Curious Canadian History
S9E2 United the Salish! The Battle of Maple Bay
Sometime in the early to mid-19th century, thousands of Coast Salish warriors, from dozens of tribes, united in an incredible moment of Salish solidarity. They did this to stop an enemy that had been terrorizing the Salish people for years. In doing so, the Salish inflicted a devastating defeat on that enemy. The event that occurred has become a cornerstone of Salish history and identity. A story that has been passed down for many generations amongst many different Salish elders. A battle that proved to be one of the most decisive victories ever inflicted on any enemy by any military force in the history of the Pacific North West.
Documentary recommendation: Tzouhalem
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S9E12 - The Canadian Masters of the Air54:53One of the most talked about shows currently available is Masters of the Air. A program detailing the lives of American bomber crews serving in the US Army Air Force during WW2. In today’s episode, I bring on a past guest of CCH, historian Alex Fitzgerald-Black, to talk about the Canadian version of Masters of the Air. While the Americans bombed during the day, at night Canadian crews also took the bomber war to Germany and Axis powers. In today’s discussion we trace the beginning of the Canadian bomber fleet, the formation of No. 6 Bomber Group (one of Canada’s largest national formations of the entire war), the various operations that Canadian bomber crews participated in and finally we talk about the legacy of the Canadian bomber contribution and spend a bit of time sharing our own thoughts on Masters of the Air. Alex Fitzgerald-Black is the Executive Director at the Juno Beach Centre Association, the Canadian charity that owns and operates Canada’s Second World War Museum on the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, France. He holds a Master of Arts in military history (University of New Brunswick) and a Master of Arts in public history (Western University). His first book, Eagles over Husky: The Allied Air Forces in the Sicilian Campaign, 14 May to 17 August 1943, was published in 2018. He has co-written multiple exhibitions at the Juno Beach Centre, including most recently Rising to the Challenge: The Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.The Juno Beach Centre is preparing to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in summer 2024. Veterans Affairs Canada will be organizing the Canadian overseas ceremony on Juno Beach outside the Centre. For more information about the anniversary and to access further resources, please visit www.juno80.ca and junobeach.org.
S9E11 - Canada, Maritime Power, and Africa58:58The Houthis are a non-state Shia Islamist politically and military movement, and they have controlled key parts of western Yemen since the Yemenis Civil War broke out in 2014. In response to the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza the Houthis began launching missile and drone strikes at cargo ships entering the Red Sea (shipping destined for the Suez Canal). The Houthis claim to be aiming their strikes at Israeli shipping as a show of support for the Palestinians, but as it’s turned out they seem to be targeting a variety of shipping actors. This threat to global shipping prompted a significant response form the international community, including Canada. Yet, Canada’s contribution (or lack thereof) has highlighted some serious flaws in our current naval capabilities, and frankly in our general military capabilities. Today on the show, we have brought on Christopher Roberts from the University of Calgary to talk about the history of Canada’s involvement in Africa, with a particular focus on our naval contributions in the post 9-11 era. This is a fantastic discussion where we spend quite a bit of time talking about the current state of Canada’ s military in an increasingly volatile world and exploring some of the lesser known Canadian military operations in and around the African continent. Christopher Roberts is a Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and an instructor in Political Science at the University of Calgary. For over thirty years he's worked on African-related security, business, and development issues. He's currently the administrator of the global African Navies Research Network and has an article coming out, with Rob Huebert, on Canada and African maritime security in the next issue of Canadian Naval Review. You can follow him on Twitter/X at @cwjroberts.The CGAI is Canada’s most credible source of expertise on global affairs. Established in August 2001 and based in Calgary and Ottawa the CGAI is a registered charity which comments repeatedly in the media and publishes extensively on defence, diplomacy, trade, resources, and development. You can check out CGAI at their website CGAI.caYou can also listen to their podcasts by subscribing to the show The CGAI Podcast Network.
S9E10 The Beginning of the End: The 1758 Siege of Louisbourg29:06The fortress of Louisbourg was once thought to be one of the finest fortresses of its day. It was considered a marvel of engineering, a dominating position that helped secure French control over the eastern seaboard of modern day Canada. Today, the fortress is one of the most important historical places in the country, it was at the centre of French control over what would become Canada and was the site of several key battles. The story of Louisbourg sheds light on the decades long colonial struggle for empire in North America. In fact, the siege of Louisbourg in 1758 would play a key role in determining the outcome of that conflict in North America, and ultimately the entire fate of the British-French rivalry for continental control. Book recommendation: The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America by Walter R. Borneman. HarperCollins, 2006. Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/curiouscanadianhistory
S9E9 - A Ballistic Decision: Canadian Intelligence Services and the Cancellation of the Avro Arrow36:54The Avro Arrow is a topic that has fascinated Canadians since its controversial cancellation in 1959. However, in the last ten years the narrative has changed dramatically from an American plot to ruin our aerospace industry to a decision made by the Canadian government based on very real calculations about the security threat to North America and the changing defence landscape of the late 1950s. In this episode we talk with Alan Barnes who has recently uncovered some incredible research that shows how important Canadian intelligent services were to the decision to cancel the Avro Arrow project. Alan has clearly uncovered that not only was the cancellation of the Arrow a highly calculated move by the Diefenbaker government but Canada’s newly established intelligence services played a key role in helping the Canadian government predict the future of defence issues which in turn spelled the end of the Arrow project. Alan Barnes was an analyst and a manager of analysts in the Canadian intelligence community for over 25 years. He served as a military intelligence officer, and as the Middle East analyst in the Political Intelligence Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Mr. Barnes moved to the Intelligence Assessment Secretariat (IAS) of the Privy Council Office when that organization was formed in 1993 and was the Director of the IAS Middle East and Africa Division from 1995 until his retirement in 2011. Mr. Barnes played a key role in the IAS's efforts to improve analytical tradecraft and in the training of new analysts. Since his retirement Mr. Barnes has continued his work on issues related to intelligence assessment. He is currently researching the history of strategic intelligence in Canada since 1945 and is Project Co-Leader of the Canadian Foreign Intelligence History Project (CFIHP). CFIHP is a collaborative effort to encourage the study of foreign intelligence in Canada and to facilitate access to archival records on this subject. By working together, researchers have a better chance of overcoming the many challenges associated with working in this field.
