Awkward Ally? Canada and NATO in the Reagan Era | Wilson Center
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Awkward Ally? Canada and NATO in the Reagan Era

Canada is relatively overlooked in the literature on NATO and especially the Euromissile Crisis of the early 1980s. In this talk, Luc-André Brunet argues that successive Canadian governments in the 1980s were torn between a desire to help improve relations between East and West in the context of the ‘Second Cold War’ and a policy of firm solidarity with NATO as ‘Euromissiles’ were being deployed in Western Europe. Under the left-leaning Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Canada pursued initiatives aimed at international arms control and East-West dialogue which proved to be popular domestically, but caused considerable strains with NATO allies. From 1984, the new Conservative government led by Brian Mulroney pledged to repair relations with allies, particularly the United States, but was unwilling to completely jettison popular arms control initiatives. Based on newly available archives in nine countries, this talk re-evaluates how Canadian policies were viewed by the allies, shedding new light on intra-NATO relations during the final decade of the Cold War. 

Dr Luc-André Brunet is Lecturer in Twentieth-Century History at The Open University and Acting Director of the Cold War Studies Project at LSE IDEAS. He received his PhD in International History from LSE, and has held fellowships at the European University Institute (Florence), LSE, Sciences Po (Paris), and the University of Ottawa. He is the author of Forging Europe: Industrial Organisation in France, 1940-1952 (2017) and, most recently, ‘Unhelpful Fixer? Canada, the Euromissile Crisis, and Pierre Trudeau’s Peace Initiative, 1983-84’ in The International History Review (2018).



  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center