The early 1930s were desperate years for Newfoundland, marked by mass unemployment and looming economic collapse.
But it was also a time of great hope for aviation, as aircraft companies raced to build planes that could fly great distances-including across the Atlantic Ocean. No country on either side of the Atlantic wanted to be left behind in the competition for prime landing sites, a situation that placed Newfoundland in the crosshairs for those seeking supremacy in transatlantic flight.
Competition for the island’s aviation rights was fierce; nations and companies engaged in deals, double-deals, and under-the radar “Gentlemen’s Agreements” in efforts to take control of aviation’s greatest prize. Newfoundland’s ruling politicians and merchants class, however, were poorly prepared and, in attempting to exercise the Dominion’s role in the greater community of nations, unintentionally initiated Newfoundland’s loss of independence.