Thursday, November 02, 2017

Anniversaries thick and fast

One would not have predicted it fifty years ago, but in the historical significance stakes, the five hundredth anniversary of Martin Luther's launching of the Protestant Reformation in the fall of 1617 seems to be killing the one-hundredth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in the fall of 1917. Luther is still here; where did the Soviet Union go?  (But don't miss the film of "The Death of Stalin" when it comes to general release soon.)

Meanwhile in the disambiguation category, be it known that the Balfour Declaration issued one hundred years ago today, November 2, 1917, in which the British government recognized the need for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, is not the same thing as the Balfour Declaration of 1926, in which the British government recognized that Britain and the, ah, "white dominions" were
autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs.
Always seemed to me that that was a declaration that any post-1867 Canadian government could have made and made stick, but I acknowledge that is not the consensus view.

The Canadian engagement in the Battle of Passchendaele, or Third Ypres, was near its peak a hundred years ago.  The other day I heard Passchendaele described as another Canadian victory of 1917, but I prefer Prime Minister Borden's view, as delivered to British Prime Minister Lloyd George:
Mr. Prime Minister, I want to tell you that, if there is a repetition of the battle of Passchendaele, not a Canadian soldier will leave the shores of Canada so long as the Canadian people entrust the government of their country to my hands.
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