Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Roger Sarty

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


While the Cuban Missile Crisis has received a tremendous amount of attention from American scholars, in Canada the historiography concerning the Crisis is quite limited, with few monographs devoted to it. Typically the Crisis might receive a few pages of attention, perhaps a chapter in a book concerned with other topics. This historiographical “blind spot” has allowed misconceptions concerning Canada’s diplomatic and military participation in the Crisis to persist in this country’s collective memory of the Crisis, which is a disservice not only to Canada’s national heritage, but to the thousands of men and women who strove to prepare Canada for the possibility of thermonuclear war against the Soviet Union and its allies.

Making use of the most recent document declassifications and all available secondary scholarship, this thesis examines the true nature of Canada’s oft-overlooked contributions to continental security, and the increasingly hostile personal relationship between President John F. Kennedy and Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. Particular attention is paid to how understanding of these events has evolved with the release of once-classified materials over the nearly five decades since the Crisis.

Convocation Year