Canada in cold war essay

The involvement of the United States was the sine qua non in preserving the free world—that was an article of faith. Canadians knew this, but as neighbours of the United States, they had their concerns. That meant that the growing Canadian armed forces could put all their efforts into the defence of Britain, sure that the United States would protect their home base. The result was much the same. Nor could Canada any longer rely upon Britain for protection.

Canada had to be aligned with the United States. The Gouzenko case made this clear. Igor Gouzenko fled the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa with a sheaf of carefully- selected documents just weeks after the atomic bombs brought the Second World War to its ghastly end. His telegrams and memos made evident that the GRU, Soviet military intelligence, had spies in Parliament, the Canadian civil service, and the military, in the British High Commission, and in scientific establishments, including those working on atomic research.

Gouzenko knew of additional spy rings run by the NKVD , he told his interrogators what he knew of rings in the U. Gouzenko mattered. First, his defection and his documents, made public in February , and the subject of an extraordinary Royal Commission investigation, demonstrated that the wartime friendship between the Soviets and the West was over. Third, his documents showed that the assumptions of loyalty and trust that had been assumed to bind those working for government had been misplaced.

Now, ideas and ideology had to be probed; now, positive vetting had to be put in place; now, character weaknesses began to be rooted out. All had been targeted by the KGB , apparently with only limited success. The revelations of spying had been manipulated to point to a Communist and Soviet threat. To be sure, the Royal Commission report on the Gouzenko case was written in a reader-friendly way by an officer from External Affairs , the press making much of it, and anti-Communists and anti-socialists using it as a weapon.

But Gouzenko was not a Canadian creation. Moscow had committed the espionage—and it publicly admitted this, however unlikely that might seem. Those in Canada who had anticipated that the new United Nations could enforce collective security on an unruly world had seen most of their hopes shattered within a few years by Soviet obstruction and the wielding of the veto in the Security Council. The first stage in this process was the Marshall Plan.

The European economies lay in ruins, their cities shattered, food scarce and rationed, and the will to re-establish pre-war patterns of life not much in evidence.

Canada and NATO

Only the Communist parties flourished, and the view in the U. State Department - and in Ottawa - was that only American aid could turn the tide. The United States had already stepped in to assist Greece, proclaiming the Truman Doctrine as the way to help a faltering government and to replace Britain, economically too impoverished by war and reconstruction, to continue its efforts there. Marshall told a Harvard University convocation that the European countries should create a collective plan for reconstruction, and he put a proposal for assistance before the United States.

Like the U.


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The government had tried hard to re-build its British and European markets. In Canada, the developing crisis was precipitated by soaring imports of everything from jukeboxes, to oranges, to consumer goods, as Canadians tried to spend the money that wartime wages and unlimited overtime had let them save.

To what extent did Canada play a significant role in Cold War events Essay

In , Canada had no choice except to impose import restrictions upon American products to try to conserve its dollar supplies. The Marshall Plan, if the U. France, say, which had too few dollars to buy Canadian goods, could pay with Marshall funds, and Canada would both sell trade goods and increase its holdings of American dollars.

But for a superpower supposedly poised to step in to save the world and scoop up the rewards, the U. Senators and congressmen objected to bailing out the Europeans, and, if they had to do that , then, they said, every penny must benefit American farmers and workers, not Canadians. Still, events drove the agenda. The Communists seized control in Prague in February The next month, General Lucius Clay, commanding the U. Zone in Germany, sent a message to Washington that seemed to suggest war with the Soviet Union was imminent.

The Berlin Airlift soon began, with Canada declining to provide either aircraft or crews.

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The first preliminary discussions for a North Atlantic Treaty began. The drumbeats for war with the Russians were increasing in tempo. Certainly, such excesses were useful. Most in Ottawa did not believe that war was imminent, but if the American Congress and people could be frightened into believing that it was…. Once again, this served Canadian interests.

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The Second World War had pushed Canada into a bilateral defence alliance with the Americans, a position that left Canada trying to deal all by itself with a partner fifteen times its weight. The war had also demonstrated that Canadian interests and concerns could frequently be brushed aside by the great powers. Now, if Britain and Western Europe could be brought into the equation, if the U. The Soviet threat facilitated the desire of Canadian leaders to have the United States, not all that enthusiastic as Ottawa and its diplomats perceived it, join a permanent military alliance and to take a multilateral rather than unilateral approach to the exercise of its powers and responsibilities.

Indeed, a trans-Atlantic alliance held out the possibility of resolving one of the great Canadian dilemmas.

Gouzenko Affair

The negotiation of the North Atlantic Treaty is a large subject. What needs to be said is that Canada, perhaps instinctively, as suggested by Robertson, sought to broaden the discussions to include economic clauses. Robertson was the initiator of the idea of Article 2 of the Treaty. How could nations unite for defence, he asked, if they fought trade wars against each other? Neither did the Canadian signature on the North Atlantic Treaty, at least not immediately.

