Canada on (Morton, 2013). One of the important battle

Canada has a long and proud military history. Canada participated in many wars including the two world wars which killed tens of millions of people. They were a middle power during the cold war where, at times, humanity faced nuclear annihilation. Today, Canada continues a military campaign with the war in the middle east. Canadian soldiers displayed bravery and courage at the face of death through countless generations. Canadians soldiers earned a reputation of being good and effective soldiers but their home nation earned a reputation of being peacekeepers. Canada has contributed a lot of troops to peacekeeping and humanitarian aid to unstable places. They continued to do this from the 1960s to modern day. Being both a warrior and a peacekeeper seems a contradiction, but some would argue that based on Canada’s involvement in the 20th and 21th century, Canada truly is both  a military power and a peacekeeping nation. From the First World War to the Second World War, the cold war the challenges of modern day, Canada has always been an reliable ally. Whether if it was peacekeeping or military intervention, it is more easy to understand this topic through the lenses of people who were there at that time. World War One was said to be the war to end all wars. Instead, it ended nothing. Canadian soldiers had sacrifice their lives to defend europe from an aggressor. In doing so, they made a name for themselves on the world stage. It all started when Britain declared war on Germany when Germany invaded neutral Belgium. Since Canada was a part of the British empire, they got dragged into the war. Originally, the Canadians were going to send 50,000 soldiers over as an expeditionary force, instead they got 150,000 volunteers (Morton, 2013). That number later raised to 330,000 from a population of 8 million (Morton, 2013). Most of the Canadians soldiers were volunteers who didn’t realized the true nature of war. During the course of the war, Canadians worked behind the front line and can almost be found in every place contributing to the war effort. From the air force to the navy, caring for wounded soldiers to cutting down forests or operating trains, Canadians were there (Morton, 2013). Canadians troops participated in many famous battle throughout the course of the war. For example, Vimy ridge, Passchendaele, Ypres and so on (Morton, 2013). One of the important battle of the war in the eyes of French field marshal Ferdinand Foch was the battle of Kitchener’s wood which was part of the Second Battle of Ypres (Neidell, 2015). Canadians troops were hit with gas but they stayed put and held the line. Even when they took heavy caustiles, they still held on (Neidell, 2015).  After the war, French field marshal Ferdinand Foch recognized the Canadian’s sacrifice at the battle of Kitchener’s wood as “The greatest act of the war (Neidell, 2015).” The battle of Kitchener’s wood was also important for Canadians because it was the first time a european colonial power was defeated by another european colonial force in the battlefield in europe and it was the Canadians who did this (Neidell, 2015). The battle of Kitchener woods also represented one of Canada’s first major battle of the First World War which help make a name for themselves. Later in the war, the Germans began to view the Canadians forces as shock troops because they were effective soldiers (Cook, 2014). The allied forces also shared this view of Canadians soldiers being effective troops because Canadians soldiers were finding themself leading an attack near the end of the First World War (Neidell, 2015). First nations were also part of the Canadian war effort and they became very good snipers and scouts (Cook, 2014). The Canadians were also viewed as effective soldiers by the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. He said “Whenever the Germans found the Canadian corps coming into the line, they prepared for the worse (Neidell, 2015).” However, one of the most heroic action that not many people think of was the Newfoundland Regiment’s actions at the Battle of the Somme. They bravely charged into battle and took 90 percent casualties (Neidell, 2015). Later, King George the fifth recognized the Newfoundland Regiment’s action and gave the regiment the title Royal (Neidell, 2015). It was the only time that any unit received this title during the First World War (Neidell, 2015). It was also the third time a unit was given this title during a war in British military history (Neidell, 2015). From a King to the average soldiers, everybody during the First World War viewed the Canadians as effective soldiers during the first world war. Canadian had left a legacy during the first world war and some may say it had won them a considerable amount of autonomy from Britain (Cook, 2014). World War One had brought out the worst in mankind but the Canadians and the rest of the allies stood up. Their sacrifice has not been forgotten and is still remembered today. Although the war was originally named The Great War, in just a little over 2 decades, it would be renamed World War One. There’s a saying that history repeats itself. In 1939, two decades after the end of the First World War, another World War broke out despite the world’s best effort to avert it. Canada