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Atomic Bomb’s impact on Canada

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The invention of the atomic bomb certainly brought extreme fear into Canadians’ lives after revealing its astonishing power through the massive destructions done at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although most people did not speak of this fear but it can be clearly seen throughout the cold war when the arms race between the two super powers at the time, the United States and the Soviet Union, split the world into two halves. On one side, there was the communist countries allied with the Soviet Union, and the other side was obviously led by the United States with a number of anti-communist countries. Although Canada did not have any direct connection to the nuclear arms race, we were certainly very scared that some day the nuclear war would come into reality therefore destroying the world. In preparation for this, Canadians tried peacekeeping as well as building hideaways to protect ourselves away from the mass destruction that might come true sometime in the not distant future.

The atomic bomb is certainly the most powerful and deadly weapon ever created. It has the power to “kill every living thing on the planet several times over” which none of the previous weapons ever had the power to do. As warfare technology developed quickly over the century, especially during World War II, so did the invention of bombs. During World War II, the most powerful bomb used before the atomic bomb came was the “Grand Slam,” which was invented in Britain during World War II. In average, most bombs used during the Second World War ranged anywhere from 100lb to 4,000lb in weight. In 1944, the invention of “Tall Boy” broke the record by weighing itself 12000lb. In 1945, the largest bomb ever used during World War II called the “Grand Slam” was invented, and it weighed 22000lb. This bomb had almost twice the power of the “Tall Boy” and was referred to as the most powerful bomb at that time. However, compare to the atomic bomb, these inventions are merely powerful at all. The atomic bomb has more than two thousand times the blast power of the British “Grand Slam”. Therefore it can be clearly seen that the atomic bomb is certainly the most fearful technology ever invented in human history.

The tension between the United States and the Soviet Union began during World War II. This type of relationship worsened when the United States first showed its astonishing power of the atomic bomb by using it against Japan in 1945. Part of the reason why the United States has decided to drop the bomb was also to show their power to the Soviet Union through the deadly effects at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the Second World War ended, the cold war began. The first event that intensified the cold war occurred on August 29, 1949, when the Soviet Union detonated an atomic bomb at a test site in Siberia. From this point on, the Nuclear Arms race really began between these two super powers. When the Soviet Union detonated nuclear bombs in 1949 and 1953, the race for nuclear supremacy was on. By the mid 1950s, the United States and the Soviet Union really tried hard to come up with more and more powerful hydrogen bombs. The leaders on both sides threatened to unleash their nuclear arsenals. The increasing tension between these two nations also brought extreme fear into Canada, since Canada is located right next to the United States, Soviet’s deadly enemy.

The first crisis that brought fear into Canada is Igor Gouzenko’s spy scandal. On September 5, 1945, a young clerk with the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa, Igor Gouzenko, walked out of the embassy carrying 109 top-secret documents. He announced to the authorities that he had evidence to prove that the Soviet Union was running a spy ring of civil servants and military officers in Canada. Gouzenko also claimed that the Soviet Union was trying to collect secret information about political activities, troop movements, and scientific secrets in Canada, especially information about the atomic bomb. This claim not only brought fear into Canada, but also the United Sates and Britain, for all three countries had been working together on creating the atomic bomb. This fear became worsened on August 29, 1949, when the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb. It was a great shock to the United States because they weren’t expecting the Soviet Union to possess the nuclear weapon knowledge so soon. This also means that the United States isn’t the monopoly of having the nuclear power technology anymore, this puts on a big threat on the United States and also brings great fear into Canada. The quiet Nuclear Arms race had begun, and Canada was afraid that the nuclear war would become reality sometime in the not distant future.

The Nuclear crisis reached its peak during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when it is reported that the interballistic missiles are poised to North America from a Cuban launching pad. This crisis not only brought extreme fear into Canada, but it also became a threat to North America. Canada held its breath when the two leaders, U.S. President John F. Kennedy and the Soviet Union’s leader, Nikita Khrushchev, exchanged stern warnings and threats of all-out nuclear war. American and Canadian air force units were also put on “red alert,” ready to launch attacks if the Soviet supply ships going to Cuba did not turn back. Many Canadian politicians spoke out about the imminent crisis and the desire for peace. Although fortunately, the Soviet Union agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba, or else the nuclear war could very likely have been erupted. The Cuban Missile Crisis certainly brought an intense threat to Canada and North America.

During the cold war, Canada improved its defence system in order to prepare for the nuclear war that might have erupted between the United States and the Soviet Union. For example, the emergency government hideaway was built as a top-secret station designed to house political leaders in preparation for the nuclear attack from the Soviet Union. NATO came into existence on 24 August 1949 to provide a united military force to be deployed against an armed attack on any of its members. Canada also became part of this organization because to help strengthen its defence power. NORAD, a development of an extensive collective continental air defence system by Canada and the US was developed to counter the threat of Soviet Long Range Bombers in 1950. Three electronic systems were constructed to provide early warning and co-ordinate air defence against a potential Soviet bomber attack in Canada in the 1950s. They are the Pinetree Line, Mid-Canada Line, and DEW Line. The construction of these defences required extensive pioneering in engineering and electronics. During the cold war, Canadians did all we could think of to protect ourselves from the nuclear war that might have erupted between the United Sates and the Soviet Union.

Not only did the nuclear crisis affect Canadians’ lives psychologically, but also our country politically. Some consequences were left from the fear we felt about the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. One of which is the fact that Canada moved closer to the United States during the cold war since the United States had more power and is more advanced in technology. During the cold war, Canada moved closer to the American sphere of influence as international tensions escalated. Another effect the fear had on Canada politically was Canada’s Communist paranoia during and even a while after the Cold war. The country became caught up in this paranoia and joined its southern neighbour in an effort to unearth native-born communists. The anti-communist investigations left a trail of destroyed careers and ruined many lives. The nuclear arms race between the two super powers also left little room for Canada to have a voice in international relations. Canada’s politics were flipped upside down during the cold war because of the Nuclear Arms Race.

The invention of the atomic bomb certainly brought extreme fear into Canada. It started off by showing it’s astonishing and deadly power in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then it started the cold war and the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Because of this warfare technology, a nuclear war almost erupted and destroyed the whole world. In conclusion, the astonishing power of the atomic bomb brought extreme fear into Canadian history by showing its effects in our country both politically and psychologically. It is also because this invention that the Canadians’ lives were with filled with fear.

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