11.11.2011 12:43 PM

Canadian military war deaths

This is an extraordinary graph, one that tells quite a story.

(H/T to Rayman for the link.)

23 Comments

  1. Rocky says:

    WWI….we were cannon fodder for the British.

  2. Jon Powers says:

    WWI deaths are especially significant when you realize that in 1914 the population of Canada was only around 8 or 9 million. Of that number, there were probably only a few hundred thousand men of fighting age, and of that group almost 70 thousand were killed, and at least double that significantly injured. We essentially lost an entire generation of young men.

  3. Glen says:

    We remember them all. No need to turn it into a comparison thing.

  4. Ted says:

    Another remarkable way to look at it, which in no way reflects on the sacrifice, but on the different national impacts:

    Afghanistan: 158 KIA over 144 months: 1 Canadian KIA per month (0.03 each day)
    South Africa: 267 KIA over 32 months: 8 Canadians KIA per month (0.3 each day)
    Korea: 516 KIA over 37 months: 14 Canadians KIA per month (0.5 each day)
    WWII: 47,000 KIA over 71 months: 662 Canadians KIA per month (22.1 each day)
    WWI: 68,000 KIA over 54 months: 1,259 Canadians KIA per month (42 each day)

    Imagine reading about that in the news. Every day for 4 years.

    • Ted says:

      Did. Not quite accurate. Ignores Dieppe, for example. And doesn’t take the same approach to the others. The Boer War for example was even more sporadic.

  5. Steve T says:

    In no way minimizing the sacrifice made by the current soldiers, but it certainly makes you think about the mindset that those at home must have had during WWI and WWII when their loved ones went to war. The odds were definitely poor.

    • bigcitylib says:

      Those at home in WW1 and WW2 were fed bullshit and didn’t find out until way later that their loved ones were dead in great numbers. Their “mindset” was based on lies.

      I can’t remember who wrote it about WW1, but it was written that if people had ever known what it was REALLY about they would have never gone along with it.

  6. Michael Teper says:

    The Soviet Red Army lost over 8 1/2 million soldiers, plus another 14 million wounded. We remember our own, but should also remember the sacrifices of our allies, without whom the Third Reich would have triumphed over the whole world.

  7. Rick Thomson says:

    The graph missed the Peacekeepers. Canada ranks 55th (out of 108) as a UN peacekeeping nation based on its commitment of military and police personnel. Over the years, Canada has sent over 120,000 troops as part of UN peacekeeping missions, and it has the 2nd highest peacekeeping fatality with 114 fatalities.

    • Cynical says:

      And the cold war. There are lots of Canadian families who lost a father, son or brother flying CF-100s, Sabres and CF-104s in Europe. Accidental deaths possibly, but under largely near-combat conditions of patrol and training.

  8. Anne Peterson says:

    But did the civilian death numbers go down, or the cost of damage to infrastructure in the countries invaded. I read in the Guardian Weekly about how French and British corporations are getting huge fat contracts to rebuild Libya. So there must have been lots of damage there.

  9. dave says:

    Remembrance Day is over, so now I will throw in.
    In late 1940’s and early 1950’s, after father and all the uncles and cousins who were coming back came back from ‘overseas’ I would sit in school and look at those chocolate bar world maps with the pink of the British Empire all over the globe. For a year in Montreal, we Grade 4’s would place hand over heart, face the union jack and pic of King George VI, and recite something that I can’t remember. We were British Subjects.
    From about the middle of the 17th Century on England’s policy toward the rest of Europe was to ensure that the mouth of the Rhine was in the hands of small entities dependent on England for their existence, and to ensure that no one power gained dominance on the continent. Whenever either of these was threatened, England, and Great Britain, and the British Empire, used military force to restore what England wanted…for England’s security needs.
    When Tsarist Russia threatened Turkey, England and France made war on Russia (and if that Brit squadron had done a bit better when they attacked Petx*@!+zzsk in Eastern Russia, they might have gone on to take Alaska, and we would have had another province); when Austro Hungary and Germany threatened the balance, England, and its Empire went to war against those powers; when Germany tried to build an Empire in Eastern Europe, England and France again declared war on Germany. We were a part of the Brit Empire, we had an immigrant community that had ties with England, they were a powerful lobby, they supported Canada’s taking England’s side in The Great War. Same in 1939.
    We were “Aye sir! Ready sir!” champions of the crown and empire.
    After 1945, the Brit Empire’s mantle (or ‘torch,’ as John McCrea would have it) was passed to the wealthy and aggressive American Empire, and Canada’s loyalty and actions shifted over the decades to where we are today, champions of freedom and empire.
    I grew up in the military, and I worked with guys who had been overseas. I worked with a guy in the 1960’s, in Winnipeg, who had been a part of the brigade we sent to Hong Kong in fall of 1941. I dislike and distrust militarism, and I dislike and distrust resume building brass hats and politicians who use our armed forces for other than defence of Canada.
    In 1899 (give or take) a Canadian politician, Bourassa, argued that Canada should not send troops to South Africa to fight the Boer rebellion. He said that an empire claims that these wars are to defend liberty, but that they actually give the centre a rationale to truncate liberty for subjects of the empire.
    I am looking for someone who claims that our wars preserve and increase our freedoms to actually connect the dots to show that this is so. I see most evidence suggesting the opposite.

    Waiter, bring a round of white poppies for everyone who’s read this rant.

