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. He was a lawyer and a politician who devoted himself to defending people who could not defend themselves. Kennedy represented everything Diefenbaker hated. Before they even met, Diefenbaker dismissed him as shallow and over-privileged. 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
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.