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Abstract

Between the end of the Second World War and the mid-1960s, the Canadian federal government made several attempts to commemorate and memorialise those who died during the war. Despite strong government support and advocacy from the Royal Canadian Legion, the Canadian population did not believe that building a new memorial was a wise expenditure of taxpayer money. This article uses newspaper records, The Legionary and government documents to examine how successive federal governments tried and failed to commemorate and memorialise the Second World War with a national war memorial. This article also problematises the current understanding of how the Second World has been remembered in Canada. The current historiographical understanding of Canadian Second World War memory suggests that the country has done a poor job commemorating the dead of that war. However, the lack of traditional memorials and monuments does not necessarily indicate that the Second World War has gone unremembered, but that conceptualisations of memory need to be expanded to take stock of the commemorative landscape.

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