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Tuesday January 31st -- Diefenbaker

Course Code
Chris Pennington

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HIS311 Tuesday January 31st 2012
The Origins of the Kennedy-Diefenbaker Feud
Different backgrounds
- Kennedy was raised in MA by a wealthy, political family
- Diefenbaker was raised in rural Canada by a poorer family
- They didn’t have much in common
- Diefenbaker was a bit resentful of Kennedy, Kennedy was a Democrat while Diefenbaker was a
Different personalities
- Diefenbaker had grown up with something of a persecution complex (German last name)
- Kennedy was also a very arrogant man and didn’t have the ability to treat Diefenbaker with the
respect he needed
Different policies
Organization of American States
o A body of North American and Latin American nations which was presumed by Canada
to be dominated by the US since its inception
o Canada never opted to join the OAS, initially because Canada’s ties had been to Britain
and later on there never really seemed to be a pushing reason to join
Trade with communist nations
o Canada continued to trade with communist nations during the Cold War
Cuban revolution
o The American response to the Cuban revolution was to isolate the country
o US imposed a blockade on Cuba
o There were two schools of thought on how to best deal with Cuba: 1) isolate the regime
to cause unrest (which the US did) or 2) embrace that country
o The Canadian position was much more the second position, that it made more sense to
treat Cuba as a friend than isolate it as an enemy
Bay of Pigs Invasion, 1961
o In April, 1961, Kennedy authorized an invasion of Cuba, known as the Bay of Pigs
invasion, comprised largely of Cuban exiles with the support of the CIA
o Disastrous failure; Castro was well aware the invasion was coming
o Huge embarrassment for Kennedy
o Important because without considering the fact that Kennedy had already launched a
secret invasion of Cuba, it’s harder to understand and sympathize with Diefenbaker’s
position during the Cuban Missile Crisis
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