Canadian Nuclear Weapons: The Untold Story of Canada's Cold War Arsenal

Dundurn
1
Free sample

"We are thus not only the first country in the world with the capability to produce nuclear weapons that chose not to do so, we are also the first nuclear armed country to have chosen to divest itself of nuclear weapons."

Pierre Trudeau United Nations, 26 May 1978

From 1963 to 1984, US nuclear warheads armed Canadian weapons systems in both Canada and West Germany. It is likely that during the early part of this period, the Canadian military was putting more effort, money, and manpower into the nuclear commitment than any other single activity. This important book is an operational-technical history and exposÈ of this period.

Its purpose is to bring together until-recently secret information about the nature of the nuclear arsenal in Canada, and combine it with known information about the systems in the US nuclear arsenal. The work begins with an account of the efforts of the Pearson government to sign the agreement with the US necessary to bring nuclear weapons to Canada. Subsequent chapters provide a detailed discussion of the four nuclear weapons systems deployed by Canada: the BOMARC surface-to-air guided interceptor missile; the Honest John short range battlefield rocket; the Starfighter tactical thermonuclear bomber; the VooDoo-Genie air defence system. Each chapter also includes a section on the accidents and incidents which occurred while the weapons were at Canadian sites. The final chapter covers the ultimately futile efforts of the Maritime Air Command and the Royal Canadian Navy to acquire nuclear weapons. An appendix includes the text of the until-now secret agreements Canada signed with the USA for the provision of nuclear weapons.

Illustrated throughout with photographs and diagrams, and supported by extensive transcriptions of original documents, Canadian Nuclear Weapons will be of great value both to scholars and interested laypersons in its presentation of what has been a deeply hidden secret of Canadian political and military history.

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About the author

John Clearwater is a military-strategic analyst. He recently graduated from the War Studies Department of King's college, London, where he worked in the field of strategic nuclear arms control.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Dundurn
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Published on
Feb 1, 1998
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9781459713185
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Canada / General
History / Military / Canada
History / Military / Nuclear Warfare
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In this second volume of his nuclear weapon series, John Clearwater continues to investigate the presence of American nuclear weapons in Canada. In Canadian Nuclear Weapons, Clearwater told the story of nuclear weapons that were in the hands of Canadian forces during the Cold War. In U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Canada, he goes further, looking at nuclear weapons held by American forces on Canadian soil. His purpose is to bring together until-recently secret information about the nature of the nuclear weapons stored, stationed, or lost in Canada by the United States Air Force and the United States Navy, and combines it with known information about the systems in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The history of the atomic bomb in Canada goes back to the first years immediately after World War II when the U.S. government, under the prodding of the newly created Strategic Air command, began a slow and steady process of talks designed to allow Goose Bay to be groomed for the eventual acceptance of nuclear weapons.

Crashes and nuclear accidents. Conspiracies and cover-ups. Clearwater examines them all in great detail. The reader will see for the first time the minutes of Cabinet and the Cabinet Defence Committee meetings in which the storage of nuclear weapons are discussed. Also printed here for the first time are the agreements between Canada and the U.S. for the storage of nuclear weapons. Many of the documents presented here were until recently classified as secret, and many were top secret.

**The Oscar-shortlisted documentary Command and Control, directed by Robert Kenner, finds its origins in Eric Schlosser's book and continues to explore the little-known history of the management and safety concerns of America's nuclear aresenal.**

A myth-shattering exposé of America’s nuclear weapons

Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America’s nuclear arsenal. A groundbreaking account of accidents, near misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: How do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? That question has never been resolved—and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind. While the harms of global warming increasingly dominate the news, the equally dangerous yet more immediate threat of nuclear weapons has been largely forgotten.

Written with the vibrancy of a first-rate thriller, Command and Control interweaves the minute-by-minute story of an accident at a nuclear missile silo in rural Arkansas with a historical narrative that spans more than fifty years. It depicts the urgent effort by American scientists, policy makers, and military officers to ensure that nuclear weapons can’t be stolen, sabotaged, used without permission, or detonated inadvertently. Schlosser also looks at the Cold War from a new perspective, offering history from the ground up, telling the stories of bomber pilots, missile commanders, maintenance crews, and other ordinary servicemen who risked their lives to avert a nuclear holocaust. At the heart of the book lies the struggle, amid the rolling hills and small farms of Damascus, Arkansas, to prevent the explosion of a ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead ever built by the United States.

