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342 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Indeed, as Watson is careful to point out, life as an infantryman is always one of hardship and drudgery punctuated by intense moments of battle. Korea was no different. But taking up the vantage point of the troops fighting in the hills of Korea, Watson argues that the Canadian leadership, both political and military, left the Canadian troops unprepared for the war, making the infantrymen=s experiences >far more difficult and unpleasant that they need have been.= Watson amply discusses these insufficiencies, showing how, even at the early point of recruitment, pressure to fill the roles quickly led normal vetting procedures to be abandoned, such that in one case even a man with a wooden leg was not turned away. Troops were suited in winter clothing with nylon shells that when rubbed together made loud noise, hardly amenable to the style of stealth patrol fighting at night that characterized much of the combat in the last two years of the war. Training had been designed for the European theatre, leaving the infantrymen, whether individually or collectively, without the proper preparation for the static, hill warfare. But perhaps most incredibly, the high command failed to provide appropriate weapons, leaving soldiers with rifles and hand grenades ill suited to the style of battle in Korea. Watson explains how the lack of preparation extended into the Canadian army=s incapability >of attending to the needs of its men.= Making comparisons to other allied troops, in particular the Americans and British, Watson shows how in matters as simple as writing paper, food, and bivouac equipment the Canadian soldiers endured unnecessarily primitive conditions. Even medical precautions were insufficient. Efforts to contain venereal disease were minimal, leading Canadian soldiers to have a rate of infection unprecedented in Canadian military history, reaching a height of 611 infections per thousand. Fully 70 per cent of non-battle casualties fell into this category, proof of what one soldier described as a typical feeling among the troops, >Why fight? ... drink and fuck instead.= What was the upshot of this lack of training, ill-suited supplies, and lack of attention? In his answer to this question, Watson separates himself from most other authors on this subject, concluding that >The Canadians did not perform particularly well in Korea.= Or more strongly, >The reality was that Canadian patrols were routinely outgunned and outfought by a highly capable Chinese enemy.= Such observations are offered by the author in the spirit of constructive criticism, yet his rich account leaves a dismal impression of this particular moment in Canadian military history. (ANDRE CHMID) S Jamie Glazov. Canadian Policy toward Khrushchev=s Soviet Union McGill-Queen=s University Press. xxii, 252. $ 75.00 Canadian Policy toward Khrushchev=s Soviet Union is the first study to detail Canada=s Soviet policy in the immediate post-Stalin era, from 1953 to 1964. humanities 343 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Jamie Glazov argues that Canada=s policy was unique because it served to contain as well as to accommodate the Soviet Union. According to him, Canada wished to serve as an intermediary in the East-West conflict because its policy-makers, primarily Lester B. Pearson, believed that any kind of moderation within the Soviet Union would lead to its fragmentation and eventual collapse. In this connection, Glazov states that accommodation was a proactive policy devised and pursued by the St Laurent government and later obscured by the Diefenbaker government. In his opinion, the consequences of Gorbachev=s reforms >vindicated= Canada=s Soviet policy, and therefore, the St Laurent government should be recognized for the important role its Soviet policy played in helping to win the Cold War. By relying almost exclusively upon Canadian archival sources, Glazov fails to demonstrate how Canada=s Soviet policy affected international relations, let alone the extent to which it helped win the Cold War. Although the Canadian documents reveal a fascinating story about the evolution of Canada=s unique Soviet policy, they do not tell us a lot about the way in which the two superpowers waged the Cold War. It should be...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 342-344
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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