Author Topic: Slow Erosion of Military History  (Read 8271 times)

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Offline bscriber

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Slow Erosion of Military History
« on: December 09, 2016, 13:05:16 »
Hello,

This is the first time I've posted outside the recruiting forums, but the announcement yesterday that Mackenzie King and Borden will be taken off our $50 and $100 bills respectively makes me a little saddened that even more of military history is being erased from the public face.  I have a BA and an MA in Canadian history, and focused specifically on these two wars. 

While Borden and King were far from perfect Prime Ministers, both of them led Canada through the two world wars and in both cases, ensured that Canada emerged more independent and secure than before.  The attitude, even amongst historians that most Canadians won't miss them is probably representative of the general public's attitude.  Yet it is the fault of historians for letting our military history slide in favour of a more inclusive/social history that often portrays the military as the perpetrator of imperialism/colonialism.  Friends of mine that went on to do Ph.Ds in history have said that it is almost impossible to gain spots in Ph.D programs now if you are just doing "traditional military history".

Here is a link to an article about the feelings of historians towards the currency change:

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/historians-shrug-as-two-prime-ministers-erased-from-canadian-banknotes-1.3195713

As our Second World War and Korean War vets pass on, let us hope that at least the younger generation is willing to learn about our military history from peacekeeping and Afghan veterans.  Otherwise, I am worried that our military history might fade away all together, except for a few quick notes around Remembrance Day.
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Offline YZT580

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2016, 16:39:26 »
Consider this:  For the majority of Canadians, their knowledge of history depends entirely upon the public education system which, at least for the two provinces that I am acquainted with (B.C. & Ont.) is dominated by left-leaning teachers with a curriculum dictated by a left-leaning ministry. 

But this is not the start of a rant.  There is a way around it without throwing up your hands in frustration.  But it requires effort on your part.  Whether you are a parent or a grandparent, start teaching on your own.  Plan a family vacation to Normandy or Dunkirk or an outing to Kingston, Fort George, or one of the other very good Canadian heritage sites.  Visit one of the Regimental museums or stop by an armory and explain the reason why those funny looking weapons, vehicles etc. are sitting there.  And do it while they are young: perhaps take along the neighbour's kids as well.  (not  to Dunkirk but maybe the naval museum).  There are video options as well like "The Shattered City".  Don't complain, do!

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2016, 19:42:30 »
Thanks for respond YZT580.  I completely agree.  I have no kids of my own, but have taken my nieces and nephews on excursions to Fort Henry and Fort York, as well as the National Air Force Museum at CFB Trenton and the War Museum in Ottawa.  I also agree with you about our education system and it's left-leaning biases--some of my closest friends are teachers, and well, let's just say we agree to disagree about the curriculum and about political leanings in general! 

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2016, 09:03:48 »
Wherever I hear of friends or acquaintances who are visiting Europe (once Hong Kong), I attempted to find out if there is a Canadian war cemetery near by of where they are visiting and ask them to take a few minutes to stop by and pay their respects. Just at least stop by and sign the book. So far no one has bothered even though they where on a self guided visit. Two of my former neighbors' fathers served in RCN Corvettes during the Second War. Looked up the ship's history, researched photos plus gave them a DVD of The Cruel Sea. This was your fathers life at the time. Doubt they even looked.

Yesterday my wife's cousin brought over her Dad's memorabilia. Years ago I got a hold of his medals which were still in the little white boxes, with the ribbon unattached as issued after the war. Got them court mounted and put into a shaddow box. So I am going through memorabilia to identify, label, and indicate the significance. He was a WAG with 436 Sqn in Burma (with 435 Sqn flying C-47's). Also found this which I will translate into "civilian" with locations. Does anyone know if "Commended for Valuable Service" rated a device like a MID?

All this to state, even most direct descendant really are not interested in history.

HILTON, F/L Robert Clifford (J21061) - Commended for Valuable Services - No.436 Squadron, No.120 Wing (AFRO gives unit only as \"Overseas\") - Award effective 13 June 1946 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 726/46 dated 26 July 1946. Unit identified in DHist file 181.009 D.1124 (RG.24 Vol.20595). Born October 1918. Home in Bangor, Saskatchewan. Enlisted in Winnipeg 22 October 1941 and posted to No.1 Manning Depot. Posted elsewhere, 22 November 1941; to No.3 WS, 13 April 1942; promoted LAC, 13 June 1942; to No.8 BGS, 24 October 1942; graduated and commissioned, 23 November 1942. To Western Air Command, 25 November 1942. To No.149 Squadron, 27 November 1942. Promoted Flying Officer, 23 May 1943. To Prince Rupert, 15 March 1944. To ?Y? Depot, 23 May 1944. Taken on strength of No.3 PRC, Bournemouth, 2 June 1944. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 23 November 1944. Repatriated to Canada, 2 June 1946. Released 9 July 1946. As of 1951 he was living in Langley, British Columbia. Public Record Office Air 2/9670 has citation drafted when he had flown 1,048 hours, 690 on current duties, 220 in previous six months.

This officer is employed as a wireless operator and acting signals leader in a transport squadron. He joined his present squadron when it was formed in India in October 1944. He completed a tour of transport operations in Burma in close support of the 14th Army and, through the many trials of tropical service and monsoon flying, he set an inspiring example to the other members of his squadron by his cheerfulness and enthusiasm. Returning to the United Kingdom in September 1945, Flight Lieutenant Hilton?s squadron reformed for the occupational period and he assumed the duties of acting signals leader. He organised his section in a most efficient manner and unstintingly devoted his time in the training of new wireless operators. By working almost night and day, this officer was able to stay ahead of his training commitments and complete his normal duties as a wireless operator. Throughout his flying service, Flight Lieutenant Hilton has displayed outstanding devotion to duty and enthusiasm.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2016, 10:54:18 »
I've got a history degree as well, and it was  the most boring, as well as the most interesting, subject... depending on who the professor was.