joins the war a week later to protect europe from an aggressor once more (Foot, 2013). In the beginning, Canada’s war effort was limited but after the fall of france, Canada realized that it had to step up. Canada started producing military equipment for the allied which valued at three billion dollar during the war (Foot, 2013). They also started to rapidly increase the size of the Canadian military seeing Germany as a threat (Foot, 2013). Canada in the beginning suffered some humilitating defeats suchs as Hong Kong and Dieppe but still enjoyed many other success. For example, the Italian campaign, D day, the war in the Atlantic and so on. Canada helped keep britain alive during the war in the Atlantic. In the air, Canadians served in almost every theatre of war, from asia to europe, they were there (Foot, 2013.). During the Italian campaign, the Canadian fought at Ortona which was nicknamed the Little Stalingrad (Zuehlke, 2006). But before Ortona, there was the gully. A defensive position that most people thought it was impossible to break through. However the a small Canadian force led by Captain Paul Triquet broke through the Gully and headed straight to Ortona. His action would be recognized later when he was awarded with the Victoria cross, the highest award in the commonwealth for bravery (Zuehlke, 2006). At Ortona, Canadian soldiers got its first taste of bitter street fighting as they had no experience in this field of fighting (Zuehlke, 2006). Ortona was brutal, a CBC reporter said that “The battle has the quality of a nightmare (Zuehlke, 2006).” The Canadians would later win that battle. Other successes in the Italian campaign was at the Hitler and Gothic line where Canadian soldiers took the leading role and breaking through (Foot, 2013). The Italian campaign arguable could have set the stage for Canada but D Day was another important day for Canada. Canadians led a breakout from the normandy bridgehead against fierce german resistance (Foot, 2013). One newspaper said that the Canadians ” Were (…) going strong (Munro, 1944).” It also said that “Canadians (…) airborne troops did a good job (…). They capture and held several important bridges (Munro, 1944).” This shows the Canada’s reputation as having good soldiers had not faded away. The newspaper also reported that the Canadian Assault formation staffed was pleased with the result of the battle (Munro, 1944). This shows that Canadians are also viewed as effective soldiers by their own country men.. But perhaps another story that helped cements Canada’s reputation was Major Leo. A Canadian soldier who single handedly captured 93 at a Dutch town (Harline, 2016). He tricked them into surrendering by saying a bigger army will come later and he liberated the town (Harline, 2016). After the war, Canada had showed the world that it can become a military power. Canada had just proved itself to be an effective fighting force in both World War. The next war would last almost half a century. No shots between major powers, instead getting others to fight their battle. However, Canada would start to take a different approach in the cold war. The Cold war was the first time humanity came close to nuclear alienation. Two completely different ideology fighting for control and influence in the international community.  While everybody else was fighting proxy wars, Canada was possibly creating their present day nation identity as a peacekeeping nation, but it didn’t start off that way. One of Canada’s first involvement in the cold war was the Korean war. They sent troops and ships to Korea to help push back the North Koreans (Herd, 2007). That war would end in a stalemate and it would be like that until tensions goes up again. Then the Suez Crisis happened when Egypt took the Suez canal and nationalized it. It was at this moment that a Canadian Diplomat named Lester B Pearson helped cool down the tension and prevented a further escalation into the conflict (Tattrie, 2006). He organized a large peacekeeping force and sent it there.  He would later earn a Nobel Peace Prize for his actions in 1957. During his acceptance speech he said ” I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given to participate in that work as a representative of my country, Canada, whose people have, I think, shown their devotion to peace (Tattrie, 2006)”. This shows that Lester B Pearson believes that Canada is a country that is devoted to peace. Ottawa also voice their objection to military invention fearing it would cause another war and will damage commonwealth relations (Tattrie, 2006). This isn’t the only time Canada voiced their objection to wars as throughout the Cold War, Canada critiqued the American’s actions in the Middle east, Latin America and asia in their fight against communism (Herd, 2006). This also shows the Canadian government devotion to peace. Canada throughout the Cold war focused on Peacekeeping rather than fighting wars. In the 1960s, public opinion forced the Canadian government to send Peacekeeping troops to the Congo as it erupted in violence (Granatstein, 2006). The Canadian public thought it was their duty and their job to do Peacekeeping (Granatstein, 2006). Peacekeeping was popular among Canadians because there was no hesitation when they sent peacekeeping troops to Papua New Guinea, Yemen