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1940: The University At War

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The overwhelming influence on University life in 1940 was the declaration of war the previous year.  As time progressed the role of universities across the country became clearer.  During the Great War our contribution had largely been one of recruits, but this was a different war and the role of universities in the war effort was to prove to be a key component in the eventual outcome.  Instead of draining the campuses of young men, the Government of Canada was encouraging  students taking courses in “sciences, engineering, medicine or agriculture to remain at the Universities until they had completed their academic preparation.”

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Men of education and skill were in high demand but so were men with military training.  It was determined that those attending classes were also to be prepared for military service ahead.  A major change in academic life was the institution of compulsory training for all male students who were physically fit.  Training was conducted through the Canadian Officer’s Training Corp (COTC) with command and administrative functions carried out by members of faculty and staff, many of  whom were veterans. The University of Saskatchewan was thus able keep the training  “a genuine university activity.”1

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Related Collections

Canadian Officers Training Corps fonds, MG 118.


1940a: Memorabilia. COTC fonds, MG 118, file 15.
1940b: The Greystone, 1940.
1940c: President’s Office fonds, RG 2001, Series II, B. 104.
1940d: Campus, [ca. 1940].  Photograph Collection, A-3575. 


1. Annual Report, 1939-1940.

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