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    Unhappy Lest We Forget, And Be Doomed To Repeat

    Canadians 'misunderestimate' our contribution to the First World War

    Canwest News Service Published: Thursday, October 16, 2008

    Canadians are not only forgetting their history, they don't give their own country enough credit for the role it has played on the international stage, suggests an Ipsos Reid poll.

    The survey, conducted for the Dominion Institute and published to coincide with the theatrical release of the movie Passchendaele, quizzed Canadians on their knowledge of the First World War.

    It found that only 37 per cent had heard of the battle of Passchendaele; that only 16 per cent of respondents could identify Canada's enemies in that war as Austria and Germany; and that nearly 40 per cent think the U.S. entered the war before Canada.

    "Not only do a large percentage of our people have a bad knowledge of our history, it's getting worse, particularly among young people," said Marc Chalifoux, executive director of the Dominion Institute, a charitable organization that promotes Canadian history.

    "When I think about this I tend to use a 'Bushism' -- we misunderestimate ourselves. Not only do we get it wrong, we underestimate ourselves compared to the Americans."

    Not only did Canada enter the war before the United States -- 1914 as opposed to 1917 -- but a greater percentage of its population served in the war -- something 26 per cent of the poll's respondents did not know.

    The Ipsos Reid survey of 1,022 adults was conducted online between Sept. 17 and Sept. 22. Because it is not a random sample, the results were weighted to balance demographics. A random or unweighted sample this size would have an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

    Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008


    I suspect that this percentage is not just Canadian, and that pretty much any Commonwealth Country, or Ally would report similar findings.

    As a matter of note, I saw the preview for Passchendaele last night, for the first time, but I think I will have to go see it when it gets released out this way.

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    From another Commonwealth country, I'd tend to agree with you. And can lay the blaim on two inflluences here. One - that for too long history teaching in our schools has ignored Australia as we know it. Even when I was at school history we were taught about the two wars was often incorrect, as I found out later by doing my own reading. Two - film and TV. Most popular TV and films seen here about WWII are American, and so so biased towards that country's experiences.

    We too were involved in WWI in 1914, with a huge response throughout the war when compared to the size of our population. And in WWII we were in it from 1939, as were you I think?

    Both of my sons served in our Army Reserve. When the eldest was doing his recruit course, he was the only one who could answer what I would call a simple question about the Vietnam war - yet we had troops serving there for ten years!

    Guess what? The media thing carries over to our current times and life. When we get new recruits, we have to tell them to forget anything they've seen on TV or in a movie about firefighting. All that they'll have seen is US based, and very, very different to the way we do things. Bloody media...
    "Professional" means your attitude to the job...

    Nullus Anxietas ..... (T Pratchett)

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    The poem "In Flanders Fields" is about this battle, I bet most don't know that. I grow Flanders poppy's every year.

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    I caught a "documentary" about this film on Thursday night (last night in hotel) and they went to great lengths to keep it as tight to historically correct (apparently) as possible. One statement that was made by the Writer/Director/Lead (ya same guy did it "all") was that the battle at Passchendaele happened at the same time that discussion and voting on the decision (or not) for conscription to the army was taking place in Parliment. The big concern between government (that was agreed upon by the press) is that announcing the battle and in particular the casualty numbers was not a good idea if they were going to promote conscription. This was the general reason given as to why for the most part Canadians have no concept of the battle. It was both politically and socially not a "good statement" to present given the times.

    This movie looks like a "Must See" for this year, I think.

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    Was that Road to Passchendaele on the History Channel? I caught bits and pieces of it.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
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    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    Quote Originally Posted by RspctFrmCalgary View Post
    Was that Road to Passchendaele on the History Channel? I caught bits and pieces of it.
    I think so. I missed the first 10 minutes or so, but it was very good. Just got home from seeing Passchendaele. It was not quite what I expected, but I enjoyed it all the same. It has a bit of a Pearl Harbor ring to it, as a bit of a love story, but overall very well done. The French guys added some good comic relief.

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