Mackenzie King in Hitler’s Germany with Robert Teigrob

| January 13, 2021

Juno Beach and Beyond
Mackenzie King in Hitler's Germany with Robert Teigrob
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The road to the Second World War in Europe is well documented. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came to power in 1933 and proceeded to rearm Germany. These actions challenged the Treaty of Versailles that concluded the First World War. On March 7, 1936 German troops occupied the Rhineland, a demilitarized sector in western Germany. High tensions in Europe were the backdrop for Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s visit to Berlin in June 1937.      

Mackenzie King was looking to prevent a war. He knew that Canada would have to support Britain in another European conflict and wanted to avoid the divisions (especially between English and French Canada) that characterized the country’s response to the First World War. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were looking for positive publicity and further insight into Britain and her dominions’ attitude to an increasingly aggressive Nazi foreign policy. 

Today’s guest, Robert Teigrob, joins us to explore King’s visit to Nazi Germany. We discuss King’s audiences with top Nazis, including Hermann Göring and Hitler himself. We also explore the Canadian Prime Minister’s misguided role as one of the Nazis’ greatest champions among western leaders in the 1930s.

Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (centre with cane) receiving the Nazi salute during his visit to Berlin, 30 June 1937. King and his personal secretary, Edward Pickering (also in civilian clothes), are flanked on the left by Robert Ley (holding white gloves), head of the German Labour Front and sports chief Hans von Tschammer. They are visiting the main branch of the General Electric Company during morning roll call (Library and Archives Canada / PA-119013).

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Time Stamps

3:25 A Sense of Destiny

7:51 Interwar Diplomacy

11:50 A Nazi Invitation

17:00 King’s Diary

19:04 King’s Itinerary

25:33 Crerar’s Visit

28:56 Making Headlines

32:08 Championing Nazism

35:53 The Road to War

Guest Biography

Dr. Robert Teigrob is the author of Four Days in Hitler’s Germany: Mackenzie King’s Mission to Avert a Second World War, published by the University of Toronto Press in 2019. He is a professor of history at Ryerson University and is also a member of the faculty at Freie Universität Berlin’s International Summer University Program. He specializes in research on international relations, Canadian-German relations, and war and culture.

Notes

The following links offer more information on the topics discussed in this episode:

Adolf Hitler

Neville Chamberlain

William Lyon Mackenzie King

Mackenzie King Diary Entry (June 29, 1937)

Colonel H. D. G. Crerar

The Treaty of Versailles

The League of Nations

The Statute of Westminster

Aggression and Impunity

The Rise of Fascism

Peace for Our Time

Credits

Juno Beach & Beyond is hosted and edited by Alex Fitzgerald-Black, the centre’s Digital Projects Coordinator.

Mackenzie King’s speech to British Parliament from the British Pathé YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SlEvclY5LE&t=48s

Artillery firing sounds from the CBC News: The National YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsCSQ4uWR1Y

Female veteran’s voice (Eileen Green, née Short) Courtesy of The Memory Project, Historica Canada: http://www.thememoryproject.com/stories/383:eileen-green-nee-short/

Winston Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech from Jonathan Thomas’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB5wZtV1MWM

Spitfire sound effect from Jason Kirby’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgZI4tAoMN0

Dramatic Interlude by Alexander Nakarada | https://www.serpentsoundstudios.com

Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com

Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at jbca@junobeach.org.

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