The best emphasized the 'story' in history. Here's a good example in the BBC realm, which revealed some facts that are relevant today, and that connect us directly to our wartime past.

And I'm sure the fact the Haig ran a giant whisky company, and Lloyd George was a teetotaler, had nothing to do with their mutual hate for each other :)

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-35790275
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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2016, 11:20:07 »
I've got a history degree as well, and it was  the most boring, as well as the most interesting, subject... depending on who the professor was.
Absolutely concur.

My BA is in Politics (International Relations).  I took one History course in my final year as a filler; I had no interest in history courses because it was all "boring memorizing dates."

Turned out the Prof was awesome; his classes were interesting and he actually turned me on to History.

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2016, 12:38:47 »
Weirdly enough, one of the best ways to get into history is by going sideways, so to speak.

When I was in high school, Shakespeare was tough in such a manner as to prevent anyone from ever reading or watching a play for the remainder of their lives. Parsing a minor character's sentences certainly removes much of the vitality of the author and his themes.

Years later, an economics professor mentioned that Shakespeare needed too write hit plays, since he was part owner of the Globe, and going into debt in Elizabethan times was an experience you certainly did not want to experience first hand. This led to the discovery that many of Shakespeare's plays (especially The Histories) were concerned with the legitimacy of the Tudor regime, and even how Shakespeare wrote about science.

The real issue, I believe, is most people simply don't see how military history (even personal history) connects with their day to day lives or their personal interests, and of course, there is no effort to teach this anywhere. This is why nonsense like the Peacekeeping myth can be spread without fear of contradiction and awesomely stupid decisions made, since there is no reference anywhere to how similar events played out in the past.

Howe to change this is difficult to imagine, each individual will need to take whatever approach works where they are, and they are fighting a steep uphill battle to boot. Best of luck to everyone who is trying.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2016, 12:53:38 »
This year during the Veterans Week presentations I tried very hard to dispel the "Peacekeeping Myth". I made sure the audience knew that from the 50's to the early 90's the majority of the CAF was involved in maintaining the line against the Warsaw Pact. I made specific mention of the men killed in KOOTENAY and the pilots and soldiers killed during training exercises in Europe. The kids were quite surprised about this episode in Canadian history, but it was the reaction of the teachers (most in their late 20's or early 30's) who had no idea about our involvement in the Cold War.

By the way, the PPT's and speaking notes provided by the centre were, to be put bluntly, shyte. The content was so dry and bland that I would have lost the kids about 10 seconds in if I used it. I would just put up the picture and use it as the base of my little chat.
The best one to use was the picture of the WWI soldiers marching in the mud along the side of the road. I would ask the kids (teenagers) if they could guess the ages of the soldiers. They would say 50 or 60, and they had a hard time to believe the true age of those men. That's when the war and those men's sacrifice hit home.

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2016, 14:08:26 »
. . . Does anyone know if "Commended for Valuable Service" rated a device like a MID?

All this to state, even most direct descendant really are not interested in history.

HILTON, F/L Robert Clifford (J21061) - Commended for Valuable Services - No.436 Squadron, No.120 Wing (AFRO gives unit only as \"Overseas\") - Award effective 13 June 1946 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 726/46 dated 26 July 1946. . . .

Yes.  A King's Commendation for Valuable Service in the air awarded to a member of the RCAF for war service would have been recognized by the same emblem as an MID.
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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2016, 14:47:35 »
Like others who read history I found it to be fascinating or deadly dull depending a lot on who was teaching.

My particular pleasure in history is found in the fact that it is, constantly, open to interpretation, reinterpretation, revision, review and yet more interpretation. That includes Canada's military history: there is no "right" narrative; how well (or not so well) Canadians prepared for war, conducted war, at the political, economic and military levels, conducted operations and fought is all open to interpretation and reputable historians, and relative laymen, will differ. The answers found in dusty regimental museums or spouted in the bars of regimental messes are likely to be highly selective, biased and, all too often, downright false. The only "truth" about war ~ any war, all wars ~ is found here ...

     

... the Marxists and the so-called "peace" movements have no more sense of right or wrong, or of historical "truth," than did the 19th century British jingoists and the 21st century "Project for the New American Century" advocates ...

     

... all that to say that I don't know the historical truth ... and no one else does, either.


Edit: typo
« Last Edit: December 10, 2016, 16:50:43 by E.R. Campbell »
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2016, 16:45:02 »
 :goodpost: +1

The only truth I ever heard about war came out of the mouth of Colonel Henry Blake, in MASH, as he is talking to Hawk-eye:

"At command school, I was taught two rules about war: Rule number one: young men die; Rule number two: there is nothing doctors can do to change rule number one."


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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2016, 16:50:36 »
How many Canadians aware of this?

Quote
The Great Canadian Traditional Peacekeeping Myth vs Nuclear Weapons [for use by the Canadian military, NATO and NORAD]
https://cgai3ds.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/mark-collins-the-great-canadian-traditional-peacekeeping-myth-vs-nuclear-weapons/

Plus:

Quote
Not Remembering Canada’s Real Post-WW II Military History
https://cgai3ds.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/mark-collins-not-remembering-canadas-real-post-ww-ii-military-history/

Defensive Editing at Globe and Mail: Canadian Military History
https://cgai3ds.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/mark-collins-defensive-editing-at-globe-and-mail-canadian-military-history/

And remember that Mike Pearson's holy achievement, UNEF for Suez, in the end was a complete failure--no one recalls that these days (further links at original):

