History of Canada
The Nuclear Bomb, the Cold War and the Voice of Women
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At 08:15 on 6 August 1945, the Allied Forces
dropped the 12,000 ton atomic bomb “Little
Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan. Over 80,000
civilians were killed from the blast.
•
On 9 August 1945, the city of Nagasaki was
destroyed by a second nuclear bomb called
“Fat Boy.” Over 75,000 civilians died
immediately.
•
Over the years, over 100,000 people have
died from complications of radiation
exposure.
•
Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945, and
WWII was over.
•
The world had entered into Nuclear Warfare.
History of Canada
The Nuclear Bomb, the Cold War and the Voice of Women
•
In 1945 the United Nations (UN) is formed.
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A primary UN objective was establishing democratic
governments in all liberated countries. The USSR
stalls the transfer of power to the Polish
Government, and as such, Poland is not represented
at the UN.
•
The Cold War begins. The new world superpowers
USA and USSR seek new resources for their
expanding empires.
•
In Canada, a Soviet spy ring was uncovered during
the 1945 Goushenko Affair.
•
The USSR occupies much of liberated Eastern
Europe. In 1948, the Soviet Union supported a
communist takeover of Czechoslovakia. In 1956,
The Soviet Union invaded and occupied Hungary,
and in 1968, the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia to
stop political reforms.
History of Canada
The Nuclear Bomb, the Cold War and the Voice of Women
•
In 1948, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was
formed to united the defenses of the democracies of Western
Europe, USA and Canada against the spreading Soviet Union
influence.
•
In 1957, Canada unveiled the Avro Arrow jet fighter to
intercept Soviet bombers. On the same day, the Soviet
introduced Sputnik and the intercontinental missile.
•
In 1958, the joint USA-Canada North American Aerospace
Defense Command (NORAD) was established to protect
North American airspace against a Soviet bomber attack.
•
For NORAD, the USA wants Canada to adopts the Bomarc
Missile. On 20 February 1959 (Black Friday), Canadian Prime
Minister John Diefenbaker cancels the Arrow.
•
Canada accepts the USA Bomarc missiles in 1960 WITHOUT
nuclear warheads.
•
The Liberals win the 1963 federal election and accept the
nuclear warheads. For a short period, Canada has nuclear
bombs.
History of Canada
The Nuclear Bomb, the Cold War and the Voice of Women
•
The Voice of Women was formed in 1960.
Canadian women (1) feared the possibility of
nuclear war and (2) questioned nuclear
testing with respect to endangering their
children's lives.
•
Writing in the Toronto Star, Columnist Lotta
Dempsey asked women to contact her if they
were willing to do something about the
nuclear threat. Hundreds replied, and four
women, Jo Davis, Dorothy Henderson, Helen
Tucker and Beth Touzel, met with Dempsey.
Soon afterwards, The Voice of Women was
founded.
•
Thousands joined. They paid a membership
fee of $2.00, and in return they received bimonthly newsletters urging them to form
small groups, share ideas and encourage
other women to join.
History of Canada
The Nuclear Bomb, the Cold War and the Voice of Women
•
In 1962, VOW organized an international conference
in St Donat, Quebec to (1) form a worldwide
partnership and (2) ask the United Nations to declare
an International Year of Peace. The latter was
proclaimed as International Co-operation Year in
1965.
•
VOW pressured the Canadian Government to support
the international appeal for a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
resulting in the partial test ban in 1963.
•
VOW collected thousands of children's baby teeth for
testing of Strontium 90 content.
•
VOW traveled to Moscow to meet with Russian
women in defiance of the Cold War.
•
In opposition to the Vietnam War, VOW brought
women from Vietnam to tour Canada on a well
organized public speaking tour and meet with
American women at border points across the country
at mass rallies.
History of Canada
The Nuclear Bomb, the Cold War and the Voice of Women
•
In 1977, VOW was granted Observer
Status at the United Nations.
•
In 1985, VOW organized the
Women's International Peace
Conference called "The Urgency for
True Security: Women's Alternatives
for Negotiating Peace.” Over 350
women from 33 countries attended
the conference in Halifax. The
women re-appropriated the word
"security" defining it away from the
military.
•
Today, VOW holds lectures, vigils,
demonstrations, etc. protesting war
events such as the Gulf Wars, the
war in Kosovo and the war in
Afghanistan.
History of Canada
The Nuclear Bomb, the Cold War and the Voice of Women
VOW has five primary objectives:
•
To unite women in concern for the future of
the world,
•
To help promote the mutual respect and
cooperation among nations necessary for
peaceful negotiations between world
partners,
•
To protest war or the threat of war as the
decisive method of exercising power,
•
To appeal to all national leaders to cooperate
in the alleviation of the causes of war by
common action for the economic and social
betterment of all, and
•
To provide a means for women to exercise
responsibility for the family of humankind.
History of Canada
The Nuclear Bomb, the Cold War and the Voice of Women
Why is VOW important?
•
For the first time, Canadian women worked
together for a political cause.
•
Canadian women united as a powerful force
and recognized that their efforts can shape
Canadian society.
•
The feminist movement arose from the
ideas of unity, working together and
strength. As such, VOW’s actions helped to
redefine the role of women in Canadian
society
•
VOW is active today. An example is the
Raging Grannies.
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Voice of Women