Euphemisms, acronyms and outright lies: The language of war

For decades, politicians referred to the Korean War as the ‘Korean Conflict,’ as if the soldiers who fought and died on the battlefields of the disputed peninsula were somehow less soldierly or less dead if killed by conflict rather than war. Some 2.5 million people died in the Koreas between 1950 and 1953, including...
  • Ernie Verhulst (Part 2): Growing up fast in occupied Holland

    January 30, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    This is the second of two stories on Ernie Verhulst’s childhood in occupied Holland. To read part one, published on Jan. 23 click here. A wide-eyed boy when the occupation of the Netherlands started, Ernie Verhulst had witnessed widespread atrocities, death and destruction. The sound of...
  • Ernie Verhulst’s first glimpse of the Luftwaffe came on May 10, 1940. He was eight years old and the significance of the Nazi advance across Europe had not been lost on anyone in Rotterdam, Netherlands. His parents and their neighbours in the rowhouses around the...
  • The folly of militarizing space

    January 16, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    It was a sunny, warm Wednesday in September 1962 when U.S. President John F. Kennedy laid down what many still consider the guiding principles of humanity’s great endeavour into space. He was speaking to a crowd of 40,000 at the Rice University football stadium in...
  • Douglas Gordon (Part 2): The troubles with Typhoons

    January 9, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    If the Germans didn’t get you, the Typhoon just might. Flying Officer Douglas Gordon knew it only too well. Between June and August 1944, 19 Allied squadrons—his own among them—lost hundreds of the hulking aircraft and 150 pilots, many of them due to engine or...
  • Douglas Gordon (Part 1): Bail out or glide for England

    December 26, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    Given a choice between parachuting into the frigid waters of the English Channel or nursing his dying aircraft for as far as he could take it, Flying Officer Douglas Gordon chose what he saw as the lesser evil—and it may well have saved his life....
  • Christmas at war: Sent to Korea by mistake

    December 19, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    James Victor (Vic) Johnson was a 25-year-old second lieutenant still in training at the Royal Canadian School of Military Engineering in Chilliwack, B.C., when he was mistakenly tagged to go off to war just before Christmas 1951. The Eston, Sask., native had been in no...
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