Quote
The Peacekeeping Mythology That Will Not Die

... the UN force for which Pearson won the Nobel Prize–the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in which Canada participated–was in the end a complete failure. It did play an important role in ending the 1956 Suez Crisis; however Egyptian President Nasser kicked UNEF out of Egypt, where it was stationed, in 1967. That was one of the key events precipitating the preemptive Israeli attack that began the Six Day War of 1967. Some peacekeeping...
http://www.cdfai.org.previewmysite.com/the3dsblog/?p=1084

Plus Bosnia/Croatia (at same post as above):

Quote
... our largest peacekeeping effort ever was in Croatia/Bosnia. But up to 1995 that UN mission hardly kept the peace and during that time many thousands of people were killed. The killing only stopped when NATO used air power against the Serbs, and the Croatians (assisted substantially by the U.S.). launched a successful counter-attack against Serbian forces. So much for the value of that UN peacekeeping. Meanwhile the Canadian Forces stayed on and helped, as part of a new NATO–not UN–force, to keep the real peace that military action by others had finally established. Blue berets certainly failed miserably in resolving that conflict.

Taught in high school?  University?

Mark
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« Last Edit: December 10, 2016, 17:20:47 by MarkOttawa »
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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2016, 12:55:13 »
makes me a little saddened that even more of military history is being erased from the public face.  I have a BA and an MA in Canadian history, and focused specifically on these two wars. 

Yet it is the fault of historians for letting our military history slide in favour of a more inclusive/social history that often portrays the military as the perpetrator of imperialism/colonialism.  Friends of mine that went on to do Ph.Ds in history have said that it is almost impossible to gain spots in Ph.D programs now if you are just doing "traditional military history".

For over a decade, although at a slow rate, awareness has grown on Canada’s involvement in the F & S.W.W., considering civil history has always been front and centre in the education system: According to a ca 2009  Epsos Ried poll only 10 % of Canadian’s were aware of Canada’s involvement in the F & SWW.

Heard…Eight in Ten (83%) Canadians say 100th Anniversary of Battle of Vimy Ridge should be Key Celebration during Canada’s 150th Birthday in 2017 (Up 9 Points since Last Year).

Only One in Ten (12%) can Identify Vimy Memorial from a Photo Thursday, April 07, 2016.

Toronto, ON – The year 2017 marks two key milestones for Canada: the 150th anniversary of confederation, and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. According to a new Ipsos poll conducted for the Vimy Foundation, most (83%) agree (32% strongly/51% somewhat) that “the 100th... However, less encouraging was that when presented with a photo of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, just one in ten (12%) Canadians correctly identified it. A large majority – Three quarters (74%)  – of Canadians didn’t know and didn’t venture a guess.

At one-year countdown to the Vimy Centennial, the poll found that two in three (65%) Canadians agree that one day they would “like to visit the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France”, with younger adults aged 18 to 34 (68%) as the most inclined to agree.

http://www.vimyfoundation.ca/new-poll-shows-most-canadians-83-feel-vimy-centennial-should-be-key-celebration-of-canada-150-celebration/

In Quebec during my time and today, History considered a cafeteria course, easy credits.

Our Canadian civil, war history accounts are littered with contradictions, inaccuracies, we could start by cleaning up the mess left by countless of Ph.D’s, historians/authors.

A Yes…Proper research is time consuming,  requiring thousands of hours, at times much more, easier too copy-paste, restyle the narrative using same footnotes, perpetuating the same mistakes, it’s all about the $$$$$$$$$.

According to Professor Terry Copps, BA, MA, Ph.D’s, in Canadian War History are certainly not needed, the only requirements; that you provide all prime sources, documents supporting the narrative, and conducted the proper leg work. The latter derives from the Brian aka McKenna Brothers vs Terry Copps Epic Feud..
 
 
C.U.





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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2016, 13:52:48 »
I want to thank everyone for their responses so far.  I am at work, so cannot write a great deal right now, but will respond later to more of the comments.

Chrispa, I had a seminar with Terry when I was at Laurier back in the day.  At that time, there was a need for military historians as Jack Granatstein, Norm Hillmer and Roger Sarty were all close to retiring (Roger and Norm have since retired, and I think Jack was retired by then).  I had Roger as my supervisor, and he encouraged both a civil and military look at the First and Second World Wars.  The homefront was greatly ignored for a long time (until the 1970s, I think) as were Indigenous veterans.

Still, the statistics you quote about Vimy Ridge is what I started this post for.   Many people remember from school that Vimy Ridge was important--they just don't know why or what it is.  I wish there was a way that both histories--civil and military could be taught, and taught without the politics of white colonialism, or at least taught and the merits/failures of our involvement can be debated in full.

 I am ashamed of some parts of our history--I completely agree, we've shafted segments of our society pretty roughly over the last century, but I am also very proud of what this nation has accomplished--both civilly and militarily.  But, I am one man in a nation of millions, and I realize that my opinion on the matter carries the weight of a paper airplane in a hurricane. 
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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2016, 14:20:27 »
The latter derives from the Brian aka McKenna Brothers vs Terry Copps Epic Feud..

I only watched Death by Moonlight: Bomber Command.

"The producers claimed that the directives remained top secret throughout the war. The films also claimed that bomber crews, flying at night, were, for the most part, kept in the dark about their true mission."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Valour_and_the_Horror#Controversy

I believe the Allied public, German civilians and our bomber crews were made well aware prior to The Battle of Berlin ( 18/19 November 1943 to 31 March 1944 ). 16 major raids on Berlin, and 16 more on other large German cities in that period.

"Harris urged the government to be honest with the public regarding the purpose of the bombing campaign:

...the aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive...should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany.

... the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories."

October 1943.

