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Lecture

Diefenbaker


Department
History
Course Code
HIS311Y1
Professor
Chris Pennington

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HIS311 Thursday January 26th 2012
The “Demented Decade”
The nuclear arms race
- By 1949 the soviets had developed the atomic bomb and thus both sides had nuclear
capabilities
Hydrogen bombs and ICBMs
o In 1952 the US developed the hydrogen bomb and a year later the Soviets developed
their own
o Over the course of the 1950s there was a steadily escalating series of nuclear tests
o Another development was the ICBM (inter-continental ballistic missile) and it made the
world much smaller
o It could be launched from the US to the USSR and vice versa
- The Americans perceived there was a missile gap
The “space race
- Race to get functioning satellites up in space and then the race to reach the moon, and then
finally to get human beings to the moon
Sputnik, 1957
o Russians won the first part of the race, first satellite
o Panic in North America; fear that they were falling behind
Berlin Wall, 1961
- As a consequence of defections from East Berlin to the democratic West Berlin, the Communist
government erected a wall
Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
- Closest that both sides came to actually launching a nuclear attack
The “Chief” – John G. Diefenbaker
- Defense lawyer from Saskatchewan
- Progressive Conservative leader, 1956-57
- Prime Minister of Canada, 1957-63
- Diefenbaker was a mesmerizing public speaker
- In 1957 he won a minority government and in 1958 he won the biggest majority in Canadian
history
- He held the idea of uniting all Canadians around ‘One Canada’, Canadians without hyphens
- Introduced the Bill of Rights in 1960, gave Aboriginals the vote, etc.
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