After the end of World War Two, the world was split into two, east and west. This marked the beginning of an era called the Cold War. The Cold War was the most subtle war in history, but the world came very close to a nuclear war that had the potential to inevitably wipe out mankind. The two main opponents in this war were the Soviet Union and the United States. With Canada being the United States neighbour to the north and close to The Soviet Union geographically, Canada allied itself with the United States. This union cause a lot of political trauma, but it brought a lot of new technology to Canada and helped strengthen our relationship with the United States. Therefore Canada did ally with the United States, but at the same time Canada remained a sovereign nation and remained able to make its own independent decisions despite being allied with one of the world’s superpowers.
Canada lies right between the United States and the Soviet Union, so Canada was caught right between this arms race and tensions between the two countries. Although mostly siding with the United States, Canada often did not agree with the American’s policy and often had good relationships with countries that the United States were not on good terms with. An example of this is Canada and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and his relationship with Fidel Castro and Cuba. Amidst the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis which occurred on October 15th 1962 was the closest the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union came to nuclear war. This conflict took place over a course of fourteen days, and was the peak of the Cold War, because during those fourteen days, both the Americans and the Soviets had their fingers on their triggers and the entire world was watching as the worlds first nuclear war was nearly about to start, which could have very easily caused the end of the world. This crisis would forever go down in history as the event that nearly made a Cold War, hot. This crisis began because the Soviet Union was sending ships with nuclear warheads, soldiers and supplies to build nuclear missile sites. This operation was created by the Russian Premier, Nikita Khrushchev and was to intimidate the United States and have nuclear missiles pointing at them as the Americans had nuclear missile sites in Turkey which had the ability to strike the Soviets. The Cubans, being communists and allies with the Soviets, allowed them to have missile sites in their country. This crisis was a close call, but because of the work done by President John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, the issue was resolved. But the Americans did not trust the Cubans at all, because of their feelings on communism and how they had assisted the Soviets against them. Therefore the Americans severed all ties with Cuba and made all trade to the country illegal, as well as American citizens where disallowed to travel there, and this situation remains today. But on January 26th, 1976 Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, despite being allied with the United States and being a part of N.A.T.O, embarked on a three day trip to Havana, Cuba to visit Fidel Castro . This trip was highly controversial as both countries were allied with the two opposing superpowers during the Cold War, but both Trudeau and Castro were friends during this time, and when Trudeau died on September 28th 2000 , Castro attended his funeral in Montreal. This relationship between Trudeau and Castro identified Canada as an independent nation. Another relationship that Canada had with a country that United States was not on good terms with was that of China, with Trudeau making an official visit to China, something that at the time, the Americans would never do. Canada was allied with the United States, but at the time Trudeau established a friendship with the leader of the United States’ enemy, making Canada an independent nation, able to make its own decisions during this Cold War era.
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