Parliamentary Vote to Join WWII

    In 1938, the British Prime Minister announced that the Munich Agreement had managed to secure peace with Adolf Hitler, allowing him to take over part of Czechoslovvakia if he promised to cease agression. However, Hitler ignored the agreement terms, and in May of 1939 proceeded to take over the rest of Czechoslovakia, and on September 1, he invaded Poland. At this show of agression, both Britain and France declared war upon Germany.

    Under the terms of the Statute of Westminster, Canada was not obliged to go to war when Great Britian did. Prime Minister Mackenzie King did not want to become involved in the war, but he also knew that because Britain was involved, Canadians would not simply stand idly by. King decided that Parliament should vote on the issue. On September 8, Prime Minister King called a special sitting of Parliament to decide the country's stand on the issue. Every party leader except J.S. Woodsworth, leader of the CCF, agreed with King to join the war effort. The decision was made: Canada would go to war.

    The decision to take part in the war was one of the first decisions made by Canada as a Dominion independent from Britain. Canada had fully embraced its autonomy while still maintaining its social ties to Britain.