not soldiers.

Soon even the prairie air began to change, and the burgeoning optimism was more than the anticipated effects of the restoring rains. The atmosphere would long be charged with hope and expectations as those individuals with historical grasp began to realize that the world at war could bring prosperity back to Canada.

By the summer of 1940, when Britain and her dominions remained the solitary force against the combined military might of Hitler and Mussolini, C.D. Howe was one of those insightful men. As the newly appointed Minister of Munitions and Supply following Mackenzie King’s landslide federal election, he unequivocally understood that anything Canada could produce would be required to support the Allied nations. Although Howe poured his dynamism into gaining the confidence of the leading industrialists and businessmen, this was especially salient news for the Canadian farmer.

It had always been his purpose to grow and raise the produce essential for sustaining the urban populace. It was what he lived for—to till the soil, to plant the seeds, to harvest the grain, and to rear the livestock for feeding the hungry city hordes. Now with the prevailing feeling that Canada was rediscovering its youth and vigour, every farmer still owning an acre of cultivated land joined wholeheartedly in the common purpose of contributing wheat for the war.