Jun 2, 2014
Hey, did you know that the Nazis occupied the bustling Canadian metropolis of Winnipeg? It’s true, and as a result, over $60 million was raised for the war. How did they manage all this? Well hold on a minute and I’ll tell you about it.
In early 1942, the Winnipeg Victory Loan Committee needed to sell more Victory Bonds to help fund the war effort. The idea they hit upon? If Day. What if the Germans invaded Canada? What would Canada look like if the Allies lost the war? The WVLC hoped the answer would entice Canadians to buy more war bonds.
On the 18th of February, Royal Canadian Air Force planes made to look like Luftwaffe fighters flew over Winnipeg staging a mock bombing raid on the city. The next day, the Battle for Winnipeg was fought.
The first Nazi patrols probing the city began at half-past five in the morning with Nazi armoured vehicles traveling down Portage. By six, the Wehrmacht – really volunteers from local civic groups wearing rented Nazi uniforms – could be seen outside the city. Canadian troops – veterans from before the war – moved into defensive positions just outside the city. Artillery opened up at seven and the battle began.
Within the first 45 minutes, the Canadians were forced to retreat, blowing up bridges as they fell back. Twice more the Canadians were pushed back by the Germans. Winnipeg was forced to surrender unconditionally at 9.30. Manitoba would now be incorporated into the Reich.
Winnipeg was now renamed ‘Himmlerstadt’ and the city government was replaced with Nazis. ‘Erich von Neuremberg’ became the new Gauleiter and he began arresting government officials. Mayor John Queem, Premier Bracken, Lieutenant-Governor McWilliams, and even the Norwegian ambassador to the United States were arrested and interned in a makeshift POW camp. The Union Jack was taken down and replaced with the Swastika. Gauleiter von Nurenmberg posted the following decrees:
1.) This territory is now a part of the Greater Reich and under the jurisdiction of Col. Erich Von Neuremburg, Gauleiter of the Fuehrer.
2.) No civilians will be permitted on the streets between 9:30 pm and daybreak.
3.) All public places are out of bounds to civilians, and not more than 8 persons can gather at one time in any place.
4.) Every householder must provide billeting for 5 soldiers.
5.) All organizations of a military, semi-military or fraternal nature are hereby disbanded and banned. Girl Guide, Boy Scout and similar youth organizations will remain in existence but under direction of the Gauleiter and Storm troops.
6.) All owners of motor cars, trucks and buses must register same at Occupation Headquarters where they will be taken over by the Army of Occupation.
7.) Each farmer must immediately report all stocks of grain and livestock and no farm produce may be sold except through the office of the Kommandant of supplies in Winnipeg. He may not keep any for his own consumption but must buy it back through the Central Authority in Winnipeg.
8.) All national emblems excluding the Swastika must be immediately destroyed.
9.) Each inhabitant will be furnished with a ration card, and food and clothing may only be purchased on presentation of this card.
10.) The following offences will result in death without trial:
1.) Attempting to organize resistance against the Army of Occupation
2.) Entering or leaving the province without permission.
3.) Failure to report all goods possessed when ordered to do so.
4.) Possession of firearms. No one will act, speak or think contrary to our decrees.
The Winnipeg Tribune renamed itself Das Winnipeger Lügenblatt for the day and published Nazi-themed articles, including a ‘Hitler-endorsed’ recipe for a cow’s udder hamburger and an approved ‘very popular Canadian joke’ which had to be read at 6.00 and laughed to exactly three times.
Reichmarks were given out at the bank and at stores. All churches and synagogues were boarded up and ethnic organizations were shut down. A pile of books about freedom and liberty were pulled out of the library and burned.
At the end of the day, the ‘occupation’ ended and the ‘prisoners’ released from their cells. A parade was held and various officials gave speeches. Over $3 million was raised in Winnipeg alone on If Day, and Manitoba as a whole raised $60 million. The even event worked so well that many other cities, including Vancouver, held their own ‘If Days’ as well.
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