Heroes And Villains

Sophie Scholl and Roland Freisler
Heroes And Villains, Military History

Sophie Scholl and Roland Freisler

Scholl and the White Rose Group gave their lives defying the Nazis On Feb. 18, 1943, Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans brought a suitcase full of anti-Nazi leaflets to the University of Munich. After depositing most outside lecture rooms, Sophie threw the remaining leaflets from a third-floor window into a courtyard. Seeing her, building superintendent Jakob Schmid—a Nazi Party member—reported Sophie to the Gestapo. The two siblings were quickly arrested.  About a year earlier, Sophie, Hans and three other University of Munich students had formed the White Rose group in response to the mass murder of Polish Jews and deportation of thousands of others to concentration camps. At great risk, the five acquired ink, paper and mimeograph equipment to print leaflets denouncing the Nazi r...
HEROES AND VILLAINS: Syngman Rhee vs Kim Il-sung
Heroes And Villains

HEROES AND VILLAINS: Syngman Rhee vs Kim Il-sung

Hero: Syngman Rhee “The new UN proposal is unacceptable to this government.…We can no longer survive a stalemate of division.” —Syngman Rhee on June 6, 1953, stating his opposition to peace talks between the UN, the North Korea People’s Army and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army. Japan’s defeat in 1945 brought an end to the Second World War and its 35-year occupation of Korea. The East Asian nation, however, was immediately divided at the 38th parallel by the Soviet Union and the United States. In 1948, the U.S. proposed a United Nations-sponsored vote for Koreans to determine the peninsula’s future. When the Soviets rejected this, South Korea formed its own government. Syngman Rhee, then 73, was elected president by 180 of 196 national assembly votes. He had been president of th...
Heroes and Villains: Vickers and Barrett vs Zehaf-Bibeau
Heroes And Villains, Military History

Heroes and Villains: Vickers and Barrett vs Zehaf-Bibeau

HEROES: Kevin Vickers and Curtis Barrett On Oct. 22, 2014, Parliamentary Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers heard at least a dozen gunshots outside his office adjacent to the House of Commons Hall of Honour.  Snapping a 15-round clip into his 9-millimetre Smith & Wesson pistol, the former RCMP officer of 29 years walked toward the firing. As Vickers closed on an alcove where gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was sheltering, a colleague shouted that he was right beside the gunman. Pressing up against a pillar, Vickers saw the barrel of a long gun thrusting out from the opposite side. Vickers could also hear Zehaf-Bibeau’s laboured breathing. Vickers was about to engage when four Mounties, who had deployed as an ad hoc incident active response team, advanced into the Hall of Honour in diamon...
Heroes and Villains: The sniper and the target
Heroes And Villains

Heroes and Villains: The sniper and the target

THE SNIPER In late May or early June 2017 (the exact date is classified), a Canadian Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) sniper team shattered previous distance records with a stunning 3,540-metre kill shot. The team, serving as part of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, was providing cover protection for Iraqi security forces engaging Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) insurgents in northern Iraq. Concealed on the roof of a high-rise building near Mosul, the two-man sniper team saw a group of ISIS insurgents forming for an attack in a built-up area. The elite sniper was armed with a McMillan TAC-50 rifle—a .50-calibre bolt-action weapon—while his spotter used a spotting scope, laser range-finder and hand-held computer to guide the shooter onto the target. To improve the rifle’...
Heroes and Villains: Foulkes & Blaskowitz
Heroes And Villains

Heroes and Villains: Foulkes & Blaskowitz

Hero: Charles Foulkes On April 28, 1945, I Canadian Corps’ Lieutenant-General Charles Foulkes—senior officer in western Netherlands—led negotiations with Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz of Germany’s 25th Army for the surrender of the 120,000-strong German garrison. With the Hunger Winter gripping the western regions still occupied by Germany, the negotiation required a twofold approach. First, convincing the Germans to stand down and enable delivery of humanitarian aid by Allied air drops and truck convoys. Second, formalizing the garrison’s surrender. Four days earlier, I Canadian Corps had halted before the fortified Grebbe Line, held in strength by 25th Army. Both sides realized that any fight west of the line would necessitate costly urban warfare and many civilian casualtie...
Skripal & GRU
Heroes And Villains

Skripal & GRU

SERGEI SKRIPAL On March 4, 2018, 66-year-old former double agent Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were found “in extremely serious condition” on a park bench in Salisbury, England. The daughter—just arrived from Moscow the previous day—was comatose. Skripal was conscious, but disoriented. Rushed to hospital, the two were diagnosed as having been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok. Investigators found the chemical had been sprayed on the doorknob of Skripal’s front door. Developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, Novichok is five to eight times more toxic than other chemical warfare nerve agents, such as sarin. British intelligence agencies determined the Skripals had been victims of an assassination attempt by the Main Directorate of the General Staff of ...

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An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.