Canada has always been known as a country of prosperity and security, but how was this affected by the constant military tension between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Immediately ensuing WW2 was the Cold War, and during this time, Canada was thriving and flourishing technologically and prosperity was as common as a kid on a playground. However, people still lived in constant fear. There was no actual fighting during this time, but the threat of spies and the ever present possibility of nuclear war held most of the Canadian population in a vice-like grip of terror. Despite the lack of feeling secure in one’s own country, Canadians still lived very prosperously due to technological advancements in entertainment and travel opportunities.
To begin with, in a war where there was no actual fighting, many people still lived in fear. Each superpower nation raced against one another to create new military arms and amass the most missiles. By the mid-50s, the Soviet Union and U.S. had already assembled a huge amount of newer and more devastating bombs (Butler 13). This instilled terror around the world as an all-out nuclear war could soon proceed. Canada responded to this by cooperating with the U.S. to create defensive measures in the event of a nuclear attack. A system of radar defenses were made, which consisted of the Distant Early Warning Line and the North American Air Defense. Duck and cover drills were practiced throughout the country and of course, bomb shelters were built (Butler 14). The ad, “Canada’s First Nuclear Fallout Shelter”, was distinctly made to address the feeling of insecurity among Canadians. It states that “[it was made] in keeping with the rising interest in civil defense” and that “[it] was optional with every home in Regency Acres”. This shows that the paranoia of a nuclear war was already so wide spread that companies already anticipated the desire for bomb shelters to be available under the home. Not only had companies anticipated the desire for bomb shelters, but they were so sure that people would opt to get one, that companies even scheduled “open houses” for the opportunity to inspect the bomb shelters. Even with all these defensive measures, the feeling of insecurity was still ever present.
On the other hand, there was an unyielding feeling of prosperity among Canadians. During the late 50s and early 60s a sense of optimism spread throughout the country and this brought on a boom in the entertainment industry (Butler 2). Televisions, radios, and record players were all in high demand. Companies took advantage of this and made various models of each device to satisfy the needs of every personality. As shown in the “Eaton’s Christmas Catalogue”, all these new entertainment appliances were made for the “lasting enjoyment for the whole family” (Eaton’s Christmas Catalogue 183). This suggested that a family needed nothing else to entertain them except for a television, radio, record player, or even all three and that it would not just be a fleeting moment of entertainment, but a perpetual one. This catalogue also suggests that a media outlet should be a staple need for every family. The companies are clearly making a sales pitch by putting them in a Christmas catalogue, but not such a stupid sales pitch that no one will buy them. Having all these models meant that either entertainment was at a very affordable price or that the economy was booming. According to this catalogue, prosperity fell nowhere near short in terms of entertainment.
Moreover, prosperity was not just limited to entertainment, but travelling as well. The huge population increase in the late 50s resulted in more demand for supplies, thus creating many new jobs and tremendously boosting the economy. An average Canadian’s income doubled and this allowed for luxurious vacations to places such as Banff National Park and Lake Louise shown in “The Canadian Train” ad (Butler 3). Such luxurious vacations were previously only dreams, but now made possible by The Canadian Pacific Railway. For the first time, cross Canada trips would just be like any common vacation taken now by an everyday suburban family. And these “common” vacations were lavishly designed and spoiled the guests profusely. Coach, tourist, and first class arrangements were all accommodated for at no extra charge. Even the environment within the train was specifically constructed to meet all the needs and comforts of the passengers. Deluxe coaches with reclining armchairs were available and there was even a mural painted on the walls of the lounge so that passengers “could truly enjoy refreshments” (National Geographic). These extravagant trips would have only been fantasies before the 50s, but with Canadians living in such a prosperous state, these trips were not only for the rich, but for everyone.
Throughout the cold war, Canadians experienced much prosperity; however, their sense of security was diminished due to the ever present threat of a Soviet invasion. There were several technological leaps that brought entertainment to the masses, as well as making travel more comfortable and affordable than ever. In contrast, technology was used to satisfy the ever greater need for security as the world seemed to balance on the brink of World War 3.
