Canada and the United Nations Emergency Force, 1956-67
In 1957 Lester Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize for creating the United Nations Emergency Force during the Suez Crisis. A crowning achievement in a distinguished career, the award also established Canada’s reputation as a peacekeeping nation. Was this reputation earned, or do accounts of Canadian peacekeeping reside in the realm of national myths that obscure complex historical realities?
Pearson’s Peacekeepers explores the reality behind the rhetoric by offering a comprehensive account of the UN’s first major peacekeeping operation. The UNEF eased tensions and kept peace along the Egyptian-Israeli border for more than a decade. Yet peacekeeping has never been easy, and this mission was no exception: it faced tremendous challenges in its creation, its funding, and during daily operations. And the UN’s inability to imagine, let along manage, the withdrawal of peacekeeping paved the way for further hostilities between Israel and Egypt during the Six Day War.
By providing a nuanced account of Canada’s participation in the UNEF, this book not only challenges perceived notions of Canada’s past, it helps to more accurately evaluate international peacekeeping efforts in the present. It will appeal to students of history and political science and to veterans and general readers interested in peacekeeping, the Middle East, international diplomacy, and Canadian military and diplomatic history.
The creation of UNEF, especially Pearson’s role, recognized with a Nobel Peace Prize, is an important episode in the history of Canadian foreign policy that has entered national mythology. Carroll’s engagingly written book – the first devoted to the subject – not only addresses the politics and diplomacy of UNEF in the various world capitals and New York, but also provides a strong overview of the nuts and bolts of raising and sustaining the force, as well as a good look at what the peacekeepers in the desert faced.
Pearson's Peacekeepers brilliantly sums up the significance of the UNEF experience, which was both a failure and a wonderful achievement. Carroll's book is a major original contribution to the field. He shows that, although a so-called 'classic' example of peacekeeping, UNEF has far more relevance to current Canadian operations in response to international crises than is generally thought.
Foreword: Pearson’s Ambiguous Legacy / Robert Bothwell
1 Prelude to Suez
2 The Steep Hill of Suez
3 Blessed Are the Peacekeepers ... Even the Canadians
4 Let the Fun(ding) Begin: Financing UNEF, 1956-1963
5 Ad Hoc Ad Infinitum: Financing UNEF, 1963-1967
6 Peace by Piece: UNEF on the Ground
7 The Forgotten Army
8 Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen: The Withdrawal of UNEF, May-June 1967
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