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.