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Historiography - Canada and the Cold War

  • Date Submitted: 03/26/2010 10:05 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 50.8 
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Studies of the Cold War are numerous and expansive.   The story of the war is much more than a story about the Soviet Union and the United States.   There is a gap in the scholarship, namely Canada’s role in that war.   Scholars like Denis Smith, Robert Teigrob, Franca Iacovetta, Reg Whitaker, and Steve Hewitt among others are filling that gap. In the relatively recent scholarship on Canada’s role in the war, there are a wide variety of opinions that have come forth.   Questions addressed in the studies include, when did the Cold War begin in Canada?   What was Canada’s role?   Did anything change in Canada with the emergence of the war?   Was McCarthyism worse than the methoda employed in Canada?.
To begin it is necessary to talk about the varying opinions as to when the Cold War started for Canada.   In their book Canada and the Cold War, Reg Whitaker and Steve Hewitt put the beginning of the Cold War, characterized by increased vigilance to root out communist activity at the disclosure of the Gouzenko affair.[1]   This sentiment is repeated in several other books.[2]   Igor Gouzenko worked as a clerk in the Soviety Embassy in Ottawa.   For weeks he had been collecting internal documents that clearly indicated the existence of an elaborate spy ring in Canada’s capital city.[3]   Part of his job duites were to encode intelligence reports from Soviet spies that were working in Canada.[4]   Late on the evening of Septemeber 5, 1945 he put hundreds of documents into his shirt and walked out of the embassy with the intention of defecting to Canada.   His attempted to turn his documents over to the Minister of Justice and was turned away, he was also turned away from the police station and a local newspaper office.[5]   Prime Minister W.L.M. King was informed and his first reaction was to leave it alone.   He is quoted as saying;
          “I said…that I thought we should be extemely careful in becoming party to a course of action which would link the government of Canada up with...

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