    • Hard to generalize that all war is bad. I would argue that we had no business in South Africa 1899-1902 and the static slaughter of 1914-1918 really proved nothing and set the table for what was to come, however The Second World War was different. You only have to talk to many members of my own family to find out how grateful a lot of folks were in occupied Holland to have Canadian Soldiers throw out a brutal occupier who were literally living in my grandfathers house for almost 5 years. Our story would repeat itself over and over millions of times from Millions of Europeans who to this day remain unbelievable in their gratitude for the liberation of their countries. Their enslavement was real and their Liberation was real as well. Regardless of the Political reasons and causes for the Second World War, the only resolution and restoration of reason was by violence. Any thing else is armchair revisionism. War is a necessary evil sometimes. ..

      • dave says:

        I agree with your description of the brutality during the occupations in Europe. It is my understanding that the occupiers moved resources from occupied areas to the homeland so as to keep the people in the homeland more secure, and supportive of the regime.
        I also understand that the first Brit aircraft shot down in 1939, was brought down by Dutch anti aircraft fire. This was before the German army invaded and occupied Netherlands.
        Once the war was engaged, with all the propaganda about fighting for survival, the brutality worsened. Like many wars, it began with one set of rationales, and ended with different rationales.
        One thing that struck me about the victorious side in post 1945 world, was how quickly formerly occupied countries moved to reoccuppy other peoples around the planet, as if occupation of European peoples caused a lot of suffering, but occupation of no European peoples was (and is)benign.

        Usually I revise from an arm chair. I am interested in what happened and why in my century, and my getting around days are fast thinning out. I worry about the same people who said ‘war is a necessary evil…’ to justify attacking Grenada, Nicaragua, Panama City, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, now saying the same about Iran.

        • dave says:

          Oh, man, first I am labeled arm chair revisionist, and now I am called a ‘Chamberlain.’ Boy, I hope nobody calls me another Woodsworth for being pro peace. I did notice that up to 1940 or so all sort sof countries had ministers of war and secretaries of war…but after 1945, in an Orwellian language play, we all ended up with ministers of defence, and secretaries of defence.
          I understand that Gr Brit completed their defence treaty with Poland in mid 1939; Gr Brit and France would spring to Poland’s defence if anybody attacked them. Germany attacked Poland, so Gr Brit and France declared war on Germany. Then USSR attacked Poland. Gr Brit and France did not declare war on USSR. I guess that was a ticket that Gr Brit was going to punch only once.
          I know the drill, tho, Ahmedinijad is channeling Hitler, we can’t wait for the smoking gun of a mushroom cloud, Iran army is fostering terrorism against the world, our grand kids will have to learn Farsi, freedom’s price, et al…and, in spite of those victorious characters in 1918 and 1919 saying’Never again,’ in spite of the 1945-46 attempts to convince us about a war to end all wars, in spite of all the times that we have been lied to in recent decades, we are looking to keep on keeping on.
          Sure is tough to live with a bit of hope for us.

      • Pete says:

        And a middle east war will be for the same reasons..just replace religious exremists for facistic

    • dave says:

      You’re right, in 1930’s, early 1930’s anyway, USA government leaned toward isolationism. They did continue to maintain their USA friendly regimes in Central and South America with both economic and military aid. THey also kept frim control of the Phillipines. (Perhaps USA was busy with the Depression…for example, I think that they used there military a lot to move close to 2 million people with Mexican roots to Mexico. I understand it might have been the largest government transfer of people to that time)
      I think that I said that after 1945 USA pursued a very aggressive foreign policy.

      The ethnic/race distinctions that brought so much suffering to all of Europe might be seen as the Nazi’s applying the same attitude toward Eastern Europeans as Europe had always shown toward non Europeans in Asia and Africa,…and in the Americas. Again, it was an idea from the early part of the 20th Century that Germany might build an empire in Eastern Europe, rather than where other European countries had built their empires. The 1939 war, in afterthought, is said to have been fought to stop fascism, but it looks to me that it began when Germany acted aggressively to expand its holdings. Here in Canada, we interned guys who had gone to Spain to fight fascism in 1937. In 1945-46, we came home, leaving two fascist regimes in Europe to carry on for another three decades. I think it possible that England and France declared war on Germany because Germany was becoming the dominant power on the continent, not because it was fascist, and not because it was lead by Hitler.
      There is a chance that we kept Stalin and his heirs in pwoer longer than they would have been in power had we not threatened them at every turn. Canadian troops were in Archangel in 1918. USSR knew well what the English regime wanted to do the USSR. After 1945, we surrounded them, waving our new nukes. I think that the 1930’s purges in USSR destroyed some innocent people; however, I think that there were increasing numbers of people in USSR who were fed up with Stalinism, and would have been able to make some moves, except fo the dire outside threats from us.

  10. btw Gord is quite right. The notification of a casualty in the First world War was remarkably fast. I,m looking at a very sad Telegram here on my Desk to the Wife of a Local(London Ont.) Infantry Officer who was killed at the beginning of the big push starting at Amiens Aug 8/18 and the message arrived at her door on the 21st of Aug/18. A remarkable feat considering the logistics involved and the speed of information in those days. The notifications were even faster in WW2. The idea that the families of casualties were kept in the dark for extended periods of time are false when actual C.O.D. were recorded.Many had extended waits for the reason that the circumstances of the Soldiers fate were unknown.
    I have read a lot of media reports(print) of the day that certainly did not relate the actual outcome and reality of many conflicts that Canadian Forces were involved in and that would apply to both World Wars..

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