Heil Hosers!
October 18, 2007 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Nazi aircraft came in from the north, first sighted at Norway House. Selkirk was the first to fall prey, but by no means the last. The Nazi war machine was converging on Winnipeg.

February 19, 1942: If Day, the day Manitoba fell to the Nazis.
posted by unsupervised (28 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately for Manitoba, there were bigger things going on in the world on February 19, 1942.

Still, they gave it one hell of a shot.
posted by unsupervised at 2:12 PM on October 18, 2007

that's incredible...i'd never heard.

...All of the maneuvers were planned out beforehand: the stands, the retreats, and the troop movements. There were many “warnings” in newspapers describing the events to come. There were still some people who had managed to miss the advance publicity and were caught by surprise, but this merely gave them an extra dose of realism, certainly not a disadvantage considering that was the overriding priority on If Day. ...

and the past repeats, and repeats...
posted by amberglow at 2:20 PM on October 18, 2007

The Nazis even left in a blank space entitled “Bible Message.”

what's that slogan? Kurch, Kinder, Kuch?
posted by amberglow at 2:26 PM on October 18, 2007

Holy crap! That's amazing. I never heard of anything remotely like that.

Depressingly however, the Nazis appear to have fled to Alberta, where they've been in power to this day.
posted by GuyZero at 2:27 PM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]

Couldn't have happened here. Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, and Charlie Sheen would have killed them all.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:29 PM on October 18, 2007 [5 favorites]

I like the idea of "If" Day. I bet there's also a "Depends" Afternoon.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:34 PM on October 18, 2007

Considering how many people thought it was real, I bet there more than a few folks wishing they were wearing Depends that day.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:36 PM on October 18, 2007

But the Nazis were not always cruel. They approved for use a “very popular Canadian joke”:

Q: “Who was that lady last night I saw you out with?”
A: “That lady was my wife!”
(Joke) Ha Ha Ha!

Finally I understand the Canadian sense of humor!

Great post—thanks, unsupervised.
posted by languagehat at 2:47 PM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]

I was bringing some clothes into the dressing room to try on, the lady behind the counter said, "If you need anything, I'm Jill", she was amazing, this was the only person I've ever met who has a conditional identity. [I imagined her saying] "If you don't need anything, I'm frank"...
posted by edgeways at 2:57 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

The heroic generation dared to prepare for "What if?" We children of lesser days are barely able to manage 'Whatever."
posted by Abiezer at 2:58 PM on October 18, 2007

First, they came for the Blue Bomber fans, and I said nothing, because I hate the frigging Bombers...
posted by evilcolonel at 2:59 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

huh. this must be why Manitoba had to change his name to Caribou.

damn Canado-fascists! you know who else was a Canado-fascist?
posted by joeblough at 3:04 PM on October 18, 2007

you know who else was a Canado-fascist?

Tim Horton? Gordon Lightfoot? Marie-Joseph Angélique? Lord Black of Crossharbour? (I give up.)

Anyway, wonderful post, unsupervised. I love the oddball history links, and this is a good one. (Excellent post title as well.)
posted by LeLiLo at 3:38 PM on October 18, 2007

awesome... I've never heard of this.
posted by Debaser626 at 3:39 PM on October 18, 2007

Holy cow - when I got to the end, the part where they describe the map all divided up and covered with swastikas - and the Canadians giving money to defend their country I actually had tears in my eyes.

Gah! Strange, what stirs the heart.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:31 PM on October 18, 2007

I was in grade 9 at that high school that year. I didn't have Dr. Levine -- Mrs. Morrican was way more fun anyway.
posted by CaseyB at 5:10 PM on October 18, 2007

The idea was to stage a fake Nazi invasion of Manitoba. The “Nazis” were to occupy and administer the province for the rest of the day. The key was realism. One couldn’t ignore these Nazis any more than real ones.

The Nazi war machine demonstrated their brilliant grasp of military strategy by seizing the crucial tactical ground of... Winnipeg.

But alas, before the end of the day, the Nazi forces realized their horrific miscalculation and rushed to fortify the now-empty Eastern Front. Canada's brilliant feint had come to naught.
posted by spiderwire at 6:25 PM on October 18, 2007

Imagine this scene on the streets of London.

Some 25,000 British citizens were under a relatively benign Nazi boot for nearly five years during the occupation of the Channel Islands, the only part of the British Isles invaded since 1066. [More details at Wikipedia: there's also an archive of over 1200 images.]

The Islands were too small and undermanned to offer any major resistance: if they had it might have hurt the Allies' overall war effort. The PDF book The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940-45 explains (from Chapter 3, Resistance, Repression, and Persecution):
Resistance in Europe did not spring out of a vacuum, but was actively built up by the Allies. One of the necessary conditions for such a build-up was a political or military objective. In the Channel Islands such objectives did not exist, as the islands were not an operational zone, nor were they ever seriously intended to become an operational zone. Home Of?ce of?cial Charles Markbreiter made the point clear enough in a correspondence with Brigadier French in April 1944, saying that ‘(i)n the Channel Islands […] there has never been any question of active or passive resistance to the enemy as a policy designed to help us’.

This should not come as a surprise. On the Continent, German retaliation to acts of resistance inspired by Britain – by shooting or deporting 100 people – was unlikely to ever alter British determination. In such cases public opinion in Britain could be soothed by blaming any escalation on Nazi blood thirst. The matter was entirely different if the victims were Channel Islanders. In such an event public opinion could have very easily tied the government’s hands. They could have no interest in being blackmailed over the fate of British citizens, for having stirred up resistance that was of no direct use to the war effort. Fundamentally, the best British interest was for things to remain as calm as possible in the islands.
Generally, the hardest part of the occupation — for Islanders and Germans alike — was poorer living conditions due to the breakdown of the local economy, accompanied by shortages of food, medicine, and other critical supplies.

Bypassed (and further isolated) by the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944, the strategically indefensible Islands were not liberated until May 9, 1945, one day after Germany's unconditional surrender.
posted by cenoxo at 8:58 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Rats, I meant to put together a post about this after watching this documentary, but never got around to it. Nice work!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:06 PM on October 18, 2007

I've lived in Manitoba. Trust me, the Nazis wouldn't want it. They'd show up in a -30C whiteout in the middle of March, and turn around and fly right back home.
posted by tehloki at 12:23 AM on October 19, 2007

They'd never have gotten west of the Alleghenies, anyway.
posted by pax digita at 3:22 AM on October 19, 2007

Great story thanks for posting this. Re: the Channel Islands occupation. Didn't Jack Higgins or someone like that write a novel about some SS diehards holding out on one of the islands? I have vague memories but can't seem to locate that book.
posted by marxchivist at 7:09 AM on October 19, 2007

Lächerlich! Es gibt keine Deutschen in Manitoba. Ha ha.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:54 AM on October 19, 2007

A Game for Heroes, ©1970 by Jack Higgins (with 'Fortress Guernsey' on the cover.)
posted by cenoxo at 8:32 AM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

The Fake Nazis originally intended to take over Saskatchewan, but once they got a look at the place figured the Fake Russians had already been there.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:00 AM on October 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

thanks cenoxo!
posted by marxchivist at 10:08 AM on October 19, 2007

originally intended to take over Saskatchewan, but once they got a look at the place figured the Fake Russians had already been there.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:00 AM on October 19 [2 favorites +] [!]


oh, wait
posted by evilcolonel at 7:46 PM on October 19, 2007

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