"We are bombing Germany, city by city, and ever more terribly, in order to make it impossible for you to go on with the war.  That is our object.  We shall pursue it remorselessly.  City by city; Lubeck, Rostock, Cologne, Emden, Bremen, Wilhelmshaven, Duisburg, Hamburg - and the list will grow longer and longer.  Let the Nazis drag you down to disaster with them if you will.  That is for you to decide.  We are coming by day and by night.  No part of the Reich is safe.  People who work in [factories] live close to them.  Therefore we hit your houses, and you." -- Pamphlet dropped in Germany by the RAF, Summer 1942

Soon we shall be coming every night and every day, rain, blow, or snow -- we and the Americans [...] We are going to scourge the Third Reich from end to end if you make it necessary for us to do so. You cannot stop it, and you know it.

You have no chance.


"......., and incidentally to show the Russians when they arrive what Bomber Command can do."

"The destruction of factories, which was nevertheless on an enormous scale, could be regarded as a bonus.  The aiming-points were usually right in the center of the town." -- Arthur Harris, Bomber Offensive

etc...

Lots more here,
http://airminded.org/2011/02/02/you-have-no-chance/

Whether anyone agrees, or disagrees, there was nothing secret about the Aiming Points in Germany. Quite the opposite in fact.




« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 14:58:02 by mariomike »
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Offline Chispa

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2016, 13:01:35 »
Chrispa, I had a seminar with Terry when I was at Laurier back in the day.  At that time, there was a need for military historians as Jack Granatstein, Norm Hillmer and Roger Sarty were all close to retiring (Roger and Norm have since retired, and I think Jack was retired by then).  I had Roger as my supervisor, and he encouraged both a civil and military look at the First and Second World Wars.  The homefront was greatly ignored for a long time (until the 1970s, I think) as were Indigenous veterans.

I’m without any academic or historian credentials for that matter, although interested in the paper chase, separating facts from established historian folklore; helps with my dyslexia…reading/writing. During the 70s, in grade and high-school, history classes were mostly civil, some Cdn/Que, with antiquity civilisations; military events were included in certain cases, although painted with a wide brush. Noted it was mostly English/Canadian influenced history, with insertion of American popular media, aka, The American Propaganda Machine, with their vision, version of WW II, Westerns…American History in general. US TV, Movies, Literature, etc., influenced Canadian perception, while our own civil/war history took a backseat just surfacing in Canadian published books or in cameo appearances in American/British books, films, etc. PBA, remember some school text books published in the US??

Noted Canada at War a 1962 CBC 13 episodes documentary, which wiki fails to mention, “Canada at War’ were the Canadian Gov’s first publications during 1914-15, FWW recorded accounts apart from the 1914 No. 40. sessional paper.

Quote
Still, the statistics you quote about Vimy Ridge is what I started this post for.   Many people remember from school that Vimy Ridge was important--they just don't know why or what it is.  I wish there was a way that both histories--civil and military could be taught, and taught without the politics of white colonialism, or at least taught and the merits/failures of our involvement can be debated in full.

For students, teachers, or interested individuals researching history in, books, online, etc., can be confusing and overwhelming. Accounts need to be consistent along the board, what’s problematic depending on the latter mentioned historical narratives, are at times vague, misleading lacking clarity and cohesiveness, per say; different dates, numbers, etc.

Maybe the rest of Canada, however in Quebec I remember nothing on VR, F/SWW, or we did anything special on Remembrance Day in school for the exception of two times we had vets, etc., in grade school for one day. Just your typical press, TV, news of the event in Montreal with the regiments paraded while the Guns blasted downtown core, many still today, carry on with their daily lives like nothing special or care.

War History was mostly written in the winners’ perspective, although in Nam the American press muddied the waters on the US Government’s misleading narratives. Pre 2000, Russia, USA, Britain, China, etc., Gov’s were in the process of revisions, providing their championed cleansed versions of historical events that unfolded during the SWW/WW II, etc. Today many countries in creating historical civil/military pride and awareness are influenced by politics, part of the game. This is the main reason the Canadian Government, etc., “Skirted” the commemoration, sacrifice of Canadians’ during the SSAW or SSAABW: Second South Africana’ War.

Quote
I am ashamed of some parts of our history--I completely agree, we've shafted segments of our society pretty roughly over the last century, but I am also very proud of what this nation has accomplished--both civilly and militarily.  But, I am one man in a nation of millions, and I realize that my opinion on the matter carries the weight of a paper airplane in a hurricane.

Nothing to be ashamed, compared too other countries, the Catholic Church, Canada is not even on the radar. You’re…we are all entitled to an opinion, and can carry weight when many others are in agreement. We should certainly be proud on our Canadian civil and military history/heritage, DHH and DHH 2, which should also include the bad and ugly without embellishments, colour coating the narrative.

C.U.


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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2016, 13:11:34 »
I only watched Death by Moonlight: Bomber Command.

"The producers claimed that the directives remained top secret throughout the war. The films also claimed that bomber crews, flying at night, were, for the most part, kept in the dark about their true mission."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Valour_and_the_Horror#Controversy

I believe the Allied public, German civilians and our bomber crews were made well aware prior to The Battle of Berlin (18/19 November 1943 to 31 March 1944 ). 16 major raids on Berlin, and 16 more on other large German cities in that period.

Whether anyone agrees, or disagrees, there was nothing secret about the Aiming Points in Germany. Quite the opposite in fact.

Over a decade ago posted a thread on a few war forums website deriving from a controversial study-paper I complied styled: Allied War Crimes During WWII/SWW, noted all outraged by my suggestions, and hastily deleted. See Axis Forums Allied War Crimes the thread was started over 10 years ago and merged owing too the amount of Threads posted, with all the documents, etc., on BC’s main objectives on Germany Cities.

