Monday, November 26, 2018

The Deepening Chill

"War is hell, Mr. Thornhill, even when it's a cold one." ~ The Professor, North By Northwest

Out of the aftermath of the Second World War came the Cold War between West and East, between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The War Museum's next section starts to examine that with early causes and events, including the Berlin Airlift, which Canadians had a hand in.

The Korean War also rose out of this period, and the Canadian military sent troops, sailors and airmen off to the other side of the world as part of the effort against North Korea and their Chinese benefactors. Not all of them made it out of North America- this panel shows the aftermath of a collision of two trains in November 1950 near Canoe River, BC. Gunners of a regiment bound for Korea were on board, and seventeen of them were killed.

Ted Zuber had been too young for service in World War Two, but joined the Korean War as a soldier, enduring the harshness of the land and the ferocity of the opposition until wounded in combat. He had carried a sketchbook with him, and years later would start to paint his memories on canvas. The War Museum has several of his paintings from this war and Desert Storm in its collection. Zuber was commissioned by the military to create war art during that latter conflict, went to the Middle East with the troops, and is the only Canadian to receive medals for service in both the Korean and Persian Gulf Wars. A few days before Remembrance Day, the news came out that he had died after a bout of cancer.

This first one is a reproduction, as the original is presently out on loan, according to the accompanying display. Day Break- Gulf Of Korea depicts a Canadian destroyer off the North Korean shore, opening fire on enemy trains on the coastal railway. I chatted with an officer here about the cold look of the mountains. For whatever reason it's easy to not think of the Korean peninsula as cold and rugged, but that war proved otherwise. The Koreas can get brutally cold temperatures coming down from Siberia, and we talked about a novel we'd both read, The Frozen Hours, by Jeff Shaara, which tells the story of the Battle Of The Chosin Reservoir.

Other Zuber paintings are close by. First Kill- The Hook depicts a sniper and spotter position at the front.

Holding At Kap'yong is another, depicting Canadian soldiers on the high ground in the midst of battle. An accompanying quote from 1999 by Donald Hibbs, a corporal at the time and a survivor of the fight, accompanies the painting. "I believed that night that maybe we weren't gonna be here tomorrow. I believed that we had to go down fighting. You know the old gung-ho, but I wasn't gung-ho: I was praying that I could survive the day."

This panel featured a movie poster- I've heard of the movie but have never seen it. The panel beneath explains that it's based on the American Fred Demara, who posed as a Canadian medical officer during the Korean War using stolen documents.

A spot here in the Cold War section that I always liked to stop at is this set up of a command centre, circa the 1970s or so. On two large screens, different scenarios of World War Three play out.

Equipment and vehicles, such as this tank, can be found here, representing both NATO and Warsaw Pact armaments.

This is a full scale model of H.M.C.S. Bonaventure, a Canadian aircraft carrier that was in service with the navy from 1957-70.

This panel examines a tragedy involving a Canadian destroyer in 1969- an explosion and fire on board the H.M.C.S. Kootenay that cost the lives of nine sailors but was contained through the work of the crew.

While this panel looks at our complicated relationship with our southern neighbours.

NORAD has been a joint air defense partnership with the Americans that sprang up out of the Cold War. This is the crest.

And today I leave off with what was beneath the crest, something for a northern environment. This machine gun has been fitted with a toboggan mount for towing behind a snowmobile in Arctic conditions.


  1. I do hope and pray that non of us will have to go through war. Have a great new week!

  2. The cold war and the wall was also a disaster for a part of my family, because they were split, we in the west and they in the east and of course no visits allowed ! My cousin always sent them food and clothes !

  3. Hello William.
    Great post and very interesting pictures and informations.
    My uncle went to the Korean War and so many soldiers from Greece.
    Thank you for sharing .Have a lovely week!

  4. I am not sure whether our war museum has a section of the Cold War, the Korean War is of course covered.

  5. Glad the cold war is over as three of my friends are from East Germany.

  6. The Cold War is fascinating. I loved the North by Northwest quote. Now I want to go back and watch it.


  7. ...I grew up during the Cold War, back then you knew who the enemy was. Now it's a toss up from day to day.

  8. i am going to call them action art ... very nice style. enjoy the colors and designs. have a great week.
    rainy here today. ( :

  9. Hello, great post and exhibit. It would be nice if any war was not repeated like the ones in the past. Have a happy day and a great new week ahead!

  10. My most impressive experience and memory of the Cold War is a visit to Berlin, where I literally felt the coldness of the Iron Curtain on the Berlin Wall.
    And in the meantime, the civil war in Syria continues, there are regular victims in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and Poeting continues to cause unrest in Eastern Europe. Man will never learn, I fear ... ;-(

  11. I love it when museums set up scenes like the command center. It really gives you a sense of working conditions. Will it never end?

  12. @Nancy: thank you.

    @Gattina: and to think a whole generation of children have grown up now never having the experience of knowing what it felt like. Though these days, with the Tsar in Moscow, you wonder if it'll return.

    @Dimi: thank you.

    @Joan: this section covers it quite extensively.

    @Iris: my formative memories in childhood were from the final years of the Cold War. I remember my father at evening prayers praying for the people behind the Iron Curtain.

    @Janis: I love that movie.

    @Tom: that is true.

    @Beth: thank you.

    @Eileen: quite true.

    @Jan: and we've got a piece of the Berlin Wall here.

    @Jeanie: it does indeed.

  13. "...different scenarios of World War Three play out."

    I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. -Albert Einstein

  14. I didn't know that Canadians also were in the Korean War, but now I do. That display about World War III is chilling. I hope it never happens.

  15. You are doing a fine job showing the progression of war.

  16. That painting of the destroyer is very nice.

  17. The Korean war was a very nasty affair and to this day is a very nasty situation.

  18. @Sandi: at least one Cold War never led to that, but as long as nukes are out there, it remains a threat.

    @DJan: Canadians served in that war with honour, but it was a horrendous one, and so often overlooked.

    @RedPat: thank you.

    @Sharon: I agree.

    @Francisco: thanks!

    @Red: that's true.

  19. Great post.
    I hope we never have to go through any more war.
    Have a happy week
    Divagar Sobre Tudo um Pouco

  20. Quote at top says it all. It IS hell. A good exhibit.

  21. I think the world has seen enough war. Nice exhibit, William.

  22. Wouldn't a peaceful world be wonderful … but we never seem to learn from History.

    Your posts, and photographs, have been very good William.

    All the best Jan

  23. An excellent exhibition reminding us once again of the horrors of war.

  24. @Maria: thank you.

    @Sallie: it's quite thorough.

    @Bill: thanks!

    @Jan: we don't.

    @Fun60: it works well.

  25. On this recent trip I toured the Korean War Museum at Seoul’s port city. I also remember two of my uncles coming home from that war.

  26. It was an intriguing time and well represented here with your neat photos ~

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

  27. My huband’s uncle served in the Korean War. Thanks for sharing this!

  28. So many wars!!!
    My step dad was in the Navy during the Korean War.

  29. This looks like a great exhibit. We can learn so much from the past and from exhibits like this.

  30. @Janey: I'd enjoy visiting that one.

    @Carol: thanks!

    @Marie: you're welcome.

    @Happyone: so many indeed.

    @Michelle: true.

  31. Korea is often portrayed as "the forgotten war." From what I've read it was brutally cold; many troops were ill prepared at its onset.

  32. Hi William, excellent pictures. Thank you for sharing them. After so many wars, we still haven't learned, and the loss of life continues.
    And we are supposed to be the smartest beings on earth?

  33. Thank you for this post. Interesting informations.