Saturday, November 30, 2019

Of Close Combat And Lasting Effects

During the 1990s, in the wake of the civil wars raging in the former Yugoslavia, Canadian troops were part of the multinational effort to stop the fighting. At times that meant fighting for their own lives. This period is covered here in the museum with panels and artifacts.

9/11 would change the world. Canadians would go to war in Afghanistan, and step up military commitments in the Arabian Sea. Going Aboard is a painting by Bradford Douglas.

Canadians fighting in the Afghan War fought in close quarters and at a distance in a war that proved ferocious. Active participation in the war wound down in 2014, but the region itself remains unstable- and so the job feels unfinished. This area features panels, photographs, artifacts, and display screens that explore the story in depth.

Tomorrow I turn to the theme day, but I still have some posts from the War Museum to wrap things up, so we'll return here on the day after tomorrow.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Bringing Down The Berlin Wall

The Cold War came to an end in the dramatic fall of 1989 that would change so much in the world. One of the artifacts here in the War Museum is a section of the Berlin Wall.

The Canadian military took part in the first Gulf War, sending Navy and Air Force assets as part of the international coalition that would make up Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Beyond the Gulf War, other missions, both peacekeeping and combat, are explored. I leave off for today with this panel from the Rwanda section. It was a Canadian general, Romeo Dallaire, who was designated commander of the multinational force sent to Rwanda. The world failed his warnings, and Dallaire and those under his command would see the worst of a bloody civil war and genocide that raged for months. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Peacekeeping And Espionage

This is the nosecone of an Avro Arrow, a Canadian designed and built interceptor fighter. The program for building these was, unfortunately and short-sightedly, terminated by the Diefenbaker government in 1959.

While Canada remained embroiled in the Cold War as part of NATO, our government also pursued peacekeeping as a military initiative. Lester Pearson, one of our greatest prime ministers, would first propose the idea of using soldiers in that capacity, and the Canadian military has been involved in multiple peacekeeping missions in far reaches of the world.

The roles of spies and counterintelligence in the Cold War period are explored extensively in this area with panels, artifacts, and interactive displays.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Hot War And The Cold War

The World War Two section in the War Museum ends with an accounting of what was lost. A sample tombstone, done in the Commonwealth War Graves style, brings it home.

So too do the numbers- both at home and around the world.

And yet in the aftermath of that war, the Cold War erupted as the alliance between the West and the Soviets fell apart. The Cold War resulted, an era of nuclear stand-off and proxy wars.

The Korean War was part of that. Canadians would be sent once again to the far reaches of the world as part of that conflict.

One of those Canadians was Ted Zuber, who would later take his memories of Korea and paint them on canvas. The War Museum owns several of his paintings of this conflict and of the Persian Gulf War, as Zuber by then was an official war artist and took part in that capacity. This one is Reverse Slope, painted in 1978, capturing soldiers taking a break.

Here we have period field artillery for that conflict.

Beyond Korea, the Cold War saw the nuclear standoff between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. A practice bomb is seen here. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Final Push To Victory

As the war drove towards its end, Canadian troops would take part in the Rhineland campaign.

This pistol, from that campaign, is one of my favourite artifacts of the Museum. The explanatory panel gives the reason why.

In the Pacific Theatre, Canadians played other roles.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki would bring an end to the war. Among the items here is a tile from a temple in Hiroshima, which was exposed to the radiation of the atomic blast.

For many Canadians, the war in Europe ended with the liberation of the Netherlands. A fountain pen was used during the surrender signing, and it now resides here.

Canada had provided a place of refuge for the Crown Princess of the Netherlands, and the liberation of the country by Canadian troops established a deep and lasting friendship between two countries, one of the positive outcomes of war.