Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Cold War And Peace

The Cold War dominates the next section at the War Museum. This is the M3 Half Track, an armoured vehicle that was in use during the Korean War, which is examined in this section.

Ted Zuber was a soldier during that war, fighting as part of the Canadian efforts as a parachutist and sniper. He had enlisted while still an art student, and came away from the war with memories that later fueled his art. Several of his paintings hang here in this section. Reverse Slope finds soldiers in downtime at the front.

New Year's Eve captures Zuber's time in tunnels near the front, a particularly tense final day of the year with enemy grenades wrecking havoc.

A mock up of a situation room you might have found at a military base in the 70s or 80s is found here. The screens include stats on NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and feature war game scenarios of World War Three.

Peacekeeping is also examined in this section. The blue beret of UN peacekeepers is a familiar sight, and one is on display.

It was Lester Pearson, our esteemed prime minister, who was critical in devising the concept of peacekeeping during the Suez Crisis, at a time when he was foreign minister. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts- the original is displayed today at our foreign ministry, while a replica is displayed here with other service medals for Pearson, who as a young man had served in the First World War.

This painting is titled Hercules Aircraft At Ismaila, Egypt, by Colin Williams, showing a Canadian peacekeeping operation from 1974.

The October Crisis of 1970 is also examined. The Front de Liberation de Quebec, a terrorist group, kidnapped a British diplomat and kidnapped and murdered a provincial cabinet minister. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the only peacetime use of the War Measures Act to respond to the crisis, and he can be seen on a display screen here, speaking to a reporter at the time. CBC reporter Tim Ralfe asked the PM at the height of the crisis how far he might go in terms of suspending civil liberties to maintain order, and Trudeau's famous response was "well, just watch me."

Here we have artillery equipment of the era.

An editorial cartoonist by Adrian Raeside is featured here from the 1980s- the time of Brian Mulroney and government contract scandals. Raeside has left his days of editorials behind him, but you might know him from the daily comic strip The Other Coast.

As the Cold War moved into its final decade, new faces emerged in leadership on both sides.

The fall of 1989 and the end of the Cold War is examined as the Cold War section concludes. A section of the Berlin Wall is given a prominent spot. The federal government hosted a conference of foreign ministers in the wake of that autumn to determine the future of the two German states, and the Wall section was given to Canada as a gesture of thanks. On the side that would have faced West Berlin, it has graffiti. On the side facing East Berlin, there is none.


  1. A lot of history in this part of the museum !

  2. ...I grew up during the Cold War, back then you knew who the enemy was!

  3. The situation room reminds me of the movie War Games. A teenage boy playing a video game has no idea he is actually setting off real warnings around the world.

    I did not know Trudeau said that about civil liberties... yipes! I wonder what the son, now PM, says about that.

  4. Good that Ted survived the war to put into paintings the life of a soldier at war.

  5. @Gattina: a whole lot.

    @Tom: that's true.

    @Francisco: thanks!

    @Sandi: it was a crisis in every sense of the word, terrorists at work in the streets of Canada.

    @Laurie: it's quite a museum.

    @Nancy: he has quite a talent.

  6. History that is not that old, William. Timely.

  7. It's a wee bit scary when you can actually remember these war events as happening in our time William ✨

  8. I remember the October Crisis well and Trudeau’s famous response. He was decisive!

  9. The cold war was a scary time . I was a little kid and propaganda was turned out and frightened us. We were told to hide under our desk in case of an atomic bomb attack.

  10. @RedPat: it's living memory for many of us.

    @Grace: that is true. And more of that tomorrow.

    @Marie: he certainly was with that incident.

    @Red: I was growing up at the tail end of the Cold War. We didn't have that sort of thing happening in the classrooms, but I do remember watching the news as a child and regularly seeing references to what was going on.

    @Janey: in a lot of different ways.

  11. I can certainly remember that time. I remember fall out shelters being set up all over the country and bomb shelters being built. Scary times.

  12. Interesting time in history that today feels more relevant than it should. Good photos

  13. Peacekeeping---we all should be Peacekeepers

  14. Ein Interessanter Beitrag über eine unruhige Zeit.


  15. @Sharon: for me it's more abstract. The height of the Cold War was before I was born. Plus I imagine there was less in the way of a build a bomb shelter mindset in Canada.

    @Cloudia: quite so.

    @Maywyn: thank you.

    @MB: that's true.

    @Noke: thanks!

  16. An interesting look at history that happened not too long ago. Nice photos William.

  17. Great photos of a well organized exhibit ~

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  18. Much of our human history is marked by war. It doesn't speak well for us, does it?

  19. While I lived during the Cold War, I was very young during the Korean War. This post I find very interesting. How sad that in the past 100 years, there have been so many wars worldwide. How many before, how to many to come?

  20. We were red not so long ago... And never again....

  21. @Bill: thank you.

    @Carol: that it is.

    @Kay: not at all.

    @Jennifer: it's part of who we are.

    @Jeanie: still more to come.

    @Beth: so do I.

    @Klara: hopefully never again.