October 18th 2012
Being able to study many primary sources, such as Mackenzie King’s diary entries is a fantastic way to learn more about society several years ago. Getting a first hand glance of events that occurred allow us to compare our lives and locate the differences. Remembrance Day is an important day each and every year. It is a time where many gather to remember the ones who fought and died for our country. The diary entry of November 11th 1931 explains how society then remembered the soldiers as well as how the prime ministers day went about. The diary entry also explains the fact that Japan is seeking war on China. King gives his opinion on the events that occur throughout the day, as well as on the war about to break lose. The diary entry of Mackenzie King Canada’s the longest running Prime Minister King, on November 11th 1931, was an interesting way to study how many citizens remembered the dead on Remembrance Day 81 years ago.
Wednesday November 11th 1931 Mackenzie King is meeting with his fellow friend Rogers going over his speech on the opposition and unemployment in the country. More importantly, that day marked the ending of WWI where many Canadian soldiers died and fought in battle. Mackenzie King illustrates that the day is beautiful as he heads up to parliament hill to have a moment of silence to remember. This entry tells us a lot about Mackenzie Kings personality. He cares about his country and the ones who died for it. He notes “the two minute silence very much so in the presence of so great a throng”.1 By this quote, King seems blessed to be in such a great country that takes the time to remember something so important. Moreover, this quote also tells us about society at this time period. Many gather to remember who fought for them; many remembering their loved ones. The crowd as King describes it, is large showing that a whole city, town and country are there to recall the horrifying months that men had to go through. Mackenzie King also gives his view on war in general in this diary entry when he discusses Japan prosecuting war on China. He states “Heaven alone knows what may come of it all”.2 This can be taken in a few different ways. King sees war as a corrupt event, and does not agree with the decision Japan is making, at such a hard time. He see’s Japan becoming a terror to mankind, because she is breaking the League of Nations. King’s opinion is considering not just Canada but other countries around the world as well.
There are many benefits to being able to study a document of this type. We get a sense of life back in the 1900’s, as well as a first hand example of how a prime ministers every day life was. The diary holds a lot of information that is useful to study today. For example, how society remembers on Remembrance Day. Today, we can relate to the time period and reflect on what has changed since. Although, not much has change in terms of Remembrance Day, we still gather to have a moment of silence. What has changed is the the opportunity we have to see the reaction of the public all over the world due to technology; this was not available 81 years ago. We are able to discover how different cultures remember in many different ways.