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Political Science Communism & Socialism

Soldiers of the International

A History of the Communist Party of Canada, 1919-1929

by (author) William Rodney

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2019
Communism & Socialism, History & Theory, Canadian
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    Publish Date
    Apr 2019
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There has been little analysis of the forces that have contributed to the rise of radicalism in Canada, or to the organizations that subsequently resulted. The ultra-left in the Canadian political spectrum, has been almost totally overlooked. This study is the first to trace the origins and growth of the Party during the initial decade of its existence. Its history is of particular interest because it is unique among Canadian political bodies in drawing its inspiration as well as practical advice from an external source: The Communist International which subordinated the Canadian party to Moscow and to the Communist Party of the Society Union. The Communist party is the only Canadian political body which can trace its origins to an epochal event such as the Russian Revolution.

Soldiers of the International covers the origins and growth of the Canadian party in detail and shows that its programme and development paralleled those of other Communist parties throughout the world. Based upon primary sources, this fascinating account emphasizes both the importance of the first decade of the existence of the Canadian party and its failure to establish itself in these crucial years between World War I and the advent of the Depression. The author discusses this failure in view of the Party's unpreparedness and lack of support in the 1930's in conditions that ostensibly were ideally suited to its philosophy and programme. This informative account ably covers a neglected area in Canadian political history and throws new light on the facets of the political scene in Canada today.

About the author

William Rodney, author, airman, and scholar, was born in Drumheller, Alberta, on January 5, 1923. He was educated at the University of Alberta and at Cambridge University before earning a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. He was later appointed a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Royal Geographical Society. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and flew in operational tours with the RAF Bomber Command, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar.

In 1962, Rodney accepted a teaching position at Royal Roads Military College (now Royal Roads University) near Victoria, B.C., where he became active in academic life and spent the rest of his career. A lifelong writer, Rodney published several scholarly articles as well radio documentaries and popular histories. For Kootenai Brown, he received the University of British Columbia’s Medal for Popular Biography and the Award of Merit and Distinction from the American Association for State and Local History.

In retirement, Rodney travelled widely to Asia, Australia, and the Middle East and was active in community affairs, playing an instrumental role in the establishment of Gonzales Hill Regional Park. He passed away in Victoria on March 26, 2012.

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