The last good European war on North American soil–also the Kennedy Center’s fall Book of the Semester topic–gets spun by Canada:
David J. Bercuson, a military historian at the University of Calgary in Alberta, does not share Mr. Cohen’s criticism of the government, but he said he found its keen interest in the War of 1812 somewhat mysterious.
“I’m scratching my head for the last year and asking myself: ‘Why is the government placing so much emphasis on this war?’ ” he said.
The answer, according to James Moore, who as minister of Canadian heritage is in charge of the campaign, is that the government simply wants the long-ago war, which few Canadians know well, to be remembered.
“Canada was invaded, the invasion was repelled and we endured, but we endured in partnership with the United States,” Mr. Moore said. “It’s a very compelling story.”
But because Canada did not become a nation until 1867, the War of 1812 was actually a battle between the young United States and Britain. Why the comparatively powerless United States took on the imperial power still remains a matter of considerable discussion. But the conflict did follow British interference with American trade and American concerns about Britain’s intentions in North America.