Monday, December 14, 2020

The New World

 This is a section of the Berlin Wall, displayed at an angle so that you can see the other side. This side, facing West Berlin, has graffiti. The other side does not. Given to Canada after the government hosted a summit of foreign ministers to sort out the details of a new Germany, it is now housed here at the War Museum, a fitting place. What strikes me is how thin it is. 

The Fall of the Wall was the most momentous event of an eventful 1989 as the old shackles of Communism fell across eastern Europe and the Cold War thawed.

In its wake so many things seemed possible. But as we move into the final section of the War Museum, what came after the Cold War posed its own difficulties. President Bush spoke of a new world order, but new world disorder seems more apt.

The Persian Gulf War of 1990-91 included Canadian air and navy assets in a broad international coalition led by the United States, triggered when Iraq invaded its neighbour Kuwait. Operation Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm, a near textbook example of how to successfully prosecute a war.

Canadian artist Ted Zuber, who had served in Korea and painted of his experiences there, went to war as a commissioned war artist, and several of his paintings are in the collection here, including this one, Loaders.

Canadians have taken part in other international operations during this era, including in Somalia, where the forces did not distinguish themselves (an airborne regiment of the period was disbanded because of members involved in the beating death of a Somali teenager, an episode that is examined here). But on a longer term scale, the Navy has been part of the regular operations against Somali pirates. Weapons confiscated from those pirates are displayed here.

Canadian forces also took part in operations in the former Yugoslavia as that country descended into multiple layers of civil war. Major-General Lewis Mackenzie commanded UN forces at Sarajevo.

And here is his flak jacket.

Yugoslavia, however, would prove to be a harder mission than peacekeeping would entail, and force would be required.


  1. My garden wall is thicker than that - though I hope the gate is more welcoming.

  2. "All we are saying is give peace a chance" ... ☮️ 🕊️ ✌️

  3. It wasn't the thickness of the wall that was decisive, but the mines, tank ditches and dogs behind it, and the armed soldiers in the watchtowers along the wall.

  4. History is close and close to our days...

  5. It is cause for reflection, and disbelief, that one US president advocated for the removal of a wall dividing people, and another US president is doing his best to construct a wall to divide people. i have no doubt who history will judge most kindly.

  6. @John: no doubt.

    @Ella: definitely.

    @Jan: that is true.

    @Italiafinlandia: and all the closer.

    @David: I agree.

  7. Our hopes for a united and peaceful world after the fall of the Berlin Wall seem a long way away.

  8. People were so hopeful with the fall of the Berlin Wall... Many years later prejudice still exists in that part of the world.

  9. I remember when the Berlin Wall fell. It was a momentous time.

  10. Things never really change do they?

  11. Yugoslavia slipped from my mind. It was very, very nasty.

  12. ...I remember well when the wall came down!

  13. It's hard to believe that it has benn 31 years since the wall came down.

  14. @Fun60: true.

    @Catarina: unfortunately.

    @DJan: it was indeed.

    @RedPat: not quite.

    @Red: that it was.

    @Tom: it was quite an event.

    @Bill: it seems like yesterday.

  15. Hello,
    I remember when the wall came down, it was a happy time.
    Take care, have a great new week!

  16. Wow nice to read this history!It was a terrible time the cold war!Glad we are into a new world as you say!

  17. that was a day to remember ~ wonderful tribute photos ~ Wall does look a little thin ~

    Live with love each moment,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  18. The fall of that Wall was certainly a momentous time!

  19. A great exhibition to remember such a moment in history.
    When will the human race learn that war and brutality is not the way to live?

  20. The world needs to break down all walls and fences and live as one!

  21. I remember the fall of the wall. I remember East Germans escaping over it, or not.

  22. The wall coming down was a start but we have a long way to go, if ever, before more peaceful times ✨

  23. @Eileen: it was momentous.

    @Revrunner: definitely.

    @Anita: indeed.

    @Carol: and yet it held back a lot.

    @Marie: it was, yes.

    @Gemel: if only.

    @Magiceye: well said.

    @Joanne: it left an impression.

    @Grace: that's true.

  24. THis is fascinating, William. I'm sure glad that was a long wall because now there are a lot of pieces of it everywhere so people can see it and really process and think about what that meant.

    1. I was looking at another blog yesterday with a section of it, at the Reagan Library.