Cold War and the Canada U.S. Relationship 1945-1957 Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3466 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 14  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World

¶ … United States and Canada has always been one of constant change. During the post-World War II era and through the emergence of the Cold War, the relationship between these neighboring countries continued to develop and change drastically, forever altering the way in which the two nations dealt with one another. During this time, Canada certainly followed some of the United States' foreign and defense policies, but the post-cold war era also proved Canada to be a self-standing nation, capable and willing to create its own policies based on the needs of the country.

This two-part paper will examine how the emergence of the Cold War affected the relationship between Canada and the United States in a positive way, allowing for an advancement of trade policies as well as defense policies, while at the same time causing increasing tension between the two nations in terms of independence. Secondly, this paper will discuss the foreign and defense policies of Canada during the Cold War era years of 1945-1957, and will show that although Canada may have followed U.S. policy in some areas, they also created and maintained their own foreign and defense policies. This paper will show that the beneficial, albeit rocky, relationship that emerged from the Cold War era between the United States and Canada allowed Canada to maintain its own foreign policy, and to dictate the future of its country.

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Even as early as 1921, relations between the United States and Canada were improving. In that year, Canada's exports to the United States topped those to the United Kingdom. Even though the turbulence between the nations continued, relations were definitely improving. By 1938, United States President Franklin Roosevelt had made a promise to protect Canada in the event of foreign aggression (Thompson, 2003). This was partially due to the United States realization that entry by foreign combatants into Canada would threaten the security of the U.S. Additionally, then Prime Minister Mackenzie King was an admirer of President Roosevelt, who treated King with respect (Thompson, 2003).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Cold War and the Canada U.S. Relationship 1945-1957 Assignment

The beginnings of true cooperation between the two nations occurred during World War II. During that time, Roosevelt and King negotiated to form a Permanent Joint Board of Defense, otherwise known as the Ogdensburg Agreement. Additionally during this time, the two leaders combined economic forces with the Hyde Park Agreement, which coordinated the economic war mobilization of the two countries (Hilmer, 1989).

Relations between the two countries were further improved by the appointment of a Canadian Ambassador to the United States. Until that time, Canada had been represented by the British Ambassador, and unofficially represented by Canadian diplomats in other areas of the world (Thompson, 2003). The step of creating an Ambassador specifically to assist with relations to the United States showed the Canadian's dedication to improving relations, and creating a combined trade economy with the U.S.

The end of World War II meant a time of reallocation of resources for Canada. At the time, Canadians were focused on foreign policies and relations, and did not have a clear focus of national security ("Cold War," 2002). Their assistance and large role in the Allied victory meant that Canada was now one of the more powerful nations of the world, having a large military and stable economy ("Foreign Policy, 2002). The Canadian government in power at the end of the war saw their role in the world's foreign market, and aimed to maintain it. As a result, the government drastically reduced the size of its military forces, forcing the military down to an active service strength of only 51,000 members ("Cold War," 2002).

Part of this decision was due to the newly created United Nations, in which Canada was a key member. Created in 1945, the United Nations treaty, much of which was drafted with the prime assistance of Canada, was designed to promote peace and security in the world. It also served to promote human rights, and security policies. At the time, Canada saw the UN as a guideline for their foreign and defense policies, aiming to promote peace, and avoid aggression ("Canada and the UN," 2003). As part of this policy, the Canadian government was focused on reallocating resources to assist in post-war recovery efforts, and diverted monies from the military for that purpose.

This concept of a defense policy certainly differed from that of the United States. Following World War II, the United States lowered their military personnel, but increased their defense funding of submarines, aircraft, and other vessels (Milford, 1997). In the post-WWII era, the United States recognized that the already unstable relations between the Western World and Communism were falling apart, and even the relations between the Allies of WWII were beginning to diminish ("Cold War," 2003). Thus, the U.S. military began work on naval planning and weapons acquisition with the Soviet Union as the enemy in mind (Milford, 1997).

The Canadian government realized their need for an increase in security not by the United States' lead, but by an incident in September of 1945. A clerk at the Ottawa Soviet embassy defected with documents that showed the existence of a Soviet spy ring in Canada. Not only were lay people involved in the ring, but some of Canada's top public servants and scientists were also involved, causing Canada to have concerns over their atomic research information ("Cold War," 2003).

This concern was shared by the United States, which further strengthened the bond between the once hostile nations. By 1947, Communist satellites were created on the borders of the Soviet Union, threatening Greece and Iran, and the Soviet Union was expanding its interests in Europe and Asia ("Cold War," 2002). Both the United States and Canada were concerned on the foreign policy front that the Communist nations were attempting to spread throughout the world.

This link of foreign policy, however, was not simply a following of America by Canada. In post-WWII Canada, the post war era was providing a solid economic foundation dependent on foreign policy and foreign trade. Following WWII, the government of Canada had dismantled many of the previous industrial controls to encourage foreign trade. Additionally, foreign aid and trade allowed for the discovery and development of new oil supplies in Alberta and Quebec. The trade of those supplies helped Canada to establish a basic standard of living, which included unemployment insurance, veteran's benefits, pensions, subsidized housing, and health plans ("Canada," 2003). Canada realized that without their foreign trade, which the spread of Communism was threatening, their nation's economy would severely falter.

Motivated by their need for continued foreign policy, and a need for a new defense policy, Canadian External Affairs Department member Escott Reid proposed in 1947 that an organization be created, consisting of Allied parties. This organization would provide collective security in Western Europe and all non-communist areas to counter the Communist threat. The proposal was backed by Secretary of State for External Affairs Louis St. Laurent and Lester B. Pearson, Deputy to the Secretary ("Cold War," 2002). Again, Canada acted on behalf of the nation, seeking to further enhance their defense strategies in the most economic way possible, so that their foreign relations would not suffer. Rather than acting from the lead of the United States, Canada took the lead, proposing a united strategy that would benefit all parties involved. The American government followed Canada's lead, and talks began among the nations to for NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

By 1948, the need for a solid security strategy had deepened. The once democratic government of Czechoslovakia had been replaced by a Communist coup. Additionally, the Soviet Union had blockaded the Allied areas of Berlin, virtually trapping the inhabitants within Communist Germany. In response, a joint effort by the United States, Canada, and other Allies was pushed, which airlifted food, fuel, and supplies for the trapped citizens of Berlin ("Cold War," 2003). This joint effort by Canada and the United States was in tune with Canada's new defense and foreign policies of providing assistance to Allied nations, and promoting democratic tradition.

By 1948, relations between the United States and Canada had begun to lose their post-war euphoria, giving Canada another reason to push for a NATO alliance. Due to a rise in imports from the United States, and an already existing financial crisis with foreign trade, Canada had no choice but to stop imports from the U.S. In the nature of positive relations, the U.S. added Canada to the list of "off-shore" sources of the European Recovery Plan, or the Marshall Plan. This meant that post-war recovery programs could purchase from Canada, resulting in an economic boom for Canada ("Cold War," 2003).

To avoid economic problems in the future, Canada and the U.S. set out to create a free trade deal. An agreement was reached that allowed for the removal of all duties and for the creation of customs unions between the two nations. However, before the deal could be completed, Prime Minister King pulled out. Citing skepticism of American motives, and fearing the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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