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If Day was a simulated Nazi invasion of the city of Winnipegmarker, Manitobamarker and surrounding areas in February 19, 1942, during the Second World War. It was conceived and organized by the Greater Winnipeg Victory Loan organization, which was led by prominent Winnipeg businessman J. D. Perrin as Chairman.

The Purpose of If Day

If Day was an elaborate loan drive to promote the purchase of Victory bonds. It was believed that bringing the war (or, rather, a simulation thereof) to people's homes would result in a change of attitude in people living in North America who were not being directly affected by the war. The If Day event not only resulted in Victory Bond sales well over Greater Winnipeg's goal, but brought Winnipeg's innovative efforts to the attention of people throughout North America. Life Magazine ran a pictorial spread of the If Day activities in Winnipeg and in smaller centres across Manitoba.

The Events of If Day

Among the events staged were:

  • simulated firefights between Allied and Nazi soldiers within the city as it was "captured".
  • arrest and imprisonment of the mayor, lieutenant-governor, alderman, and a visiting Norwegian minister.
  • lowering of the Union Jack flying over Lower Fort Garrymarker (which became an internment camp) and the raising of the swastika in its stead.
  • posting of proclamations and commands throughout the city announcing Nazi supremacy and new civil rules.
  • a public book burning in front of the Main library (the books burned were old and already planned to be destroyed).
  • German Reichsmarks being given out as change to customers.
  • boarding up of churches, arresting of clergymen, and disbanding of religious organizations.
  • armed troop patrols throughout the city, and a Nazi tank column proceeding down Portage Avenue.
  • a supplement in the city's newspaper which included censored articles and "Nazi equivalent" columns.
  • renaming of the city to "Himmlerstadt".

Smaller towns surrounding Winnipeg experienced similar staged events to a lesser degree.

The Effects of If Day

The event had its intended result: within a week of the event, the city had surpassed its war bond sales quota. The entire province's quota was met less than two weeks after the events of If Day. Many newspapers throughout the continent reported on the day-long event.

In 2006, a television documentary of the events was created by Aaron Floresco.

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