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Sir gerald campbell and the british high commission in Wartime Ottawa, 1938-1940

Fedorowich, Kent


Kent Fedorowich
Associate Professor in British Imperial & Comnwealth History


In 1938 Sir Gerald campbell arrived in Ottawa to take up the position as the United Kingdom's high commissioner. Not much has been written about the man or his period in office (1938-41). Indeed, the sketchy and simplistic assessments of campbell, which historians on both sides of the Atlantic have relied on for more than four decades, are seriously flawed and out of date. Using the fraught negotiations of the British commonwealth Air Training Plan as a backcloth, and in the light of the rich archival material now available, the article seeks to redress and revise the hitherto poor assessment of campbell's performance as Britain's third high commissioner in canada. Far from being a weak or second-rate official who was constantly being manipulated by the wily and politically savvy dominion premier W.L. Mackenzie King, campbell proved more than equal to the challenge. However, this analysis is not simply an examination of the personal and professional relationships between campbell and Mackenzie King. An examination of campbell's career in canada provides an important insight into the ever-changing relationship between Britain and its increasingly restless dominion partners, which overlapped with a critical period of the Second World War when Britain and its empire stood virtually alone against the Axis powers. © The Author(s) 2011.


Fedorowich, K. (2011). Sir gerald campbell and the british high commission in Wartime Ottawa, 1938-1940. War in History, 18(3), 357-385.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Jul 1, 2011
Journal War in History
Print ISSN 0968-3445
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 3
Pages 357-385
Keywords Sir Gerald Campbell, British high commission, war, Ottawa
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