Nature’s Past Episode 52: Hydro-Power and War

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Episode 52: Hydro-Power and War [51:26]

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What fuels war? The total war of the Second World War placed enormous demands on the resources and environment of Canada. Manufacturing equipment for the war and harvesting natural resources for production were some of the most substantial contributions Canadians made to the war effort on the home front. And most of the electricity that powered that effort came from falling water. As Matthew Evenden writes in his new book Allied Power: Mobilizing Hydro-Electricity During Canada’s Second World War, “Canada’s war economy was mobilized on the banks of rivers as well as people.”

During the course of the Second World War, the federal government, provinces, and private corporations coordinated in the expansion of Canada’s hydro-electric capacity. By the end of the war, Canada was a hydro-electricity superpower.

On this episode of the podcast Matthew Evenden discusses his new book on the role of energy and environment in Canada’s Second World War.

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Matthew Evenden

Works Cited:

Music Credits:


Kheraj, Sean. “Episode 52: Hydro-Power and War” Nature’s Past: Canadian Environmental History Podcast. 22 March 2016.


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Sean Kheraj is the director of the Network in Canadian History and Environment. He's an associate professor in the Department of History and associate dean of programs in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University. His research and teaching focuses on environmental and Canadian history. He is also the host and producer of Nature's Past, NiCHE's audio podcast series and he blogs at

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