Pictorial

Into the Fire
HISTORICPHOTOBLOG, Military History, Pictorial

Into the Fire

As the Korean winter gave way to an early spring and UN forces pushed slowly but steadily north, the PPCLI were sorely tested in mountain fighting, ambushes and Chinese hit-and-run attacks NORTH KOREA, supported by the Soviet Union and China, invaded South Korea in June 1950. Canada answered the United Nations’ call to support South Korea.  The 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, arrived in December 1950, joining the ground war after eight weeks of training in mountain warfare and small unit tactics. The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) and the Royal 22nd Regiment (Van Doos) followed later.  The war was one of continual patrols and a series of fierce battles to take or retain strategic hilltops. Ambush and fighting patrols were called ‘snatch’ and ‘jitter’ pat...
Victory in the Pacific
Military History, Pictorial, Remembrance

Victory in the Pacific

The defeat of Japan brought horror and joy after years of conflict The war was over. The writing had been on the wall ever since American navy pilots gutted the Japanese fleet at Midway on June 4-7, 1942, six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, sinking four enemy aircraft carriers and turning the tide of conquest in the Pacific. After a bloody island-hopping campaign that began at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in 1942 and worked its way northward, the end came swiftly in a cloud of radioactive dust. The atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 marked the dawn of the nuclear age, a harbinger of the fears—and perhaps a lifesaving lesson—that underscored the Cold War in the decades after. The justification for the nuclear attac...
Survivors in turmoil
Pictorial, Remembrance

Survivors in turmoil

Six years of war in continental Europe was drawing to a close but for many, if not most, victory was bittersweet—and defeat was devastating. Up to 40 million people in Europe were dead, the vast majority of them non-combatants, and as many as 11 million refugees wandered the wasted landscape. Entire cities were in ruin, infrastructure had been destroyed and governments dissolved. Retribution for the death and suffering imposed by Hitler’s legions and their collaborators was foremost in the minds of some.
History repeats
Pictorial, Remembrance

History repeats

There are two certainties in war: death and suffering. Flag-raisings might be another. Flags declare victory, as Red Army troops did (below) in raising the Hammer and Sickle over the Reichstag in Berlin on May 2, 1945. The flag, originally symbolizing the alliance of workers and peasants, was used in the Second World War as a sign of resistance against Nazism. This staged and altered photograph was composed at the request of Soviet premier Josef Stalin in the wake of the famous Joe Rosenthal photo of American Marines raising the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima, Japan, a few months previous. Like the Iwo Jima flag-raising (which was not staged), the Hammer and Sickle picture was used as propaganda, to send a message, inspire and reassure soldiers and the populace at large that the good fight was b...
The long wait for peace
Military History, Pictorial

The long wait for peace

Recent overtures for a treaty between North Korea and South Korea can be traced back 65 years The world awaits a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War, 65 years after an armistice ceased the fighting between military forces. The Korean War went into hiatus with the signing of an armistice on July 27, 1953. But a peace treaty was never signed—the war did not officially end. At the end of the Second World War, Japanese-occupied Korea was divided along the 38th parallel, the Soviet Union occupied the north, the United States the south. In 1948, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) were established. Backed by the Chinese army and buoyed by Soviet equipment, 135,000 North Korean People’s Army troops invaded South Korea on J...

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