The advent of nuclear weapons in the 1940s brought enormous changes to doctrines regarding the use of force in resolving disputes. American strategists have been widely credited with most of these; Canadians, most have assumed, did not conduct their own strategic analysis. Avoiding Armageddon soundly debunks this notion.
Drawing on previously classified government records, Richter reveals that Canadian defence officials did come to independent strategic understandings of the most critical issues of the nuclear age. Canadian appreciation of deterrence, arms control, and strategic stability differed conceptually from the US models. Similarly, Canadian thinking on the controversial issues of air defence and the domestic acquisition of nuclear weapons was primarily influenced by decidedly Canadian interests.
Avoiding Armageddon is a work with far-reaching implications. It illustrates Canada’s considerable latitude for independent defence thinking while providing key historical information that helps make sense of the contemporary Canadian defence debate
Avoiding Armageddon is a well-researched study using recently released archival material that examines, in the defence and security context a very turbulent period in Canada's history. Richter's study ... is well-written, easy to understand, and logically organized ... Reading this book is time well spent.
Avoiding Armageddon is the first comprehensive, primary document-based analysis of the formative thinking that later developed into a major cornerstone of Canadian security policy. The author demonstrates a surpassing knowledge of the relevant literature from Canada, the United States, and elsewhere ... Written clearly and engagingly, [this] will be an extremely useful teaching supplement and research tool for those studying defence policy, as well as Canadian-American relations.
Avoiding Armageddon is both timely and valuable. Drawing on hitherto classified documents, it adds to our knowledge and understanding about a historical period, generating a re-evaluation of thinking about Canadian defence and foreign policy.
1 The Defence and Security Environment, 1945-9
2 Canada’s Air Defence Debate
3 Canadian Views on Nuclear Weapons and Related Issues of Strategy
4 The Canadian Debate on the Acquisition of Nuclear Weapons
5 Canadian Conceptual Understanding of Arms Control
6 Links between Canadian Strategic Thinking and Defence Policy, 1950-63
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