Signing on in April , Canada did nothing very much to improve its armed forces, to rearm, or substantially to increase defence spending. The Korean War, beginning in June , changed everything, especially the Chinese intervention in December that drove the UN forces reeling to the south. The Communist attack, and the winter defeat in Korea led to fears in Western capitals that the Soviet Union, now with nuclear weapons in its arsenal, was turning to military aggression to achieve its goals, and that Europe might be next.

For Canada, that led to the dispatch of an army brigade group to Korea and a second brigade group and an air division of fighter aircraft, more than ten thousand troops in all, to Europe in At the same time as it was fighting on the Korean peninsula, for the first time in its history, Canada began to create an effective, well-equipped, professional military. Clearly, Stalin had made a huge error in giving Pyongyang the go-ahead to strike south.

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At the same time, Canadian policymakers had real concerns about American leadership. Writing in May , Pearson noted that, in the event of war, the United States would be the dominant partner, but, he said, if the Western European countries are not occupied, they will be able to make some effective contribution to the political direction of the war. In Canadian eyes, however, containing the United States was also necessary, and disputes between Ottawa and Washington over the conduct of the Korean War, and the possibility of a negotiated armistice to end it, sometimes became very sharp.

The Americans, bearing the heaviest burdens of the war, resented being told how the war should be fought by the Canadians, who had a single brigade and a handful of ships committed to the struggle. Pearson expressed the frustrations best in a speech in April The days of relatively easy and automatic political relations with our neighbour are, I think, over. The Liberal government led by Louis St.


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  • Moreover, despite its general lack of interest in Asia, the Canadian government saw it as a duty to respond positively when asked—without any prior notice from the powers involved—to send military officers and diplomats to Indo-China in to serve on the International Control Commissions. This burdensome quasi-peacekeeping role later proved a blessing when the Vietnam War exploded into a major confrontation, and Canada could say that the ICC , continuing to work ineffectually while the fighting went on, prevented it from joining the United States in the war.

    For one thing, despite opposition in Washington, it had been on the verge of recognizing Beijing when China intervened in Korea. Laurent and Pearson worked hard at the United Nations to rescue Britain and France, mother countries and NATO partners, from the consequences of their folly in ineptly invading Egypt in collusion with the Israelis in the fall of Indeed, the two goals were positively inseparable.

    Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts at saving the world and, not least, the NATO alliance, but the Canadian public, unhappy that Canada had turned its back on London and Paris, voted the Liberals out of power at the first opportunity. Unfortunately, he also proved to be virulently anti-American, falling into difficulties with President John Kennedy that turned primarily around nuclear weapons.

    In , Canada and the U. Then, in , Diefenbaker cancelled work on the CF Avro Arrow , much to his political cost, and instead decided to acquire U. In , no-one appeared to notice the warheads question. Matters worsened dramatically during the sharpest crisis of the Cold War, when complete prime ministerial indecision during the Cuban missile crisis of October resulted in serious delays in putting Canadian interceptors in NORAD on alert.

    In fact, the Minister of National Defence MND acted on his own in ordering a full alert, while naval commanders put their ships to sea to shadow Soviet submarines on their own responsibility. Within days, the Cabinet splintered, the government fell early in , and after a brilliantly mendacious anti-American campaign that almost carried the day, Diefenbaker was gone. Pearson, accepted the nuclear weapons, and everyone expected continental harmony to reign anew.

    Gordon wanted to cut the flow of American investment into Canada, failed in his efforts when Canadian businessmen and the U. Pearson, in fact, had called upon the U. The nuclear stalemate, with its potential doomsday effects if war ever began, reinforced anti-Americanism in Canada, certainly more than it fed anti-Communism. In Cyprus in , where Britain had bases and interests in a former colony, two NATO members, Greece and Turkey, were on the verge of war over the island they both wanted to control.

    The object of this paper is to demonstrate that the Gouzenko Affair was a crucial event that contributed significantly to the development of Canadian intelligence capabilities, especially in the fields of counter-espionage and Signals Intelligence SIGINT. Canada increased its counter-espionage effort immediately after the Gouzenko affair, so that it could expose and punish Soviet agents and spies operating on Canadian territory.

    Canadian intelligence mobilisation resulted in a massive counter-espionage campaign assigned by the Royal Commission and executed with remarkable success by the RCMP. The paper then explains the reasons as to why the Gouzenko defection should be considered a catalyst for reform of Canadian intelligence. Subsequently, the paper proceeds by examining Canadian intelligence capabilities in the years after the Gouzenko revelations. In this section, emphasis is put on the fields in which Canadian intelligence developed the most—counter espionage and Signals Intelligence.