Cloudy Visions: Weapons and Defence in Canada

The infamous mushroom cloud synonymous with a nuclear explosion evokes a different response depending on audience. Most will immediately harken back to the Second World War when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Others may think of Cold War nuclear tests by Britain and the former Soviet Union (Russia). Depending on perspective, you might awe at the display of power or cringe at the thought of chaos and annihilation. Today we are far removed from the volatile circumstances that resulted in the first use of atomic weaponry, despite what former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev might think. Yet the evolution and proliferation of weapons technology continues at a rapid pace, and destruction of both property and peoples is ongoing. In attempting to somehow measure or quantify human life, many scholars point to death toll statistics in times of both war and peace. These studies aim not to reduce the fragility of human existence to numbers, but rather to help explore the conditions that led to an awful reality. One of those conditions is weapons creation, and on that topic Canada is certainly not as innocent as many think.

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