Canada's Response to the 1968 Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia: An Assessment of the Trudeau Government's First International Crisis

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McCabe, Angus




The new government of Pierre Trudeau was faced with an international crisis when, on 20 August 1968, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia. This study is the first full account of the Canadian government's response based on an examination of the archival records of the Departments of External Affairs, National Defence, Manpower and Immigration, and the Privy Council Office. Underlying the government's reaction were differences of opinion about Canada's approach to the Cold War, its role at the United Nations and in NATO, the utility of the Department of External Affairs, and decisions about refugees. There was a delusory quality to each of these perspectives. In the end, an inexperienced government failed to heed some of the more competent advice it received concerning how best to meet Canada's interests during the crisis. National interest was an understandable objective, but in this case, it was pursued at Czechoslovakia's expense.


Canadian History




Carleton University

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