Saturday, April 17, 2010

Canada Moves Towards Independence

Prior to 1982, the Constitution Act of Canada was known as The British North America Act, where Britain had more control over making laws in Canada. The Trudeau government decided that it was the right time to bright the constitution home. They also believed that this would help to re-unit Canada with Quebec as a one country by providing more support for Quebeckers. Prior to going to Britain, Trudeau organized a conference with all the provinces, but Quebec did not participate, and it was not successful. Afterward, Trudeau was on live television and he expressed his idea of Canada having control over its own laws and regulations. For the second time, Trudeau summoned another meeting and except Quebec, all the provinces participated for the event. So, once again they skip the summit, just like a lot of people skip their Biology class at high school! Leader of Quebec, Levesque said, “Quebec is alone”. That was the excuse they came up as to why they didn’t take part. In fact, they didn’t want to participate for any activities with Canada because they consider Quebec as a separate nation from Canada. As a result of all the tough work done by the Trudeau government, on 8 March 1982, for the first time, Canada was recognized an independent nation.

In 1965, Canada came up with its own flag. The uniqueness of the flag was that it did not neglect any province or ethnic background (yeah, that’s right, including Quebec!). It was the maple leaf representing Canadian identity. The flag also did not have any symbol related to Union Jack, preventing British influence over Canada. However, it was not until recent, in 1980, where Canada adapted to its own national anthem. O Canada had been in Canada for more that a century, but it was first considered and sang in the parliament on 1 July 1980. During WW II, many patriots believed that o Canada should be the national anthem; however, some important people such as Mackenzie King said it was important to follow what we used to do. In other words, he meant Canada was not ready to adapt to O. However in 1980, Canadian national anthem began to hear in both English and French in schools, universities and officers.

Parti Quebecois in 1970s

The Immigration Act of 1978 was one of the most important pieces of legislation for Canadians. Trudeau government had changed few aspects of the old policies and that the new act was somewhat different from the old one. The main reason for all of these was that Canada needed more skill workers. Canadian government realized that countries economy was on working class and they have to be well educated in order to continue Canadian prosperity. All across the county, newspapers and CBC brought up-to-date information of the Immigration Act of 1978. They said it contained three major categories: skill class workers, family class and refugees. Due to family class immigrants, people who would come to Canada to re-unit their family, cultural diversity increased all across the country. Many people from Asia and Latin America came to Canada. However, only few people came to Canada as Russians because the Russians did not allow crossing the borders to reach out democratic countries in the West (cold war was still continuing at the time. It was metaphorically said that there was a “iron curtain” separating Warsaw from NATO allies. People in the east – Warsaw region – didn’t allow crossing that “iron curtain”! ). Due to working class immigrants, new job opportunities became available for Canadians. New school and factories opened. The wages were good in comparison to the wages earned by people with lack of education.

Another major incident in this time period was the Parti Quebecois’s victory in 1976. The leader, Rene Levesque came to office as an independent and began to establish an independent Quebec. Rene was a crock like Obama and George Wtf Bush. He didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. He said that it was time to rebuild Quebec as one country. This sparked another controversy where many people thought that Quebec would separate from Canada. However, the violence in Quebec was considerably reduced in this decade, and Quebec was still part of Canada!

Canada-Russia Summit Series + October Crisis

Canada-Russia Summit Series in 1972 was a remarkable hockey series for both Canadians and the Russians. Everybody in Canada overzealously watched the series. However the climax of the series was at the final game, where it was a tie. At the end of the final game, Canada won the series by winning the last game. Canadians proved that they were champions in hockey. The trophy also managed to bring the country together. Ironically, nobody noticed the treat of cold war during this time period. Even though, Canadians were playing against their worst foe, nobody seemed to be paying much attention to current events or national security. NHL and many other major hockey leagues were a result of this series in 1972.

