The Patriotic Consensus

Unity, Morale, and the Second World War in Winnipeg

Jody Perrun (Author)


When the Second World War broke out, Winnipeg was Canada’s fourth-largest city, home to strong class and ethnic divisions, and marked by a vibrant tradition of political protest. Citizens demonstrated their support for the war effort through their wide commitment to initiatives such as Victory Loan campaigns or calls for voluntary community service. But given Winnipeg’s diversity, was the Second World War a unifying event for Winnipeg residents? In The Patriotic Consensus, Jody Perrun explores the wartime experience of ordinary Winnipeggers through their responses to recruiting, the treatment of minorities, and the adjustments made necessary by family separation.


“An important contribution to the emerging social history of the Canadian home front. _The Patriotic Consensus_ adds much needed depth to the unavoidable two-dimensionality of national studies, and stands as an important reminder that millions of Canadians perceived the great events of the Second World War through the prism of the local level.”

Graham Broad, King's University College at Western University

“The Patriotic Consensus is a work of local history filtered through the larger geopolitical events of the Second World War. The result is a fascinating look at Winnipeg’s response to national wartime policies.”

Douglas J. Johnston, Winnipeg Free Press

“An original and important scholarly contribution to the literature on Canada’s history during the Second World War.”

Allan Levine, Canada’s History

"Provides a refreshing look at how Western Canada participated in the war effort. Given that Western Canada is often overlooked in histories of the Second World War, in favour of industrial Ontario or dissenting Quebec, it is a valuable addition to the national story of how Canadians experienced the war at home.”

Allison Marie Ward, Histoire sociale/Social history

“Winnipeg during wartime comes alive in his masterful narrative that reminds readers that the domestic experience of the Second World War in Canada was not unitary, but was built upon and drew together the fragmented voices of many.”

Sarah Hogenbirk, Urban History Review/Revue d’histoire urbaine

“The Patriotic Consensus skillfully executed study that provides an important contribution to the growing number of works demonstrating the diversity and complexity of Canada’s war experience.”

Jeff Keshen, Labour/Le Travail

“An excellent study on the influences and responses to total war at the local level in Canada through the medium of Winnipeg. By focusing on a microcosm of the nation-state, the diverse voices of the community speak through the pages and the war becomes more real.”

Timothy C. Winegard, Great Plains Quarterly

“A a careful, nuanced, and effective contribution to the evolving scholarship on the history of the wartime home front in Canada.”

Andrew Nurse,


Manitoba Day Award, Association for Manitoba Archives (2015)

About the Author

Jody Perrun teaches history at the University of Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba, and the Royal Military College of Canada, specializing in the Second World War, post-Confederation Canada, and the Holocaust.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: The Limited Consensus

Chapter 2: Us and Them

Chapter 3: Investing in Victory

Chapter 4: The Spirit of Service

Chapter 5: The Family’s Material Welfare

Chapter 6: Responses to Family Separation


University of Manitoba Press is grateful for the support it receives for its publishing program from the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund; the Canada Council for the Arts; the Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage, and Tourism; the Manitoba Arts Council; and the Aid to Scholarly Publishing Programme.