M965.199.1874 | Defence Mending Time
Defence Mending Time
August 28, 1940, 20th century
Ink, crayon and graphite on card
38.2 x 28.1 cm
Gift of Mr. John Collins - The Gazette
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Cartoon (19139) , Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379) , war (1452)
Keys to History
In June 1940, the British managed to evacuate most of their army from the North Sea port of Dunkirk, but were forced to abandon nearly all of their equipment in France. This left Britain in a vulnerable position. On August 15, Hitler launched an air attack on Britain. Canada now had to worry about its own defences. If Britain fell, only the United States would be able to guarantee Canada's security. Canada and the United States had to consider what would happen to the Royal Navy if Britain should be defeated, and come up with a common plan to defend North America. On August 16 King met President Roosevelt at Ogdensburg, New York. There the two leaders agreed to establish the Permanent Joint Board of Defence to plan the defence of Canada and the U.S. The Board, which had equal representation from each country, would study common defence problems and suggest solutions to the two governments. King also discussed an arrangement whereby the U.S. planned to exchange destroyers for long-term leases to British naval and air bases in the Caribbean.
The Permanent Joint Board of Defence was the first joint defence pact signed between Canada and the United States. This cartoon by John Collins plays on two different meanings of the word "board". A German soldier looks perplexed at the alliance between the U.S. and Canada, represented by their national symbols, Uncle Sam and Johnny Canuck.
President Roosevelt chose Ogdensburg, N.Y., near the Canada-U.S. border south of Ottawa, for the meeting.
The pact was signed on August 18, 1940, three days after the beginning of the decisive Battle of Britain.
With very little warning, President Roosevelt suggested the Permanent Joint Board of Defence to Prime Minister King. King quickly accepted the far-reaching proposal.