Mr. M&M you’re certainly aware of the two main camps on BC “deliberate” fire bombing of German cities saga, however the records, in which you posted a few examples, not counting all the other stuff, fully support your comments; nothing secret and civilians were purposely targeted and made aware. BC’s, Bomber Harris main goal; inflict chaos, mayhem, horror and demoralise the civilian population, with the destruction of infrastructure, factories, etc. Although Harris’ himself stated and revealed in a TV mini series: “I never engaged in these idiotic pamphlet-dropping exercises. They only served two purposes really - they gave the German defences’ endless practice in getting ready for it, and apart from that they supplied a considerable quantity of toilet paper to the Germans”.

The evidence suggests pamphlets were dropped in large quantities, considering a good portion of high explosive bombs missing designated targets by a mile or more. At times pamphlet propaganda bombs were drooped from high altitude many missing the intended cities and rural areas throughout Germany and France in 1942-43.

Bombing pilots, navigators, were informed of their sortie in the briefing room, it was no secret Britannia wanted retribution for London’s bombing, once German cities were bombed it’s my understanding appeared in the British/German press.

Even a gunner would surly know the plane loaded with high explosive incendiary Bombs dropping them in the center of large German cities and crews are completely ignorant that innocent women, elderly, children, babies will be killed…That’s incomprehensible. 

Precision aerial bombing during the second great war, more like the roots of carpet bombing.

If I remember correctly; bombing civilians although both British and German wrangled over it, took proper measures, however the agreement was never signed & sealed; bombing civilians was not off the table or considered a war crime. I believe it certainly was…In the past twenty + years of wars civilians are still being slaughtered, by land, air or sea…soon from space. You’re off the hook if you claim; “we don’t purposely target civilians,” their classified as collateral damage, unfortunately, the reality s happens in war, and innocent individuals will be killed.
   
The Valour and the Horror a 3 part mini documentary series was filled with controversy, a portion of Cdn/Historians, etc., were up in arms, critical of the mini series misleading narratives: True some Cdn/Hist’s, etc., gave it a big thumbs up.

When BC’s “strategic” bombings started it was all over German press, propaganda, many cities well aware they could be next after the first bombardments finally surfaced. 

Bomber Harris Quotes:
‘I would have destroyed Dresden again’.

‘In spite of all that happened at Hamburg, bombing proved a relatively humane method’.

‘I do not personally regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British Grenadier. It therefore seems to me that there is one and only one valid argument on which a case for giving up strategic bombing could be based, namely that it has already completed its task and that nothing now remains for the Armies to do except to occupy Germany against unorganized resistance’.

‘Dresden? There is not such a place any longer. I want to point out, that besides Essen, we never actually considered any particular industrial sites as targets. The destruction of industrial sites always was some sort of bonus for us. Our real targets always were the inner cities’.

I never engaged in these idiotic pamphlet-dropping exercises. They only served two purposes really - they gave the German defences endless practice in getting ready for it, and apart from that they supplied a considerable quantity of toilet paper to the Germans.
•   The World at War: the Landmark Oral History from the Classic TV Series (2007) by Richard Holmes, p. 298
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Arthur_Travers_Harris


British Bombing Strategy in World War Two By Detlef Siebert Last updated 2011-02-17

A few weeks before the end of World War Two, Winston Churchill drafted a memorandum to the British Chiefs of Staff: 'It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed ... The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing.'

Consequently, in February 1942, Bomber Command was instructed to shift the focus onto the 'morale of the enemy civil population'. This new policy came to be called 'area bombing'.

The aiming points thereafter, for bombing raids, were no longer military or industrial installations, but a church or other significant spot in the centre of industrial towns. And since fire was found to be the most effective means of destroying a town, the bombers now carried mainly incendiary bombs.

The failure of the British bombing offensive in the winter of 1943/44 was all the more disappointing for Bomber Command, because by this time their American allies were beginning to make an impact.

The US Army Air Force had joined the strategic bombing campaign in the summer of 1942. They had come committed to 'precision' bombing in daylight. However, their bombers proved easy prey for the German day fighters. Heavy losses convinced the Americans that they needed long-range escort fighters to protect their bombers. These fighters lured the Luftwaffe into dogfights, and by the spring of 1944 they were gaining air superiority. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/area_bombing_01.shtml


Fresh evidence: Footage of Air Arthur Harris being interviewed by Air Vice Marshal Tony Mason has emerged 36 years after it was filmed…Read more:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2276944/I-destroyed-Dresden-Bomber-Harris-unrepentant-German-city-raids-30-years-end-World-War-Two.html#ixzz4T1TZoqhx
 

Bomber Command maps reveal extent of German destruction By Lauren Turner BBC News: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-34467543

Did Lancaster bombers that killed 600,000 in German cities deliberately target civilians? A new book says YES... Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1216788/Did-Lancaster-bombers-killed-600-000-German-cities-deliberately-target-civilians-A-new-book-says-YES-.html#ixzz4T1Ut3MgU


Timeline.
Summer 1941: A British study shows that RAF bombing is typically inaccurate, with only 20% of aircrews navigating to within five miles of their assigned targets. This report leads to a major shift in Britain’s bombing strategy, shifting away from military targets and towards the main residential and industrial centers in Germany.

January 28, 1942: The Mighty 8th Air Force: Allied forces activate the VIII Bomber Command, the first operational element of the 8th Air Force, to coordinate and lead the air attack on Germany. General “Hap” Arnold, commanding general of the AAF, appoints Ira Eaker to lead this bombardment force. “The Mighty 8th” will dominate the American strategic air war against Germany, though it will become a part of the larger U.S. Strategic Air forces in a reorganization early in 1944.

February 1942: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill appoints Air Marshal Arthur Harris to Commander in Chief of the Bomber Command in order to carry out the new strategy of the RAF.