Holiday Reboot - The Upper Canadian Militia during the War of 181216:53For this 2023 Holiday Reboot episode we go back to Season 2 Episode Six for a look at the militia of Upper Canada during the early days of the War of 1812. On paper, the militia was a sizeable force, yet in reality it was dubious in its commitment to the defence of Canada and questionable in its quality to do so were they even to show up. A British general by the name of Isaac Brock was responsible for this rag-tag group of would-be soldiers and he did his very best to ensure both their loyalty and that they could contribute once battle erupted. Despite the questions surrounding this group, in the early days of the War of 1812 the militia was present at every major battle and while never really the crucial factor in winning battles was nonetheless necessary for the defence of Upper Canada in the face of multiple American invasions. Enjoy this trip back to 1812!Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/curiouscanadianhistory
Holiday Reboot - S2E1 The Strangest Tale of WW2: The Battle for Castle Itter19:28For this 2023 Holiday Reboot episode we go way back to Season 2 Episode 1 for one of the strangest tales of the Second World War. In the closing days of the conflict a group of VIP prisoners, incarcerated at Castle Itter in Austria, near the city of Tyrol, fight a desperate battle against a murderous band of SS Soldiers seeking to inflict death across the Austrian countryside as the Third Reich collapses. While the prisoners themselves are a mixed bag of Europeans, they are eventually joined by deserters from the German Wehrmacht, Austrian resistance fighters and even an SS officer who helps lead the defence. It is an odd, strange tale that I promise has a Canadian connection. Enjoy! Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/curiouscanadianhistory
S9E8 Confederates in Canada and the Canadian Connection to Lincoln's Assassination25:47On the 30th of May 1867 Jefferson Davis, former president of the Confederate States of America, arrived in Toronto following his imprisonment after the Civil War. In a speech to a crowd of Canadian onlookers he said, “I thank you for the honour you have shown me, May peace and prosperity be forever the blessing of Canada, for she has been the asylum of many of my friends, as she is now an asylum for myself, may god bless you all.” What did he mean by an asylum for himself and many of his friends? When looking back on the Civil War it is difficult to sympathize with anyone who served on behalf of a political institution that sought to keep hundreds of thousands of people brutally enslaved. Yet, the reality is that back in the 1860s certain parts of Canada, and sizeable groups of Canadians and Maritimers, were indeed sympathetic to the southern cause, if not outright supportive. Various parts of British North America were used by Confederate spies, agents and saboteurs to conduct operations against Abraham Lincoln’s Union. In certain quarters of some cities and towns Confederates and their supporters could be found drinking, socializing, drumming up support, raising money, planning miliary operations and even dreaming of murder. BOOK RECO: The North Star: Canada and the Civil War Plots against Lincoln by Julian Sher, published by Alfred E. Knopf Canada in 2023Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/curiouscanadianhistory
S9E7 Big Men Fear Me - The Life and Times of George McCullagh35:19The Globe and Mail is an absolute fixture of the Canadian media landscape. One would be hard pressed to find a single Canadian who would not know what the Globe and Mail is, or could not name it if asked to name three Canadian newspapers. Yet so few Canadians know the man who founded it. This man was a figure of Gatsby-esque proportions. A media mogul, a sports enthusiast, a wealthy and connected Toronto elite who had immense influence over both the Canadian cultural and political landscape. He was also a man who harboured a dark secret, a secret that eventually killed him. The guest for today is Mark Bourrie, author of Big Men Fear Me: The Fast Life and Quick Death of Canada’s Most Powerful Media Mogul.Mark wrote as a freelance correspondent for the Globe and Mail from 1978 to 1989 and for the Toronto Star from 1989 to 2004 and was a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery from 1994 to 2018. Mark taught media history and journalism at Concordia University, history at Carleton, and Canadian Studies at the University of Ottawa. He is the author of 13 books and his 2019 book Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre Radisson, was a Canadian best-seller and winner of the RBC Charles Taylor Prize for literary excellence. Mark has also been the recipient of several major media awards, including a National Magazine Award and has written extensively on topics for both history and law.Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/curiouscanadianhistory
S9E6 The SS in Canada Part Two31:05Back in episode 4 myself and historian Per Anders Rudling spoke in length about the history behind Ukrainian Waffen SS veterans settling in Canada in the aftermath of the Second World War. This discussion was a result of the embarrassing moment in Canada’s parliament where parliamentarians gave a former Waffen SS soldier a standing ovation. Our conversation was so good and there was so much covered we decided to turn it into a two parter. Thus, in this second part of our discussion we explore why the history of Waffen SS veterans in Canada took so long to come out, what this says about Canada, what it means for Canadian history and the history of Ukrainians in Canada, and finally the serious backlash that Per has received while uncovering this issue including serious efforts to silence him. Per Anders Rudling is a historian at Lund University in Sweden who focuses on the subject of nationalism, historical culture and historical memory in areas that today make up parts of Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. He 2015 he published The Rise and Fall of Belarusian Nationalism which became an award winning work. Per is currently researching Ukrainian nationalism during the Cold War. Twitter – https://twitter.com/DocBorysPatreon – https://www.patreon.com/curiouscanadianhistory