October Crisis was a major event during this time period in Canada. It all started with the kidnapping of James. R. Cross, British trade commissioner, in Montréal in 1970. News spread quickly across Canada. Everybody gathered around television to watch the shocking news happened in Quebec. FLQ was the terrorist that was responsible perpetrating that libel. They had been involving with number of crimes for a long time. They used weapons to achieve independence for Quebec throughout the 1960s. The criminal environment in Quebec shattered many people. Few days later the kidnapping of James Cross, another dreadful incident happened. Labour Minister Pierre Laporte was kidnapped by the same group of terrorist on October 10, 1970. Some gathered to discuss how they would face if such incident occurred in the town. They also discussed many ways to prevent any of there crimes from happening in their own cities. Just a week later, Prime Minister, Trudeau, enacted the War Measures Act, which gives the right for police to confine anyone related or had connection with the FLQ. Afterwards, almost 200 were in custody according to the Globe and Mail. At the end of the year, nevertheless, James Cross was rescued, but Pierre Laporte was not. He was dead and found in a car nearby an armed forces base in Montreal. Crimes scenes in Quebec ended but people in small cities were very fearful due to any chances of emerging terrorist groups in those cities!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cuban Missile Crisis

The1960s were the time of “British Invasion”. Music Groups from Britain came to North America and changed the customs of music. Rolling Stones, the Dave Clark Five and Beatles were some of the major music groups dominated Canadian culture in the 1960s. Beatles’ songs were resonated with people. Later, it was known as “Beatlemania”, where teenagers would sing their songs repeatedly. As a result of those modern musical bands, “counterculture” emerged from the society. They diminished the value of songs in the 1940s and 1950s. They did not like old, classic music; rather, they would try to spread popular music across Canada. In small towns all across Canada and US, families used to get together and have tea parties and sang songs. However, teenage and many young children would repeat popular songs in that period. Although, there were some Canadian singers were on the stage as well, such as Oscar Peterson, but most of the time, American influence dominated in Canada.

Though people enjoy the 1960s at home and abroad, international affairs and crisis greatly share the lives of people in that decade. In 1962, The Soviet Union installed missiles in Cuba, directly targeting America and Canada. As a result, Canadian Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker, and United States began an argument due to high tensions. Canada refuses to put its soldiers in alert. Diefenbaker also accused America for putting pressure on Canada. Diefenbaker accepted Bomarc missiles without nuclear warheads. Nevertheless, Lester B. Pearson argued that without warheads, missiles would be useless. As a result, not only with US, but also within Canadian administration, quarrels appeared. However when Pearson came to office in 1963 as the new Canadian Prime Minister, he accepted warheads. Later, the missiles in Cuba were removed by the Russians, concluding the argument between United States and Canada. However, again, this emphasized the Russian influence over North America. Canadians and Americans deeply concerned that cold war would perpetuate forever!

North America in the 1950s

The television began wide spread in the early 1950s, where every rich person owned one. On the street where the Ivavo family lived, Maczim was the only person to claimed a television. Therefore, people on their street would come to Maczim’s house on every Sunday to watch the Ed Sullivan Show. They laughed most of the time, watching Ed. Ed was one of the famous comedians at that time. Beside that, Hoedown and Front Page dominated television screen for almost ten years. Students were also addicted to television; mostly, as a result, they neglected schoolwork. There were many advantages of the television as well: it was the fastest way to exchange information between major cities. Canadian Broadcast Centre was the leading news presenter.

Other than the television, the automobile also played a key role in everyday life of Canadians and Americans. Post war era was the most prosperous time period for the continent. The automobile was the indication of that. Almost every family owned a car. The fuel was cheep. On Sundays, the Ivanov family used to visit their relatives. As the television, car also had some downsides, for example, teenagers and youth would street race. Maczim’s son also became interest in there rebellious activities!

Immigration was another major aspect in the post war era. Almost one million people came from Europe. Many of them settled in industrial states like Ontario and Pennsylvania due the diversity of job opportunities. Nevertheless, few came to Manitoba as well, but from that, only couple of families came to inner cities. Therefore, immigration was not a major aspect in North America in the late 1950s. Towards the end of this decade, almost three hundred thousand immigrants came from countries other than Britain. Many of them were Hungarians; they came as refugees seeking peace through the Soviets on their homeland.