April 8, 1942: 272 British bombers of the RAF attack Hamburg at night, signifying the largest raid yet on a single target.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/timeline/bombing/

C.U.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 12:39:06 by Chispa »
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2016, 13:33:47 »
I’m without any academic or historian credentials for that matter, although interested in the paper chase, separating facts from established historian folklore; helps with my dyslexia…reading/writing. During the 70s, in grade and high-school, history classes were mostly civil, some Cdn/Que, with antiquity civilisations; military events were included in certain cases, although painted with a wide brush. Noted it was mostly English/Canadian influenced history, with insertion of American popular media, aka, The American Propaganda Machine, with their vision, version of WW II, Westerns…American History in general. US TV, Movies, Literature, etc., influenced Canadian perception, while our own civil/war history took a backseat just surfacing in Canadian published books or in cameo appearances in American/British books, films, etc. PBA, remember some school text books published in the US??

Noted Canada at War a 1962 CBC 13 episodes documentary, which wiki fails to mention, “Canada at War’ were the Canadian Gov’s first publications during 1914-15, FWW recorded accounts apart from the 1914 No. 40. sessional paper.

For students, teachers, or interested individuals researching history in, books, online, etc., can be confusing and overwhelming. Accounts need to be consistent along the board, what’s problematic depending on the latter mentioned historical narratives, are at times vague, misleading lacking clarity and cohesiveness, per say; different dates, numbers, etc.

Maybe the rest of Canada, however in Quebec I remember nothing on VR, F/SWW, or we did anything special on Remembrance Day in school for the exception of two times we had vets, etc., in grade school for one day. Just your typical press, TV, news of the event in Montreal with the regiments paraded while the Guns blasted downtown core, many still today, carry on with their daily lives like nothing special or care.

War History was mostly written in the winners’ perspective, although in Nam the American press muddied the waters on the US Government’s misleading narratives. Pre 2000, Russia, USA, Britain, China, etc., Gov’s were in the process of revisions, providing their championed cleansed versions of historical events that unfolded during the SWW/WW II, etc. Today many countries in creating historical civil/military pride and awareness are influenced by politics, part of the game. This is the main reason the Canadian Government, etc., “Skirted” the commemoration, sacrifice of Canadians’ during the SSAW or SSAABW: Second South Africana’ War.

Nothing to be ashamed, compared too other countries, the Catholic Church, Canada is not even on the radar. You’re…we are all entitled to an opinion, and can carry weight when many others are in agreement. We should certainly be proud on our Canadian civil and military history/heritage, DHH and DHH 2, which should also include the bad and ugly without embellishments, colour coating the narrative.

C.U.

I believe that the Allies matched the standard set by Germany in the levels of violence they chose to deploy against various targets.... except for the organized "extermination of 6 million Jews and 10s of millions of other 'untermensch' thing" of course....

The Japanese? Well, they reaped what they sewed too, right?

"They have sewn the wind and now they shall reap the whirlwind" Churchill
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2016, 14:01:19 »
"They have sewn the wind and now they shall reap the whirlwind" Churchill
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2016, 15:03:16 »
Wether the phrase was used by Churchill (I don't believe so) or by Bomber Harris (I believe it to be so), neither invented it.

The original is from the Aramaic version of the Hebrew bible, known as the Tanakh, in the Book of Hosea, at Hosea 8-7: "He who sows the wind, he shall reap the whirlwind".

Either way, some historians have pointed out that the phrase was likely used by Churchill/Harris as much as a taunt to the Germans, by threatening them using a Hebrew sacred text, as an indication that the British were aware of the goings on with regards to Jews in Germany at the time.

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2016, 15:13:17 »
Wether the phrase was used by Churchill (I don't believe so) or by Bomber Harris (I believe it to be so), neither invented it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to4djmDqJRI
03:58
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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2016, 15:45:25 »
For a bit of context, largely from memory as I am a long way from my library, at the end of the Great War the newly created independent air forces seized upon the theory of the devastating effect of air power and the invincibility of the bomber as a way to ensure their survival as independent services and not surprisingly as a way to convince politicians to invest the air forces as a way to avoid the horrible casualties of the First World War.

That the theory of air power involved bombing the enemy's industrial base, communications, and armies and navies into submission meant that the civilian population became a target was downplayed, but it must have occurred to more than a few people in positions of authority between the wars. In my opinion it is wrong to suggest that the British civilian and air force leadership were not aware that what they were proposing was mass slaughter of non-combatants, and the same could be said of the Americans as well as the Axis powers. There was some rationalization along the lines that in 20th century warfare there was no such thing as a non-combatant. On the Allied side, there also was plenty of scope to argue that the Huns started it all, but perhaps that was a bit of justification.

In any case, look at the use of chemical weapons in the First World War, where our side retaliated in kind, and that included Canada.

Apologies for a rather wordy two cents worth.

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2016, 16:09:35 »
For a bit of context, largely from memory as I am a long way from my library.....
Me too, but I would cite Giulio Douhet, Command of the Air, 1921, as kicking it all off.   :nod:

His later edition (1926? -27?) was more fully developed; after all, he had that year in military prison after being Court Martialled to work out some details.     ;D

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2016, 16:38:35 »
From what I understand, it is unlikely that any wartime operations were documented so comprehensively as those of Bomber Command. Which is one of the reasons I have always enjoyed studying it, as an amateur.

Me too, but I would cite Giulio Douhet, Command of the Air, 1921, as kicking it all off.   :nod:

I believe he ranks alongside Trenchard and Billy Mitchell as one of the most important advocates of self-contained, self-defending, bomber formations. Capable of striking the heart of a nation.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 16:41:48 by mariomike »
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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2016, 13:06:01 »
Wether the phrase was used by Churchill (I don't believe so) or by Bomber Harris (I believe it to be so), neither invented it.

The original is from the Aramaic version of the Hebrew bible, known as the Tanakh, in the Book of Hosea, at Hosea 8-7: "He who sows the wind, he shall reap the whirlwind".

