The Cold War was the period of conflict, tension and competition between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies from the mid-1940s until the early 1990s.
A superpower is a country with a leading position in the world and has the ability to influence events and project power on a worldwide scale.
Throughout the period, the rivalry between the two superpowers was played out in multiple arenas: military treaties, espionage, military, industrial, and technological developments, including the space race; costly defense spending; a massive nuclear arms race; and many proxy wars.
Proxy War Cold War
A proxy war is the war that results when two powers use third parties as substitutes for fighting each other directly. Iran-Iraq War, Lebanese Civil War
It is almost impossible to have a pure proxy war, as the groups fighting for a certain superpower usually have their own interests, which are often divergent from those of their patron. For instance, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,
Reasons for Cold War
Over the following decades, the Cold War spread outside Europe to every region of the world, as the U.S. tried to contain communism and sign numerous alliances to try and end it, particularly in Western Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.
Although the U.S. and the Soviet Union had been allied against Nazi Germany, the two sides differed on how to reconstruct the postwar world which cause more tension between cold war countries.
Cold War - The Beginning
The term "Cold War" first used by George Orwell in an essay titled "You and the Atomic Bomb." The essay was first published October 19, 1945 in the London Tribune.
During and after WWII the countries of Britain, Soviet Union and the United States meet and two main conferences: Yalta and Potsdam
The Cold War -Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, was the wartime meeting from February 4, 1945 to February 11, 1945. The leaders who met were Franklin D. Roosevelt (U.S) , Winston Churchill (U.K), and Joseph Stalin (U.S.S.R), respectively. It was a meeting on how to end the war and what to do when the Allies won.
Decisions of Yalta
Key points of Yalta are as follows:
1) There was an agreement that there would be the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.
2) After the war, Germany would be split into four occupied zones control by Russia, France, United States and Britain.
3) Germany would undergo demilitarization and denazification.
4) German reparations were partly to be in the form of forced labor.
5) Creation of an allied reparation council with its seat in Moscow.
6) A new organization, (the United Nations) should be set up to replace the failed League of Nations.
Allies Start To Separate
At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the Allies attempted to decide what was going to happen to Europe, after the war but could not reach a firm consensus. Following the Allied victory in May, the Soviets had many troops in and basically occupied Eastern Europe, while the US had many troops in much of Western Europe. In occupied Germany, the US and the Soviet Union established zones of occupation and a loose framework for four-power control with the ailing French and British was setup.
At the Potsdam Conference, starting in late July, serious differences emerged over the future development of Germany and Eastern Europe.
One week after the end of the Potsdam Conference, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki added to Soviet distrust of the United States. Shortly after the attacks, Stalin protested to US officials when Truman offered the Soviets little real influence in occupied Japan
The Long Telegram
In February 1946, the "Long Telegram" helped to articulate the growing hard line that was being taken against the Soviets by the United States. On September 6, 1946, James F. Byrnes made a speech in Germany, warning the Soviets that the US intended to maintain a military presence in Europe indefinitely.
The Truman Doctrine
By 1947, Truman's advisors were worried that time was running out to counter the influence of the Soviet Union. In Europe, post-war economic recovery was slow, and shortages of food and other essential consumer goods were common. Truman's advisors feared that the Soviet Union was seeking to weaken the position of the US in a period of post-war confusion and collapse.
In March 1947 the U.S unveiled the "Truman Doctrine". The Truman Doctrine stated that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent their falling into the Soviet hands. Historians often use it to mark the starting date of the Cold War.
Ready to Fight
Also in July, Truman reorganized his government to fight the Cold War. The National Security Act of 1947, signed by Truman on July 26, created a unified Department of Defence, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the National Security Council. These would become the main bureaucracies for US policy in the Cold War.
The US formally allied itself to the Western European states in the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949, establishing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Stalin countered by tying together the economies of the Eastern bloc in a Soviet-led version of the Marshall Plan, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), and exploding the first Soviet atomic device in August 1949.
Canada’s place in the post war world
Where was Canada in all of this? Canada was in a very different place in the Cold War than the last two world wars. It had shaken off the bounds of colonialism and was now considered a middle power . Canada was literally in the middle of the this war. Geographically Canada came between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The United States And the Soviet Union had great interest in Canada due to its location. Canada did have roles to play on the world stage which mostly occurred through the United Nations.
Igor Gouzenko - Spy Ring
Igor Gouzenko was a cipher clerk for the Soviet Embassy to Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. He defected on September 5, 1945 with 109 documents on Soviet espionage activities in the West.
Spying within Canada
The documents he had included information on letter drops, passwords, forged passports, and code names. This would soon prove a large spy ring within Canada.
The Distant Early Warning Line, also known as the DEW Line, was a system of radar stations in the far northern Arctic region of Canada, with additional stations along the North Coast and Aleutian Islands of Alaska, in addition to the Faeroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland. It was set up to detect incoming Soviet bombers during the Cold War.
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a joint organization of the United States, and Canada that provides aerospace warning and control for North America. It was founded on May 12, 1958, in the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center in Colorado.
At the end of the Second World War, Japan’s empire was destroyed and the Soviet Union, seeking to gain influence in the region along with the United States in Japan.
