6 June 2014
The Effects of the Cold War on Canada
Since the beginning of time, humans have thrived through their own wars. Whether they be internal, personal, or worldwide, they have all undergone the struggle, fight, and passion of war. Yet, in the late 1940s, “war” changed forever. In the post World War II era from 1946 to 1991, a universal conflict arose between two of the worlds leading superpowers, the communist Soviet Union and the democratic United States of America. Their differences, most notably their visions of a postwar Europe, drove the allied nations into an ideological battle, known as the Cold War, with propaganda and massive arsenals of atomic weapons pointed directly at one another. It became apparent that the Cold War would pose a threat to the future of the world and to the survival of mankind itself. Because of the unwarranted abuse average civilians endured, the impressively rapid advancement of military technology, and the unsettling fear it generated, the Cold War ultimately had a negative impact on Canada.
To begin with, during the Cold War, thousands of individuals experienced brutal mistreatment and manipulation, especially women, communists, and children. As homemakers, women were denied their right an education because the education which they received in college was more urgently needed by men to do the work of the atomic age. A woman’s patriotic duty was to maintain the home; seeing that there was much they could do about the crisis in the humble role of a housewife. (Runte) Years of being subjected to abuse and belittling before World War I returned throughout Canada as men continued to dominate their wives and perceive them as servants. The strengths and skills women demonstrated during the war years were repressed during the Cold War, and once again, women had to face the
Samaroo 2 misfortunes of sexism. During the Cold War, it was believed that women’s patriotic duties were to maintain the home, and their educational goals were redirected from career development to marriage. Gender roles were reinforced; denying women the opportunity to fulfill their lifetime goals and stripping them of their dignity and voice. Men reasoned that women were worthless and their only purpose was to make babies, when in reality women were underestimated, powerful figures. To make matters worse, women surrendered to obedience rather than confidently standing up for their rights as they did during the war years. Women felt pressured into constantly having to please their husbands and ensure they did not do anything to risk being neglected from men. They did not fight back, nor did they try to get away from it; women simply succumbed to shutting down emotionally and suffering repeated violence and submission. The Cold War devalued women and restricted them from reaching their full potential. In addition to women, during the Cold War, Canada joined its southern neighbour in an effort to unearth homegrown communists, real or imagined. According to an eyewitness account, “One kid I knew, named Tim, had a father who ran as a Communist candidate in provincial elections. Tim was always being beaten up on his way to school by bullies who called him a commie” (Laxer). Communism put all forms of property in the public's hands, and privileges and rights were equally distributed to the population regardless of social status. During the Cold War, being a communist threatened the democratic government of Canada, and the word “communist” became synonymous with the words “Russian spy.” Communists would be accused of harboring information about American advancements and revealing it to Russian forces. Anyone involved in communism or part of a communist family endured inequality and disapproval from allied nations, merely because their ideologies of existing in an