Either way, some historians have pointed out that the phrase was likely used by Churchill/Harris as much as a taunt to the Germans, by threatening them using a Hebrew sacred text, as an indication that the British were aware of the goings on with regards to Jews in Germany at the time.


My understanding first used by Harris, a biblical reference in response to the 1940 Blitz: ... Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put that rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now, they are going to reap the whirlwind.

Now in Churchill: The Power of Words, by WC… Grim and gay their cry ‘We ca take it,’ and their war-time mood of ‘What is good enough for anybody is good enough for us.’ We have not asked that the rules of the game should be modified. We shall never descend to the German and Japanese level, but if anybody likes to play rough, we can play rough too. Hitler and the Nazi gang have sown the wind; let them reap the whirlwind…..


C.U.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 13:22:14 by Chispa »
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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2016, 13:26:30 »
Two posts on reviews of the comprehensive The Bombing War: Europe 1939‑1945 by Richard Overy--first pro, second con:

Quote
World War II: Combined Bomber Offensive Against Germany Effectively a Bust
https://cgai3ds.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/mark-collins-world-war-ii-combined-bomber-offensive-against-germany-effectively-a-bust/

World War II: Combined Bomber Offensive Against Germany Effectively a Bust–or Not?
https://cgai3ds.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/mark-collins-world-war-ii-combined-bomber-offensive-against-germany-effectively-a-bust-or-not/

Lots more here:
https://www.google.ca/search?num=100&q=review+overy+world+war+ii+bombing&oq=review+overy+world+war+ii+bombing&gs_l=serp.3...18491.20410.0.21168.6.6.0.0.0.0.151.777.0j6.6.0....0...1c.1.64.serp..0.5.628...30i10k1.gcNoyL_VLWY

In particular by Edward Luttwak:

Quote
Opportunity Costs
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n22/edward-luttwak/opportunity-costs

Related on the USAAF:

Quote
Movie “Command Decision” and US Strategic Bombing vs Germany, 1943
https://cgai3ds.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mark-collins-movie-command-decision-and-us-strategic-bombing-vs-germany-1943/


...

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2016, 15:42:05 »
Two posts on reviews of the comprehensive The Bombing War: Europe 1939‑1945 by Richard Overy--first pro, second con:

I've read various reasons for target selections. Sometimes economic. Sometimes number of Germans per acre. Sometimes tactical. eg: The three raids on Revigny, France in which 41 Lancasters were shot down. Ordered by Gen. Eisenhower in support of the Army.

Sometimes political. One RCAF squadron was briefed by their Station Commander. He explained that the Nazis had convinced the German people that at the end of WW1 their armed forces had remained still on foreign soil and basically undefeated, and that they, the German forces of WW1, had been betrayed by politicians at home. "He then pointed to the cord running across the map to the city of Dresden, and said, 'There are going to be a lot of people in Dresden tonight who are going to find out that war can be a very nasty thing. Never again will any future German government be able to say that the country was fairly well intact but still defeated.' "
"Incidentally, it will show the Russians when they arrive what Bomber Command can do."
Battlefields in the Air: Canadians in Bomber Command page 152.

« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 15:53:54 by mariomike »
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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2016, 16:10:51 »
For a bit of context, largely from memory as I am a long way from my library, at the end of the Great War the newly created independent air forces seized upon the theory of the devastating effect of air power and the invincibility of the bomber as a way to ensure their survival as independent services and not surprisingly as a way to convince politicians to invest the air forces as a way to avoid the horrible casualties of the First World War.

That the theory of air power involved bombing the enemy's industrial base, communications, and armies and navies into submission meant that the civilian population became a target was downplayed, but it must have occurred to more than a few people in positions of authority between the wars. In my opinion it is wrong to suggest that the British civilian and air force leadership were not aware that what they were proposing was mass slaughter of non-combatants, and the same could be said of the Americans as well as the Axis powers. There was some rationalization along the lines that in 20th century warfare there was no such thing as a non-combatant. On the Allied side, there also was plenty of scope to argue that the Huns started it all, but perhaps that was a bit of justification.

In any case, look at the use of chemical weapons in the First World War, where our side retaliated in kind, and that included Canada.

Apologies for a rather wordy two cents worth.


There was, also, I think, an issue of British morale.

We always say that "Selection and Maintenance of the Aim" is the first and 'master' principle of war but we also, at least in my day, used to always list "Maintenance of Morale" second. In the summer of 1944 British morale ~ civilian and military ~ took a real beating thanks to the V1 and V2 attacks: the second "blitz." The  Brits understood, in their heads, that the war was, effectively won ... but the renewed German attacks took a toll of civilian morale and, consequently, on the morale of the fighting forces, too.

I suspect that part (only one part, and not the major part) of the rationale for e.g. Dresden was to show the British people that the German cities were bombed to bits, too. I've been told there were wild cheers in cinemas in the UK and in Canada when the newsreels were shown; it had to have been good for morale, and morale matters in war.
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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2016, 16:21:33 »
In the summer of 1944 British morale ~ civilian and military ~ took a real beating thanks to the V1 and V2 attacks: the second "blitz."

Several Bomber Command squadrons were specifically trained to carry out reprisal gas attacks against Germany. But, Eisenhower convinced Churchill that this would not be a good idea.
Harris said that even at maximum intensity V-Weapons could do less damage than a single Bomber Command attack against a German city.
Bomber Command was compelled to divert bombers to ineffectual counter-attacks against them.
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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2017, 12:23:37 »
I recently attended a small gathering to listen to Honorary Colonel John Boileau's take on the Canadian contribution to WW1 which included his research on Vimy Ridge. As the 100th Anniversary of the Easter battle is approaching, I reflected on my key take-aways from the lecture.