or Cyprus in the 1960s (Granatstein, 2006). Cyprus would also become one of Canada’s main peacekeeping mission for several decades (Granatstein, 2006). In the 1980s, peacekeeping was scene as a chore for Canadians (Granatstein, 2006). Canadian Public opinion throughout the cold war helped cemented Canada’s Identity as a peacekeeping nation. Their work would later be recognized when the UN received a Nobel Peace Prize. From 1948 to 1988, the Canadian’s would sent 80,000 troops for peacekeeping which would account for 10 percent of the UN peacekeeping force (Granatstein, 2006). This shows that Canada is committed to peace. As the Cold war comes to the end with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Canada had proved itself to be a peacekeeper and a country that preferred peace. However, will that all change in the new millenium as Canada faces new challenges.   As the new millennium dawns upon the world, so does the new challenges faces. Canada’s action in the years leading up and after the new millennium can be contradicting. In the years leading up to the new millennium, Canada participated in Peacekeeping missions in the Balkans. They experienced heavy combat like korea but managed to pull through (Granatstein, 2006). They also sent Peacekeeping troops to Rwanda but were ineffective in stopping the genocide (Granatstein, 2006). Another Peacekeeping mission may have damaged Canada’s peacekeeping reputation was the Somalia Scandal. Canada had sent peacekeeping troops there but however two Canadian paratroopers beat and torture a local somalian teenager to death (Granatstein, 2006). Somalia and Rwanda may have damaged Canada’s reputation, but Canadians still have high attitudes towards peacekeeping (Granatstein, 2006). This shows that peacekeeping is still engraved into the minds of Canadians despite these damaging scandals. Romeo Dallaire, a peacekeeping veteran from Rwanda still believes that Canada is a nation leading in peace. He said “Canada means to me an opportunity to influence humanity, and in so doing, advance the ability of justice, human rights, and ultimately for all human being to be treated equally. Canada is the leader in that campaign (Bonikowsky, 2008). ” This shows that Canada’s reputation as a peacekeeping nation is still strong. Canada had contributed more than 125,000 soldiers to peacekeeping so far in it’s duty as a peacekeeper (Granatstein, 2006).  In 2004, Canada sent 530 peacekeeping troops to Haiti as one of their last major peacekeeping mission because Canada’s foreign policy in the new era focused on the war in Afghanistan (Granatstein, 2006). Afghanistan would be one of Canada’s longest commitment. Canada sent a few doze special forces troops during the initial invasion and the sent about 1200 troops and other equipments later (Foot, 2009). The Canadian forces were receiving praise from the public and media (Foot, 2009). This shows that their reputation was improving after what happened in the 1990s. Canada continued to win battle after battle against the Taliban fighters (Foot, 2009). During Canada’s time in afghanistan, they also spent 2.2 billion dollars in aid to help rebuild Afghanistan. Public support for the war in afghanistan was initially high however it started to fall which reflect Canada’s changing attitude from war to peace (Foot, 2009). This was also evident in the parliament when all four major party voted for an extension into the war but then were calling to end the war but continued humanitarian aid and the reconstruction of Afghanistan (Foot, 2009). This also shows Canada shifting attitude to peace.  In 2007, a survey was conducted on Canadians and they believed that that the war in Afghanistan would fail showing that war may not be right for Canada (Foot, 2009). There are conflicting view about if Canada achieved anything in the war in Afghanistan. One military commander who led a Canadian battle group said they helped kept the insurgency at bay for 8 year which helped the new government establish himself (Foot, 2009). However, others had said Canada had failed its core mission of securing certain sectors from violence (Foot, 2009). One article from the Policy Option magazine said “In the end, the Canadian exertions and sacrifices in Kandahar did little to change the underlying conditions of this conflict (Foot, 2009).” These arguments showed that Canada did a so so job in Afghanistan. Canada in the new millennium had been doing both peacekeeping and wars but never really reached their full potential. As this chapter of history closes, Canada had proved itself it can participate in world conflicts. However, what kind of legacy has Canada left behind. Throughout Canada’s existence, it has proven to be both a peacekeeping nation and a nation that can wage war. Canada had participated in many well known conflicts in terms of peacekeeping or military intervention. Arguments can be made on both sides and it supports Canada on each argument. From the First world war to modern day, there were personal opinions and facts to support either side. But in the end, all of the evidence shows that Canada can be both a military nation and a Peacekeeping. As history tends to repeat itself, will Canada continue on the same path or go down a different route?

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