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Re: terrorism, education and who has the biggest gun.

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> From: Christopher Wright <chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com>

> Most people in the US (probably a lot on this list) don't realize how big
> a sacrifice the Brits and the rest of the allies made in WWII. 

> Country         Military            Civilian             Total
> Soviet Union*  8,668,000           16,900,000         25,568,000
> China          1,324,000           10,000,000         11,324,000
> Germany        3,250,000            3,810,000          7,060,000
> Poland           850,000            6,000,000          6,850,000
> Japan          1,506,000              300,000          1,806,000
> Yugoslavia       300,000            1,400,000          1,700,000
> Rumania*         520,000              465,000            985,000
> France*          340,000              470,000            810,000
> Hungary*                                                 750,000
> Austria          380,000              145,000            525,000
> Greece*                                                  520,000
> Italy            330,000               80,000            410,000
> Czechoslovakia                                           400,000
> Great Britain    326,000               62,000            388,000
> USA              295,000                                 295,000
> 
> Which is not to discount what the US did, just to point out that our 
> infernal ignorance of what everyone else did is so outrageous that it's
> no wonder some think we do it on purpose. 
> 
> Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from

It is easy to blame the education system for missing events and
distorted facts in history but it is difficult to tell everybody's side
in the same classroom, without access to other sides of the story, when
a generation is reluctant to talk (or trying to forget) and the reality
is tied up by secrecy laws.

I just have to chuckle a bit, here: With all the chatter about
historical context and education AND with the recent brouhaha in Canada
when President Bush neglected to mention Canada as a friend in the fight
against terrorism, the list neglects to mention the losses by Canada,
among others, which were also considerable.

During WWII, Canada developed the 3rd largest global naval force to
transport, protect and attack. Bedford Basin at Halifax, NS became the
major staging area for North Atlantic convoys. Losses were suffered, by
U-boat attack, outside these harbours and as far "inland" as the St.
Lawrence River. I'm certain that the same happened at US harbours, as
well. Yes, the European war WAS on the doorstep of North America.

Canada's land forces suffered massive casualties in pivotal conflicts
and are recognized with monuments, and the attendant graveyards,
throughout Europe.

There is a reason for the special bond between Netherlands and Canada,
possibly because we had provided safe haven for many of the Dutch royal
family; Canada's forces, although not exclusively engaged there, were
assigned to liberate Holland. Ottawa is still bedecked in Tulips every
spring.

Just this week, I received from the CSCE, a historical profile of the
nearly 90 air training bases that were built in Canada, in 3 years
during WWII, to train international air forces - as well as the women
who ferried aircraft from Canada to Europe. Many of these airports have
become major air transportation hubs (Vancouver Int'l, Toronto - Pearson
Int'l, Montreal-Dorval Int'l). We are in the process of plaquing these
sites as Civil Engineering monuments. However, a plaque does not provide
context to the casual observer.

Covert electronic surveillance services, inititated during WWII, are
still a major part of our support to NATO. Most Canadians are unaware of
these operations and, understandably, nobody is making "Canadian minute"
commercials to inform.

As Christopher points out, many countries had many roles in the war.
Most were weary and brutalized when the US took overt action in Europe.

As well, Canadians are no more knowledgeable of these realities than are
Americans of theirs. However, liberated regions remember and teach. The
knowledge and appreciation are not forgotten, regardless of the insignia
on the tank.

I was fortunate to make some friends in Russia, who explained why so
much of their popular culture was still influenced by WWII era.
Regardless of the political factors, the conflict had a very profound
effect on so many - look at the numbers, above. Look at them, again.

Movies such as Patton cannot be blamed for what they misrepresent or
fail to tell. They are no substitute for a good history lesson. They
form a part of why the rest of the world is nervous about the "export of
US culture" but, we rely on Hollywood to entertain us with the glamour,
excitement and ego of characters who pack pearl handled six-shooters.
We, in North America, rarely see the non-english language films that
show other perspectives ("Life is Beautiful", comes to mind).

I am thankful that my father returned from duty on HMCS Eyebright and
that my in-laws survived the German occupation and bombing of Rotterdam
to emigrate to Canada. The real classroom is in my livingroom and the
homes of similar families in every country.

-- 
Paul Ransom, P. Eng.
Civil/Structural/Project/International
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
<mailto:ad026(--nospam--at)hwcn.org> <http://www.hwcn.org/~ad026/civil.html>

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