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WW2 History: Canadian Zombies

November 29, 2012

Recall back in March, ZombieLaw told you about a World War 2 era Canadian slang term for conscipts, “Canadian Zombies = WW2 conscripted (drafted) soldiers” and “Anonymous Zombie in Canada circa 1944” — for more information about this Canadian ww2-slang, see “Zombies strike back: Canada’s largest military mutiny” in Terrace Standard by Kelsey Wiebe:

It was, as described later, an “unusual parade” that formed in Terrace on the Saturday morning of Nov. 25, 1944.

zombie parade
[picture from Heritage Park Museum]

Waving banners proclaiming “Down with conscription”, and “The zombies strike back”, the soldiers refused regular duty and were instead reacting to news the government was going to send 16,000 Home Defence soldiers to Europe at a crucial stage of the Second World War.

The conscripted Home Defence men were referred to sneeringly as “Zombies.” Borrowed from movies popular during the 1930s, the term suggested that conscripted men lacked the will of their own to volunteer for overseas duty.

and

all non-commissioned officers were stripped of their ranks. “You’re Zombies, just like us,” the protesters jeered

See other ZombieLaw Canada posts – Canada remains important for the modern zombie – consider that Paul Krugman claims he got the term zombie lies from Canada and also compare to Game of Thrones, zombies to the North – socialism metaphors? But that doesn’t really explain why this word was originally taken up in the 1940s.

Wiebe says it came from movies (surely White Zombie and thus from Haiti) but how did it come to mean drafted conscripts? Around the same time in the U.S., it was also a political slur against Sidney Hillman union block voters.

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4 Comments
  1. Good article, really good writer….bet she’s cute.

    • Austen permalink

      smart and pretty… bet her bf’s the jealous type

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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