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When World War I broke out Mennonite communities in Rhine­ land were ill equipped to deal with the disruptions which followed in its wake. Serious divisions throughout the community prevented a con­ certed defense of their privileges and values. Not only were there divisions between the Bergthaler and Reinlaender Churches, but the MEl controversy had created divisions in the Bergthaler community. There were rural-urban divisions, rivalries between towns, and when the Mennonites spoke to governments it was not as a single voice but as a number of individual groups. Even in the political realm Mennonites were almost evenly split among the Conservative and Liberal camps.

The war, however, also created a climate of opinion among English Canadians, who had little tolerance for the educational concerns of German speaking pacifists. Delegations and petitions went unheeded and the residents of Rhineland were faced with a decision to either accommodate or emigrate.


L Adolf Ens, "Mennonite Relations with Governments: Western Canada 1870-1925", (Ph.D. Thesis, University of Ottawa, 1978), page 182.

  1. Nordwesten, March 31,1909.
  2. E. K. Francis, "The Mennonite School Problem in Manitoba 1874-1919", Mennonite

Quarterly Review, 27 (1953), page 223. 4. Ibid., page 220.

  1. Quoted in Adolf Ens, op. cit., page 184.
  2. Nordwesten, April 14, 1904.
  1. John Warkentin, "The Mennonite Settlements of Southern Manitoba", (Ph. D. Thesis, University of Toronto, 1960), page 293.
  1. Nordwesten, March 12, 1903.
  2. John Warkentin, op. cit., page 293.
  1. Interview with William Toews, Plum Coulee, July 9, 1983.
  1. Annual Report of the Department of Public Works for the year 1903, Manitoba Sessional Papers #10 (1904).

12. Annual Report of the Department of Public Works for the year 1904, Manitoba Sessional Papers #16 (1905).

13. Annual Report of the Department of Public Works for the year 1907 , Manitoba Sessional Papers #18-19 (1908).

14. Barry Heinrichs, "Voting trends among Mennonites of the West Reserve", (Un­ published research paper, Canadian Mennonite Bible College, 1979); Statistical Appendix to Manitoba Statement of Votes, 1977.

15. One such meeting was reported in Der Nordwesten, Jan. 6, 1898; Interview with D. K. Friesen, Aug. 25, 1983.

  1. Nordwesten, September 11, 1902.
  2. Ibid., May-July, 1902.
  3. Ibid., October 10, 1906; August 28, 1907; May 24, 1908.
  4. Ibid., 1902-1914.
  5. Ibid., Aug. 7, 1912; Altona Echo, June 28, 1944.
  6. Nordwesten, March 13, 1902; Feb. 1, 1906.