Ethnic elites, propaganda, recruiting and intelligence in German-Canadian Ontario, 1914-1918

Robinson, Curtis B. (2019) Ethnic elites, propaganda, recruiting and intelligence in German-Canadian Ontario, 1914-1918. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This case study provides the basis for a potential linking of the work of Marxist intelligence historians and the disciples of the insecurity state thesis. The rise of “Reasoning otherwise” as described by Ian McKay, refers to the erosion of the liberal order on the part of Canadian socialists in the early part of the twentieth century. This process was speeded up in direct response to the wartime economy which through state intervention also saw the undermining of the liberal principles of free market economics and manpower management. The rise of the insecurity state was part of the state’s move away from the foundational liberal order. Ultimately the insecurity state’s existence depended upon the growth of industrial capitalism in Canada and directly related to the evolution in reasoning otherwise. It was in the heavily populated and ethnically diverse urban centres where state fears about the growth of unions and the spread of communist revolutionary ideas, as well as other causes of civil unrest, originated. It was these areas that warranted, in the eyes of the Department of Militia and Defence, the deployment of intelligence officers, watchers, and infiltrators. In parts of Canada where industrialization had not produced the same social tensions, there was less need to develop a new level of security. Berlin, Ontario, within Military District 1, a centre of German settlement for the previous century, was not a large industrial centre and therefore, had not evolved to the same level of class or ethnic diversity and segregation. Here the insecurity state had yet to develop as a mechanism of social control in response to industrial urbanization, and the war as it had in Toronto or Military District 2 more generally. The small scale of Berlin, with community organizations, well established local leaders and emphasis on municipal power as a means of negotiating the individual and the collective, proved a sufficiently coherent basis for intelligence gathering. Here, there was no the need to take the drastic wartime measures in the name of security required in Toronto and Winnipeg and Montreal.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 13804
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 282-303).
Keywords: Berlin, Ontario, First World War, Ethnic Elite, Breithaupt, Liberal Order, Department of Militia and Defence, Military District, Kitchener
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: March 2019
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Politics and war--Ontario--Kitchener--History--20th century; World War, 1914-1918--Ontario--Kitchener; Propaganda, Anti-German--Ontario--Kitchener--History--20th century; Liberalism--Ontario--Kitchener--History--20th century

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