1. Canada had never seen industrialized warfare on this scale. The mobilization and sacrifice needed would be incomprehensible 100 years later to the average citizen.
2. Even with my military experience, there is no way I would be able to understand what a soldier in the trenches about to go into battle would have gone through.
3. Lastly, the sheer number of no known graves on both sides was staggering. Canadians get so worked up over a few deaths when about 20,000 Canadians from the war simply went missing.

Vimy Ridge events are being held throughout Canada so there is some recognition and education getting out to the public. I firmly believe their sacrifice should not be forgotten and later generations of Canadians should receive a solid education on our military past.

You can read my full thoughts on the matter at:

http://www.happydiver.space/?p=354

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #30 on: April 06, 2017, 12:30:40 »
Quite right, Blair. Though I would slightly modify your first lesson to read that no one in the world had seen industrialized warfare on this scale, save perhaps the American who had some taste of it in their Civil war.

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #31 on: April 06, 2017, 13:55:50 »
Actually, while doing research for my article I came across this reference:

1874's 'Taiping Rebellion' in China saw the biggest death count, with over 20 million dead.
It was however the biggest loss of British troops with 1 in 10 dying. Over all, 700,000 out of 6 million who enlisted. (Some would argue that the 'death rate' was actually higher during the 'Crimean War'?).

The conflicts in Asia always seem to be left out of discussions on human large scale conflicts. This particular rebellion may not have had the full industrial use of 'modern' WW1 weapons but 20M dead is an industrial body count.

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #32 on: April 06, 2017, 14:19:31 »
3. Lastly, the sheer number of no known graves on both sides was staggering. Canadians get so worked up over a few deaths when about 20,000 Canadians from the war simply went missing.

I've wondered about that before - is it possibly that due to the ease of communication and social media, we expect to be able to reach someone when back in WWI/II/Korea/etc the families would only get letters?  If a bunch of letters go missing, the family may think that something has happened to Billy but maybe that it's just that Canada Post has screwed up again?
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #33 on: April 06, 2017, 14:45:54 »
I've wondered about that before - is it possibly that due to the ease of communication and social media, we expect to be able to reach someone when back in WWI/II/Korea/etc the families would only get letters?  If a bunch of letters go missing, the family may think that something has happened to Billy but maybe that it's just that Canada Post has screwed up again?

It was a different time, death was treated differently and there was less expectation of loved ones coming home after going far away.  It was normal for people to go out into the world and never come back as travel was expensive and laborious. Vietnam was the first war where the dead were brought home which likely brought home the horror of war to more people.   
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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #34 on: April 06, 2017, 14:54:27 »
Vietnam was the first war where the dead were brought home 

America brought war dead home after World War One and World War Two.

http://www.historynet.com/rest-in-peace-bringing-home-u-s-war-dead.htm
IN LATE 1920, the French finally yielded to American pressure and lifted their ban on the return of bodies. The United States spent the next two years and more than $30 million—$400 million in today’s dollars—recovering its dead. The remains of 46,000 soldiers were returned to the States at their families’ request, while another 30,000—roughly 40 percent of the total—were laid to rest in military cemeteries in Europe.

But a sacred tradition had been born. After World War II, with 359,000 American dead scattered across both hemispheres, the military mounted a six-year recovery effort that yielded the remains of 281,000. (Nearly 80,000 were missing in action, most lost at sea.) In the Korean War, America redoubled its commitment to the dead. The fast-changing battle lines in that conflict left little time for soldiers to dig temporary graves, so the dead for the first time were carried from the front and shipped home even while hostilities continued. During the Vietnam War, soldiers’ remains often reached home within a week. Today, of course, the dead are whisked home in a matter of days.

« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 19:29:20 by mariomike »
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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2017, 11:58:13 »
... save perhaps the American who had some taste of it in their Civil war.
If you're including the US Civil War, then I'd add the Franco-Prussian war -- roughly the same time-frame, weapons, trains, telegraphs....
Although American writing always emphasizes the number of casualties without acknowledging the obvious, that Americans provided both 'good guy' and 'bad guy' cannon fodder.

For Naval battles, the Russo-Japanese War provided pretty obvious lessons on the way ahead for WW1

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Re: Slow Erosion of Military History
« Reply #36 on: June 30, 2017, 11:25:33 »
From CBC for Canada's 150th.....   :cdn:

Quote
Liberals downplay military role in Canada 150 celebrations, some historians say
4 key themes for sesquicentennial celebrations are diversity, youth, environment and Indigenous reconciliation

[ Highlights only ]

- But University of Calgary military historian David Bercuson says the Liberals are making a political calculation in toning down its focus on the military around the milestone birthday....Canadian milestones like this are an important opportunity to not only remember the sacrifice of fallen soldiers, Bercuson says, but also to note the role military members played in shaping the development of the country industrially, economically and socially.

- Canada 150 is a time to reflect on the extraordinary "story of the nation," and our military history is a part of that, says military historian Jack Granatstein.... It wasn't all perfect, Lord knows. But it's worth remembering. "Military history is a part of that. More than 100,000 Canadians were killed in service of this nation, in service of values that I think we still believe in."

- Steve Harris, who oversees DND's directorate of history and heritage, said the funding gap has meant doing some things more slowly. But he said cutbacks were in lock-step with government-wide spending cuts.

- Michael Behiels, a historian at the University of Ottawa, said Harper's vision for Canada 150 was to focus on celebrating past accomplishments, including the military, and reinforcing his "brand of British-Canadian nationalism."  "Trudeau could not launch an Expo 1967-type celebration since there was no time or serious funds," he said. "What he could do — and did — was to revamp the Harper narrow, military-focused agenda into a Liberal Party agenda that reinforces the brand of Liberal Canadian nationalism."