Canada And The Cold War Essay

1253 words - 5 pages

The Cold War was a period of tension between the USSR and the US; although at one point the Soviet Union and the United States were allies due to the enemy they had in common, Nazi Germany. The Cold War was not an actual physical war, only the Korean War was the physical war. This time of tension started due to distrust between the two nations. Canada as a founding member of NATO played a significant role in the Cold War, and contributed greatly during the period of tension. As well as NATO, Canada was also heavily involved in many other aspects of the Cold War such as NORAD, the Korean War, and the Gouzenko case.
Canada was influential in the development of NATO; it had been a member of NATO since it was founded in 1949. The purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was to unify the western allies and strengthen the military as a reaction to a possible threat from the Soviet Union and its allies. In 1949 many countries signed a contract to be part of the organization including: Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, Iceland, Luxembourg, United States, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Portugal.² Canada gained benefits from being part of NATO such as the ability to have a say in alliance policy, and now Canada would be able to “deal with the US on a multilateral context.” ¹ NATO also provided safety for Canada from the potential aggression of the Soviet Union. Canada’s armed forces were the most engaged, and active responsive armed forces within NATO. Canada’s priority in NATO was to ensure that all allies remain modern and are able to face the threats during the time period.
Canada was not just a member of NATO only, but it was also part of NORAD. NORAD is the North American Aerospace Defence Command. It is a USA-Canada organization that has been set up as a response to the Cold War. It provides the North American air space with protection in case of an attack. The base of this defence command was located in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, and North Bay, Ontario. The Royal Canadian Air force (RCAF) and the United States Air Force (USAF) would be placed under command in case of a real threat. “The Pine-tree line and the mid-Canada line were one of the most efficient radars of the DEW line, and were designed to detect a surprise attack,”³therefore giving the US the advantage to launch a counterattack. NORAD created a major change for Canada; Canada was now cooperating with the USA primarily rather than Britain.
DEW line stands for Distant Early Warning; “the DEW line was sixty three early warning radar stations”4 that stretched across the northern part of the North American continent from Alaska to Greenland, most of the stations were located in Canada. Construction of the DEW line began in 1955 and took about thirty two months to complete. The DEW line was in use in August 1957. The radars were a way to detect Russian bombers into North American airspace. The DEW line was a direct reaction to the soviet threat.
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