Chapter 10 IntroductionHochelaga 1500-1642Ville-Marie 1642-1665French Empire 1699-1763Small French Town 1665-1760Conquered City 1760-1800British Commercial Takeover 1800-1850Industrial City 1850-1896Canada's Metropolis 1896-1914North-American City 1914-1929Depression and War 1930-1945Modern City 1945-1960Québec's Metropolis 1960-1992ConclusionQuizEducational Resources

The Great

A destabilized

A city in trouble

The Second World

Chapter 10 / DEPRESSION AND WAR / A destabilized society  Previous pageNext page
A destabilized society  

The 1930s were characterized by poverty and insecurity. French-speaking Montrealers were affected more severely than their English-speaking counterparts, and workers were hit harder than teachers and bureaucrats.

Some found hope in religion. The Depression also brought about a revival of the nationalist movement, with economic hardship fanning ethnic tensions.

Attitudes towards Jews attested to outright intolerance in the form of covert but definite discrimination in English-speaking institutions, anti-Semitic declarations by certain French-speaking leaders and attacks on Jewish businesses. Nevertheless, this phenomenon was tempered by the fair-mindedness of part of the population and the press, and by cooperation among ethnic groups in the trade unions. Participants in public debates endeavoured to propose solutions to this interminable crisis.

Communist and Socialist voices were also heard. For the most part, leftist parties were popular among Jews and English-Canadian intellectuals, but had trouble making inroads with the French-speaking population. This was mainly due to a limited understanding of the latter’s specificity and aspirations, coupled with fierce opposition from the Catholic Church. Fascists and a Nazi-inspired movement occupied the opposite end of the political spectrum: these fringe elements attracted a lot of attention with their noisy demonstrations.

The strongest reactions to the Depression in French-speaking circles came from nationalist movements and a group from the École sociale populaire. They proferred a tradionalist view of the French-Canadian nation, but also explored innovative solutions such as nationalizing public utilities, especially electricity.

Cooperative Commonwealth
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Connie's Inn
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