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Ian Hwang

on 14 January 2014

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Transcript of NORAD/DEW Line

For America...
Despite the installations of the Mid-Canada Line and the Pinetree Line since the beginning of the 1950s, new weaponry innovations from the Soviets made these defense lines obsolete. This meant the Soviets could attack America without early detection, and it was a serious problem for the Americans.
The Prelude
After the end of World War II,
The Cold War
began with the Americans representing Democracy, and the Soviet Republic leading the Communist nations.
Throughout the 1950s, both global superpowers initiated
The Arms Race
in order to possess more weapons in their arsenal than their counterpart.
For Canada...
Canada remained a strong ally to the West, but its proximity to USA and USSR meant it would be the most vulnerable in the event of nuclear warfare.
The Solution
In order to combat the ever-present Soviet threat of invasion, the North American Air Defense (NORAD) Agreement was signed in 1958¹⁹.
The NORAD Agreement had "...Canada and the United States [agree] to help defend each other.²⁰"
Canada also cooperated in the American effort to construct the Distant Early Warning system, or the DEW Line across the 69th parallel north for maximum mobilization in the event of a Soviet invasion.
In the Unlikely, but Possible Event of Invasion
The high-powered radar stations across the DEW line would recognize the object from 4,800km away, and alert the NORAD headquarters located at Colorado Springs, CO. Then, the headquarters would take appropriate action, from alerting the government to armed response, whether offensive or defensive.
How Canada Saw It
The Government during that time believed "It may be very difficult indeed for the Canadian government to reject any major defence proposals which the United States government presents with conviction as essential for the security of North America.²¹”
Many Canadians criticized the Government for allowing the Americans to take care of Canada's national defense, and allowing a very intimidating American presence in Canada's Arctic Territories.
Other Canadians supported the Government's decision to take part in a united defense program against a common enemy.
Full transcript