The Korean War was a conflict precipitated when the Soviet supported North Korean Army invaded neighboring South Korea supported by the United States on June 25, 1950. The main hostilities were from June 25, 1950 until the armistice (ceasefire agreement) was signed on July 27, 1953.
North Korean Attack
Tensions between the two Koreas grew to a climax and the military forces of North Korea attacked South Korea in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, June 25, 1950. Crossing the 38th parallel behind a firestorm of artillery.
This marked the beginning of hostilities which were to rage on for more than three years, throughout the country known to its people as the Land of the Morning Calm.. Thousands of Korean civilians running south were forced to hand-carry supplies, many of whom later died in North Korean air attacks.
The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. The DMZ cuts the Korean Peninsula roughly in half, crossing the 38th parallel on an angle, and is the most heavily armed border in the world.
The UN, created to resolve conflict between member nations primarily through dialogue and negotiation, also had the flexibility to use force in the pursuit of peace. The situation in Korea would require armed intervention, and 16 member nations, including Canada, would contribute military forces under United States command.
The resolution was unanimously passed in the United Nations Security Council thanks to the temporary Soviet absence from the Security Council. With the Soviets absent and unable to veto the resolution, the U.N. voted to aid South Korea on June 27.
The resolution led to direct action by the United States, whose forces were joined by troops and supplies from 15 other U.N. members: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, France, South Africa, Turkey, Thailand, Greece, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, Colombia, the Philippines, Belgium, and Luxembourg. However, the United States provided 50% of the ground forces (South Korea provided most of the remainder), 86% of the naval power, and 93% of the air power.
In mid-February 1951, units from Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and India joined to form one Commonwealth Force, as part of a north-eastern advance toward the 38th Parallel. Korea, a rugged country with hills, swamps and rice fields, also has periods of severe seasonal weather which hampered combat operations. By the end of March, Canadian troops were in the Kapyong Valley and in mid-April UN Forces were again north of the 38th Parallel.
Western politicians debated invading China at the risk of expanding the war, but decided against such action and in late April, 1951. Canadian and other Commonwealth soldiers entered the battle in the Kapyong Valley and helped the Americans retreat to safety. For this gallant action the Canadians were awarded a US Presidential Citation.
Heath Matthews, who enlisted in the Canadian Army as a paratrooper was wounded in Korea. This photo was shown across North America under the caption "The Face of War".
Early in July 1951, cease-fire negotiations began. However, there would be two more years of fighting until the signing of the Armistice at Panmunjom on July 27, 1953. The uneasy truce which followed left Korea a divided country, yet the first UN intervention in history effectively stopped the aggression, and the UN emerged from the crisis with enhanced prestige.
Canada and the Vietnam War
Canada did not fight in the Vietnam War, and diplomatically it was officially " non-belligerent ". Nevertheless, the war had considerable effects on Canada, while Canada and Canadians affected the war, in return.
A non-belligerent is a person who, or a country or other organization that does not fight in a given conflict.
During the Cold War, Canada was firmly among the Western democracies. As we have learned , Canada was a founding member of NATO , and was instrumental in the forming of that military alliance against the Soviet Union and its satellites.
Canada's foreign policy , though, was also committed to multilateralism, the idea of many countries working for one goal. Which was shown under Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson from 1963 to 1968. Canada thus found itself in a difficult position, caught between these two foreign policy objectives.
War or conflict what is the difference?
The Vietnam War, also known as the Vietnam Conflict, occurred from 1959 to 1975, ended with the North Vietnamese victory. Over 1.4 million military personal were killed in the war (approx 6% US forces), while estimates of civilian fatalities range from 2 to 5.1 million.
The war was fought between the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the United States-supported Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). The war ended with the defeat of the Southern and American forces, and unification of Vietnam under the communist government of the North.
Draft Dodgers and Canada
A large number of draft dodgers, young American men facing conscription for the Vietnam War, decided to flee to Canada rather than serve in the American armed forces. These young men became concentrated in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
The draft dodgers were at first assisted by the Student Union for Peace Action, a campus-based Canadian anti-war group with connections to Students for a Democratic Society in the United States.
Draft Dodgers and Mark Satin
Canadian immigration policy at the time made it easy for immigrants from all countries to obtain legal status in Canada. By late 1967, dodgers were being assisted primarily by several locally based anti-draft groups (over twenty of them), such as the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme.
End of War
As a counselor for the Programme, Mark Satin wrote the Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada, in 1968. It sold over 100,000 copies in eight editions
International Control Commission
Canadian, along with Indian and Polish troops formed the International Control Commission, which was supposed to monitor the 1954 ceasefire agreement. The Canadian government also lent diplomatic assistance to the United States to establish contact with the North Vietnamese regime.
U.S Pressure to fight
The government of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson resisted considerable U.S. pressure to send troops to Vietnam. Although not a major arms supplier, Canadian-made military hardware was used in Vietnam, including large amounts of Agent Orange manufactured by Dow Chemical.
Canadians and the conflict .
Most Canadians who served in the Vietnam War were members of the United States military with estimated numbers ranging from 30,000 to 40,000. Many became U.S. citizens upon returning from Vietnam or were dual citizens prior to joining the military.