Topic: HistoryCanada

Last updated: February 5, 2020

Canada and the U.S.A were not always allies. During the war of 1812 British troops burned down the White House in retaliation for the American attack on the city of York in Ontario. Nowadays you can say that the U.S. and Canada are the closest allies in the world, but this was not always the case. The Cold War was a tense time between the USSR and the U.S. but the relationship between Canada and the U.S. was being strained as well. The Canadian Prime Minister, John G. Diefenbaker and the U.S president, John F. Kennedy did not see eye to eye on most things which caused tension between the 2 parties. Diefenbaker refused to backup the U.S during the Cuban Missile Crisis. But this was not the only time Canada disobeyed the U.S . The U.S reached its breaking point when Canada refused to back them up during the Vietnam War. Although Canada and the United States’ relationship was strong by the end of World War Two, throughout the Cold War their relationship began to strain through Kennedy and Diefenbaker’s intense dislike for each other and Canada’s refusal to back the United States up in both the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War.
Kennedy and Diefenbaker had an extremely toxic relationship. Diefenbaker was an anti-establishment socialist. Kennedy represented everything Diefenbaker hated. Before they even met, Diefenbaker dismissed him as shallow and over-privileged. With the presidential election decided, Diefenbaker sent Kennedy a congratulatory letter. He then waited for a response. He eventually had his ambassador in Washington ask whether the letter had been received. Only then did Kennedy reply. He was a lawyer and a politician who devoted himself to defending people who could not defend themselves. The U.S. wanted to station nuclear weapons in Canada. Diefenbaker said he would take them if Canadian autonomy and civilian control were guaranteed, and then only after exhausting attempts at global disarmament. Kennedy was frustrated by what he and many Canadians interpreted as indecisiveness. Kennedy accidentally dropped a secret document in Diefenbaker’s office. It listed places where Canada should be “pushed”. Diefenbaker threatened to release it. The protocol breach angered Kennedy.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world got to nuclear war. Russia had just stationed nuclear warheads in Cuba. Leaders from the U.S and the U.S.S.R were locked in a political standoff over the period of 13 days. For the American leaders, the urgency of the situation began with the fact that the nuclear warheads were being installed so close to the U.S. mainland, only 90 miles south of Florida. From that launch point, they were capable of quickly reaching targets in the eastern U.S. If this was allowed to become operational, the missiles would altered the image of the nuclear rivalry between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R, which up to that point had been dominated by the Americans. President Kennedy issued a blockade around Cuba until the matter came to a close due to an agreement between the U.S and U.S.S.R . This was not only a tough time for U.S and U.S.S.R, it was a tough time for Canada and the U.S after Canadian Prime Minister Diefenbaker hesitated to backup the U.S . The americans openly accused Diefenbaker of not carrying out commitments. Diefenbaker in return, blamed the americans for his election loss.
The Vietnam War started November 1st 1955 and ended April 30th 1975. It was the longest U.S. combat force participation. They were fighting in the war for 17.4 years. The Vietnam War was a long and costly conflict that pitted the communist government of North Vietnam against South Vietnam and its ally, the United States. The conflict was heated up even more by the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. More than 3 million people were killed in the Vietnam War, and more than half of the dead were Vietnamese civilians. Two groups of people appeared during this time, people who supported the and people who did not. This bitterly divided Americans, even after President Richard Nixon ordered a retreat of U.S. forces in 1973. Communist forces ended the war by taking control of South Vietnam in 1975, and the country was unified as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam the year after.
Canada and the U.S are most likely the two closest allies the world has ever seen, whether we like it or not. The relationship between has had its up and downs, like presidents and prime ministers hating each other, and Canada not backing up the U.S on more than one occasion, but in any case they will be the world’s strongest tag team.


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