Sick and tired of line-ups, face-masks, social isolation, shortages, and endless protocols to keep everyone safe? Yes, COVID is annoying. It enough to make you flop back on the old couch and crack open another brewski. Indeed, it’s hard to look back and realize that we’ve been dealing with the disease since March – nine whole months. With a vaccine on the horizon, we can just about breathe a sigh of relief. When we’re eighty, we’ll have bragging rights that we fought the enemy and survived the COVID war. It might even be called WWIII.
Right now, nerves are fraying. There are those who have descended into a litany of complaints, bitching and refusals to co-operate. I’m glad they didn’t have to live through WWII. Of course older crocks always think the younger generation doesn’t have the same grit as people had back in ‘the good old days’, but maybe there’s something to be learned from the comparison.
The last time Canada had enemy boots on her soil was when the Americans launched their unsuccessful attempt to liberate us from the yoke of British tyranny so we could enjoy the antics of Donald Trump a few generations later. Canada is rather blessed in its ability to join in foreign wars without the inconvenience of bombs dropping on our heads or enduring the threat of foreign occupation. Of course these days the big countries can enjoy the benefits of a hostile take-over of Canada by buying up all the assets instead of risking military lives. It seems to be working rather well right now. But I digress…
It’s rather sobering to look at the deaths in WWII of military personnel compared to civilians killed in the war. Here’s a chart of a few countries and how they fared in that department. (statistics taken from the National WWII Museum in New Orleans)
Country Military deaths civilian + military deaths
Canada 45,400 45,400
Czechoslovakia 25,000 345,000
USA 416,800 418,500
UK 383,600 450,700
USSR 8 – 10 million 24 million
Germany 5,553,000 6 – 9 million
If you have any doubts about the advantage of not having wars fought on your soil, note that Canada didn’t have any civilian casualties in the greatest conflagration of all time. Czechoslovakia, on the other hand, lost roughly 320,00 of its civilians to the war. At the outset of the war in 1939, Canada had a population of 11 million people. Czechoslovakia (as it was then) had a population of 13 million people. It goes to show just how much it pays to be out of the firing line. Czechoslovakia lost about 3% of its population in the war and Canada about 0.004 of its population.
Already there’s a big difference between the two wars. This time the enemy has made it onto our shores and is marching through our streets. Canada has about 38 million people and we’ve lost 12,417 to COVID, roughly 0.0003 of the population.
WWII began in September, 1939 and ended in 1945 – roughly 69 months of all out conflict in Europe and 45 months from the beginning of the US involvement to the Japanese surrender (Dec. 1941 – Aug. 1945). During that time, depending where you lived, you faced shortages, starvation, wearing gas masks, line-ups for anything, concentration camps and Nazis anxious to march through your streets. Lots of people smoked cigarettes constantly to curb hunger pains and drank a lot – if they could find anything to drink and had to contend with the isolation created by thousands of family members fighting overseas, wondering if they’d ever return.
We’re soldiering through nine whole months of WWIII. For about 34 months, people in WWII watched the Nazi juggernaut crush country after country, like they were facing something invincible. Even the glimmers of hope that came in the middle of 1942 didn’t seem certain until late 1943.
Can you imagine COVID running rampant for 60 more months? Are we happy that Donald Trump wasn’t President back in 1939? Given his love of autocrats today, he’d probably be friends with Adolf back then and certainly wouldn’t think a little thing like Pearl Harbor should interfere with business.
So get a grip folks, COVID is a heck of a lot easier to beat than Hitler, and won’t take nearly as long. The inconvenience of COVID is undeniable, but it ain’t like living through WWII.