Another major feature was the continuation of cold war. The North American Air Defence Command was formed in 1957 to protect skies over Canada and America from any possible nuclear attack from the Russians. Often, while people watched television, CBC would put updated information on cold war and alert Americans in any dangerous situation. Such incident occurred in 1955. However, there wasn’t attack!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Korean War, Canadian and US Contributions

Korean War in 1950 was the major incident following the WWII. Canada contributed almost 27 000 soldiers for Korean War. The reason to spark the war was the invasion of North Korea, communists after WWII. They invaded South Korea, which occupied by the Americans after WWII, with their massive armed forces. United Nations sent military members to settle the conflict and Canada was one of the nations among them. In Brandon, where the Ivanov family grew up, only few people participated for the war. The main reason was the memories of the WWII. However, many people realized it was important to minimize the influence of the Russian communism. The son of Filet served in Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry. He wrote a letter saying that they scored a victory at Kapyong. He also said many Canadians served their lives for the victory. However, despite all those disasters, many Canadians returned home in 1953. The Korean conflict didn’t completely resolve. In fact, we still see flashes of these times even now; consequently, Russian influence was not diminished.

List of total casualties and losses (source: a lot, see below)

South Korea
137,899 Killed in Action
450,742 Wounded in Action
32,838 Missing in Action or POW

United States
36,516 dead (including 2,830 non-combat deaths)
92,134 wounded
8,176 Missing in Action
7,245 POW

United Kingdom
1,109 dead[9]
2,674 wounded
1,060 Missing in Action or POW

721 dead
2,111 wounded
168 Missing in Action
216 POW

516 dead
1,042 wounded

339 dead
1,200 wounded

300 Killed in Action or Missing in Action

194 Killed in Action
459 wounded

123 Killed in Action

112 Killed in Action

106 Killed in Action

New Zealand
33 Killed in Action

South Africa
28 Killed in Action and 8 Missing in Action

2 Killed in Action

Total: 778,053

North Korea:
215,000 dead
303,000 wounded
120,000 Missing in Action or POW

(Official data):
114,000 killed in combat
34,000 non-combat deaths
380,000 wounded
21,400 POW
(U.S. estimate):
400,000+ dead
486,000 wounded
21,000 POW

Soviet Union:
282 dead

Total: 1,187,682-1,545,822


Post WWII Celebrations Cut Short by The Cold War

WWII claimed over 45 000 lives of Canadians and 416,800 of US (There were more US casualties simply because US’ population was 10 times larger than Canada’s. US population was over 100 million in 1945!). For Canada, casualties were less than WWI but many people were shattered by seeing the tragedies across the country. Some were luck enough to be alive and returned home safely. As a result, they again got the opportunity to spent time with their family. They also went across the town and met many people who they missed for 5 long years. For some families, sadness still arose through in the peacetime because some of their love once never came home. Nevertheless, everybody in Canada and US enjoyed the peaceful time period without any difficulties, like in 1930s.

But! There was a similar conflict lurking around corner: The Cold War, also known as the COOL war :-). Just after WWII ended, the cold war sparked between the United States and Russia. As a result of their enormous wealth after the Second World War, they both began to restore as many weapons as possible. For some countries, such as Canada, this was a horrible situation. Canada was exposed to both the American and Russian nuclear attacks. They both had deadly weapons, such as atomic and hydrogen bombs. Although, Canada did not play a major role in cold war in the late 1940s, people were under extreme tension, where nobody knew when they would face a nuclear attack. Some said they would go to basement, but having fought in WWII, they realized those solutions would not work in a massive nuclear attack. Therefore, people who realized the real threat from Russia distressed about the fact that Canada was in between world’s two superpowers. However, as a solution to all there conflicts, North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed on April 4 1949. The purpose of this organization was to prevent any communism spread in Europe and protect fellow countries in any attack. This solution bought relief into certain extend but it still did not managed to give a permanent solution for the problem.

The Great Depression of the 1930s in Pictures

Jobless Men Keep Going:
As the picture states, unemployed men who desperately need jobs to support their families and themselves. This scenario was very common in the depression, where men would go from factory to factory, and farm-to-farm finding jobs. Many traveled to West, into farm fields hoping for jobs. In this picture, these unfortunate men were confronted with this bid banner in front of a train yard. Trains were used by people to commute between states and provinces, as it was the only means of FREE transportation during the 1930s!

A breadline in Toronto ON Canada:
People were in line to get a loaf of bread. Events like these were very common during the 1930s because people had to rely on government services because they could not support themselves. Many people bought bread by using their relief cheques. Money was not a commodity during the depression and nobody used it to buy any material. They had to wait hours to get a loaf of bread, and finally, when they got it, it was almost stale. However, people did eat them; otherwise what was the result of waiting on a queue for hours?

