Think Like a Historian: Introduction to the Halifax Explosion

2. THE HALIFAX EXPLOSION: CAUSES & CONSEQUENCES WHAT WERE THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF THE HALIFAX EXPLOSION? Search the internet for images of the Halifax Explosion. You may also want to search the Canadian War Museum, The Canadian Encyclopedia , Library and Archives Canada, the Nova Scotia Archives and SOS! Canadian Disasters. Create a poster or PowerPoint presentation of the causes and/or consequences using images you found in your search. Add captions to the images, noting whether each depicts a cause or consequence. Create a commemorative postcard that captures one of the significant consequences of the Halifax Explosion. Choose a newspaper headline, quote, map and/or image from the Canadian War Museum, The Canadian Encyclopedia , Library and Archives Canada, the Nova Scotia Archives or SOS! Canadian Disasters to incorporate into your postcard design. 1. Substantial effect: Led to a dramatic difference in the way things functioned 2. Relatively permanent: Led to a lasting condition or development 3. Widespread: Effects were broadly felt across a particular society/time period 1 Criteria for Historical Change Cause & Consequence Historical events are not inevitable , but the result of complex relationships between causes and consequences. Short- and long-term causes are the product of the interaction between context (existing conditions) and agency (the power humans exercise). Some consequences are expected , others unexpected . For more information on the Historical Thinking Concepts, visit . What caused the Explosion? View the Think Like a Historian: The Halifax Explosion i ntroductory video and the Halifax Explosion Heritage Minute and read Halifax Explosio n on The Canadian Encyclopedia to learn about the causes. 1. Note any causes of the Explosion you observe or hear while watching the video(s) and reading the article. What questions do you have about the causes? 2. Explore a variety of sources to gather evidence about what caused this event. 3. In pairs, share the causes you have uncovered. Sort them into short- term (immediate) and long-term causes. 4. Create a timeline that presents the causes that led to the Halifax Explosion that you have identified in chronological order. Part A: causes Part B: consequences What occurred in the aftermath of the Explosion? Assess the most significant consequences. 1. In pairs, brainstorm the different ways a large explosion could affect an urban port. Create a list of consequences. 2. Explore various sources to gather more evidence about the impact of the Explosion, and identify other consequences. 3. Create a list of categories of consequences (physical damage, immediate responses, human loss, economic consequences, etc.). Sort your list of consequences into the categories you have created. Are there any outliers that don’t fit any particular category? If so, make a note of them. 4. Sort the consequences into expected and unexpected consequences. 5. Write a short reflection on the consequences you have listed. Were there any that surprised you? Were there any that you didn’t initially foresee? “Wrecked homes – Campbell’s [sic] Rd.”, 1917 or 1918 (courtesy Nova Scotia Archives). Modification 1 Modification 2 Research Resources For additional research resources, read “ The Halifax Explosion and the CNIB , ” “ The Halifax Explosion Feature , ” “ The Halifax Relief Commission ” and “ Halifax Explosion Map ” on The Canadian Encyclopedia and/or watch a 13-minute silent film on post- Explosion Halifax on the Nova Scotia Archives YouTube channel . Have a class discussion about the issue of responsibility in the Explosion. Which people or groups were responsible? Consider the following questions: How do we know whether someone is responsible? What does it mean to be responsible? How is responsibility different from blame? Write a reflection outlining your thoughts. Using the criteria for historical change [see below], have a class discussion about the most significant consequences of the Halifax Explosion. Take a class vote on which consequence had the most significant impact. Extension activity 1: Extension activity 2: 1 Adapted from “Learning about Continuity and Change”, The Critical Thinking Consortium,