Accession Number : AD1038789

Title :   The Military in Disaster Relief After the Explosion in Halifax, Nova Scotia, December 1917

Descriptive Note : Technical Report,08 Aug 2016,09 Jun 2017

Corporate Author : US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

Personal Author(s) : Matykiewicz, Charles E

Full Text :

Report Date : 09 Jun 2017

Pagination or Media Count : 126

Abstract : On December 6, 1917, the munitions ship Mont Blanc blew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The blast had one-sixth the power of the first atomic bomb and killed or wounded 20 percent of the Halifax population. The enormous ensuing relief effort was a success. Relief workers limited further loss of life, maintained order, and restored Halifax's wartime role as a critical port. Halifax was a military town, and forces from Canada, Great Britain, and the United States played a significant role in the relief effort. This study proposes that military contributions were critical to this successful humanitarian assistance operation. First, it provides a background of Halifax, the explosion, and a brief description of the military units involved. Next, it examines the three most critical military contributions to the relief effort: enough trained men and equipment to provide an immediate emergency response for medical care; authority to enforce security in the ruined town, enabling streamlined relief; and vital leadership to organize a systematic relief effort. Without these contributions, the relief effort would not have proceeded as quickly or successfully. The study concludes with implications for today's humanitarian assistance missions for which military forces are well suited, and the argument that the capability is a critical part of national strategy.

Descriptors :   humanitarian assistance , military operations other than war , first responders , health services , medical personnel , emergencies , first aid , patient care , nova scotia , Canada , military assistance , military hospitals , blast , wounds and injuries , civilian population , leadership

Subject Categories : Government and Political Science
      Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE