Nazis Take Winnipeg

Written by Dave Baxter

Posted May 15, 2020

With soldiers’ hands held high in the Nazi salute, what appears to be an invading German force rolls through the streets of downtown Winnipeg on February 19, 1942. 

The military-style parade — which actually involved local volunteers dressed as Nazis — was held on If Day, a one-day simulated invasion and occupation of the Manitoba capital. 

If Day was a fundraiser for Canada’s Second World War efforts. Its organizers believed that the fear created by the mock invasion would help to increase wartime donations. 

The event also included a staged firefight, the mock arrest of prominent politicians, and a German takeover of a local newspaper. 

The scare tactics seem to have worked — If Day inspired donations of around $3 million for the war effort.

This article originally appeared in June-July issue of Canada’s History.

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