Soup kitchen in Saskatoon:
people are in the line for waiting a bowl of soup. Soup kitchens were another common aspect across the continent. People have to wait for hours for a bowl of soup. Hunger was the major concern of people as oppose to health because there were only handful of places where people found something eat. When they reached, a rare place such as the one above, they used to wait until they have their turn. Many people became sick after the consumption of soup from places like this.

Roofless house is better than nothing:
Those who lived in inner cities would walk back and forth seeking jobs. When they are tired, this is the kind of place they would to rest. This picture depicts a tired unemployed man, or a vagrant. Let’s say there were two men, and only one couch, like the one above. Then, they would have to fight each other to determine who gets the seat! The only way to win is by pinfall or submission.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Home-Front During WWII

Honestly speaking, Canadian and US governments slept at the wake of World War Two aka WWII. At the beginning of the war marked the end of great depression. Canadian economy increased, and more jobs created to export war materials. However, rationing was another significant episode during that period. The government limited the quantity of food for a family for a determined time. For example, wedding cakes could make, but without icing. Furthermore, a family was limited to 545 litters of gasoline a year for its car. Although, many did not have a car, rations caused another battle at home front. People who went through the great depression didn’t have sufficient goods to consume. They preserve food as best as they could because as days gone by, the depression became worst. However, as Canada became wealthier in the 1940s, people didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy it due to the rationing policy. Many people alleged the government for this. In response, some people said “we had lived 10 years without cloths, now after all of that, they impose restrictions!” Other major aspect was the conscription. By definition, it emphasizes its awfulness. At the beginning of the war, Mackenzie King, Canadian Prime Minister said he would not force anybody to fight overseas. Many people participated due to their patriotism. However, as Nazis progressed, King realized the necessity of conscription. Many people, such as French Canadians were not happy about this decision. Those who went overseas as a result of the forced enactment of this law, needed no longer because the war was over! They returned home right after, and as result, country didn’t divide, as happened in the WWI.

As men left for the war, women played an active role in the society. Every war equipment was made by women. Other women served as guiding back planes and ship from battle missions. When the war ended, almost one hundred thousand women served at home. If they could not do that, the allied forces wouldn’t be able to defeat Germany, because almost every war material was produced by women. As a result of their hard labor, women gained a great reputation.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

WWII: Canada Declares War on Germany

With the end of the great depression, Canada and US (now that our blog is renamed to intercontinental history ) had to sallow another bitter news: WWII.

Redundantly speaking, the worst thing to the Ivanov family in this time was the broke out of the WWII. Departure of hundreds of other men in Brandon and in Winnipeg made the whole country miserable. Unlike in the WWI, there were no celebrations or patriot movements. In the WWI, according to Mr. Ivanov, everybody was cheerful and enthusiastic; however, they did not see the tragic forthcoming of it. Having all these remarkable experience, many people didn’t agree with the declaration of new war. Among them, one was James S. Woodsworth, and they were the people whom many took into account as heroes. Almost every young man had to depart from his families to participate for the war. After leaving Canada, most men served at Dipper Raid in 1942. During the battle, the French Coast became a pool of blood. Almost 1000 soldiers were killed during the combat. Some were lucky enough to survive to tell the story. They returned to Britain after a miserable failure on the French Coast Lack of readiness was the major cause to this tragic situation. Afterwards, many were re-directed to serve in the Italian Campaign in 1943. The mission, Operation Husky, launched to liberate Italy. Many young, amateur, soldiers friends gained a reputation as elite fighters, where they fought for neighbouring houses until the enemy was get out of those houses. Soon the Canadians managed to complete the mission successfully. Nevertheless, around 2500 soldiers lost their lives; but, unlike Dieppe Raid, many of survived. Anyhow, the victory in Italy was a major step forward for Allied victory over Nazis.

Just like the WWI, US didn’t join Canada and other allies at the wake of the WWII. They followed a “wait and see” strategy. The same can be re-written as, “we don’t care about others, let’s wait and see. Only if they attack us, then will fight.” However (just for the record), US did join allied forces and played a major role in liberating France.

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