W. L. Mackenzie King Declares War

King makes his declaration of war speechspacer Below is an extract from a speech given by Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in the House of Commons, in September, 1939.

For months, indeed for years, the shadow of impending conflict in Europe has been ever present. Through these troubled years, no stone has been left unturned, no road unexplored in the patient search for peace. Unhappily for the world, Herr Hitler and the nazi regime in Germany have persisted in their attempt to extend their control over other peoples and countries, and to pursue their aggressive designs in wanton disregard of all treaty obligations, and peaceful methods of adjusting international disputes. They have had to resort increasingly to agencies of deception, terrorism and violence. It is this reliance upon force, this lust for conquest, this determination to dominate throughout the world, which is the real cause of the war that to-day threatens the freedom of mankind.

...This morning, the king, speaking to his peoples at home and across the seas, appealed to all, to make their own, the cause of freedom, which Britain again has taken up. Canada has already answered that call. On Friday last, the government, speaking on behalf of the Canadian people, announced that in the event of the United Kingdom becoming engaged in war in the effort to resist aggression, they would, as soon as parliament meets, seek its authority for effective cooperation by Canada at the side of Britain.

...In what manner and to what extent Canada may most effectively be able to co-operate in the common cause is as I have stated, something which parliament itself will decide. All I need to add at the moment is that Canada, as a free nation of the British Commonwealth, is bringing her cooperation voluntarily. Our effort will be voluntary.

The people of Canada will, I know, face the days of stress and strain which lie ahead with calm and resolute courage. There is no home in Canada, no family, and no individual whose fortunes and freedom are not bound up in the present struggle. I appeal to my fellow Canadians to unite in a national effort to save from destruction all that makes life itself worth living, and to preserve for future generations those liberties and institutions which others have bequeathed to us.

--William Lyon Mackenzie King,
Prime Minister of Canada, September, 1939.

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