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Escape Hatch

Newfoundland's Quest for German Industry and Immigration, 1950-70

Research | Books at Memorial

After Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, Premier J.R. Smallwood believed that industrialization would prevent a mass exodus from the economically backward province to mainland Canada in search of employment.

Escape Hatch: Newfoundland’s Quest for German Industry and Immigration, 1950-70, Dr. Gerhard Bassler’s latest book, traces Smallwood’s recruitment of each individual industry from the perspectives of both the Newfoundland government and the foreign industrialists.

In-depth account

The book examines the conditions under which each of these industries operated and the reasons for their successes and failures.

This is the first in-depth account of how and why the Newfoundland government acquired 17 so-called New Industries — 13 from Germany, one from Austria, one from Latvia, one from England, and one from Newfoundland — as well as the 1,000 or so immigrants who came to Newfoundland and Labrador in the 1950s and 1960s as a result of Smallwood’s initiative.

Escape Hatch: Newfoundland’s Quest for German Industry and Immigration, 1950-70 is published by Flanker Press.

Dr. Bassler is professor emeritus at Memorial University and a specialist in modern German history and Canadian migration history.