Drawing on recently declassified documents and interviews with people who designed and routinely handled nuclear weapons, Command and Control takes readers into a terrifying but fascinating world that, until now, has been largely hidden from view. Through the details of a single accident, Schlosser illustrates how an unlikely event can become unavoidable, how small risks can have terrible consequences, and how the most brilliant minds in the nation can only provide us with an illusion of control. Audacious, gripping, and unforgettable, Command and Control is a tour de force of investigative journalism, an eye-opening look at the dangers of America’s nuclear age.
An incredible true tale of espionage and engineering set at the height of the Cold War—a mix between The Hunt for Red October and Argo—about how the CIA, the U.S. Navy, and America’s most eccentric mogul spent six years and nearly a billion dollars to steal the nuclear-armed Soviet submarine K-129 after it had sunk to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean; all while the Russians were watching.

In the early hours of February 25, 1968, a Russian submarine armed with three nuclear ballistic missiles set sail from its base in Siberia on a routine combat patrol to Hawaii. Then it vanished.

As the Soviet Navy searched in vain for the lost vessel, a small, highly classified American operation using sophisticated deep-sea spy equipment found it—wrecked on the sea floor at a depth of 16,800 feet, far beyond the capabilities of any salvage that existed. But the potential intelligence assets onboard the ship—the nuclear warheads, battle orders, and cryptological machines—justified going to extreme lengths to find a way to raise the submarine.

So began Project Azorian, a top-secret mission that took six years, cost an estimated $800 million, and would become the largest and most daring covert operation in CIA history.

After the U.S. Navy declared retrieving the sub “impossible,” the mission fell to the CIA's burgeoning Directorate of Science and Technology, the little-known division responsible for the legendary U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird spy planes. Working with Global Marine Systems, the country's foremost maker of exotic, deep-sea drilling vessels, the CIA commissioned the most expensive ship ever built and told the world that it belonged to the reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, who would use the mammoth ship to mine rare minerals from the ocean floor. In reality, a complex network of spies, scientists, and politicians attempted a project even crazier than Hughes’s reputation: raising the sub directly under the watchful eyes of the Russians.

The Taking of K-129 is a riveting, almost unbelievable true-life tale of military history, engineering genius, and high-stakes spy-craft set during the height of the Cold War, when nuclear annihilation was a constant fear, and the opportunity to gain even the slightest advantage over your enemy was worth massive risk.
The blockbuster #1 national bestseller

Bret Baier, the Chief Political Anchor for Fox News Channel and the Anchor and Executive Editor of Special Report with Bret Baier, illuminates the extraordinary yet underappreciated presidency of Dwight Eisenhower by taking readers into Ike’s last days in power.

“Magnificently rendered. … Destined to take its place as not only one of the masterworks on Eisenhower, but as one of the classics of presidential history. … Impeccably researched, the book is nothing short of extraordinary. What a triumph!”—JAY WINIK, New York Times bestselling author of April 1865 and 1944

In Three Days in January, Bret Baier masterfully casts the period between Eisenhower’s now-prophetic farewell address on the evening of January 17, 1961, and Kennedy’s inauguration on the afternoon of January 20 as the closing act of one of modern America’s greatest leaders—during which Eisenhower urgently sought to prepare both the country and the next president for the challenges ahead.

Those three days in January 1961, Baier shows, were the culmination of a lifetime of service that took Ike from rural Kansas to West Point, to the battlefields of World War II, and finally to the Oval Office. When he left the White House, Dwight Eisenhower had done more than perhaps any other modern American to set the nation, in his words, “on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.”

On January 17, Eisenhower spoke to the nation in one of the most remarkable farewell speeches in U.S. history. Ike looked to the future, warning Americans against the dangers of elevating partisanship above national interest, excessive government budgets (particularly deficit spending), the expansion of the military-industrial complex, and the creeping political power of special interests. Seeking to ready a new generation for power, Eisenhower intensely advised the forty-three-year-old Kennedy before the inauguration.

Baier also reveals how Eisenhower’s two terms changed America forever for the better, and demonstrates how today Ike offers us the model of principled leadership that polls say is so missing in politics. Three Days in January forever makes clear that Eisenhower, an often forgotten giant of U.S. history, still offers vital lessons for our own time and stands as a lasting example of political leadership at its most effective and honorable.

 

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