Butler, Michael. “Cold War Notes”. March 25, 2013. PDF file.
The post war period was a great time for most of the Canadians. It was finally the time to enjoy life after the six harsh years of the Second World War. My definition of prosperity and security is having enough money and wealth to enjoy materialism and buy new products, and living in a country where you feel safe and free from worry. With these definitions in mind, I think Canadians enjoyed prosperity after WW II, but didn’t enjoy security. The new technologies that were developed during World War II led to new inventions and devices. Televisions, radios and microwaves are just some of the examples. These new devices and technologies made life easier and changed the post war period dramatically. In addition, WW II ended the Depression because of the demand for weapons, engines and other war supplies. It brought prosperity to Canada, but people were still living in fear of a new, more dangerous weapon called the atomic bomb. Canadians enjoyed prosperity after the Second World War because of new inventions, but were still living in insecurity because of atomic bombs and communism.
Canadians enjoyed prosperity after WW II by buying new products. WW II resulted in new technologies, such as televisions and radios. Because of the booming economy, Canadians became more materialistic. They were willing to spend money on new products. You can see this materialism in the Eaton’s Catalogue; there were a variety of different televisions and radios available in different colors and designs. Every family wanted to have a television because they could afford it. The prices ranged from 219$ to 100$, so there were even cheaper televisions available for the people that didn’t want to spend a lot of money. As a result, televisions and radios were no longer considered “luxury” items because most families could now afford them. Televisions brought families together because they all watched television together as family time. Other home appliances invented and widely used after WW II include microwaves and dishwashers. Microwaves were developed from radar technology and led to millions of TV dinners that became popular after the war. Dishwashers also became popular in Canada because of the booming economy. These new technologies made the lives of Canadians, especially women, much easier because they were in charge of the household.
Just when the people thought there will not be war, another war started that was even far more dangerous. The Cold War started in 1947 and was a state of political tension between the world’s two superpowers. The United States and the Soviet Union were competing to build deadlier nuclear weapons. Canadians had once seen the destructiveness of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and were terrified. This combined with the political tension and threats between the two countries to make the people scared and worried. As a result, many people didn’t feel safe in their homes anymore and decided to buy nuclear fallout bomb shelters. Bomb shelters became an important part of home security. They were supposed to protect homeowners from radiation and could also double as a spare room or a fire protected room. Many business men used this feeling of insecurity to sell nuclear bomb shelters. Howard Robinson was one of these people. He asked people what they would do if a bomb went off right now and persuaded them to buy a bomb shelter. Although many Canadians knew these shelters did a little to protect them, they still spent thousands of dollars on them. The government was also doing anything possible to make people believe they are safe, for example, students were told at schools that they will be safe from radiation of atomic bombs if they duck and cover immediately. We now know that this was a lie. Canadians didn’t enjoy security after WW II. In fact, they were even more scared now because of nuclear weapons.
Canadians didn’t enjoy political and religious security during the Cold War because of communism. There were two different ideologies during the Cold War. One was the American ideology; democratic government with capitalist economy, and the other one was communism. Communism rejected religion (Raines, 8); in the eyes of communism, religion was seen as the “opium of the people” and negative to human development. As a result, Canadians were mostly against communism and wanted to protect their children from it. No one knew who is a communist and extreme paranoia was present in the society. Canadair posters taught Canadians how to fight communism not only physically, but also spiritually. These posters showed communism as a system that was spreading doubts about the old ways and Christian ethics. These propaganda posters played on emotions and fears of the Canadians. As a result, many Canadians even joined the military to protect their country. No one actually knew who is a communism, but any person could be.
Canadians enjoyed prosperity after WW II because of new inventions, but they felt insecure because of communism and nuclear bombs. Although the post war period was a better period than WW II, Canadians still struggled to find security and peace. They thought that the world was close to a war that the world had never seen because of the new types of weapons. The Soviet Union and the United States became engaged in a Nuclear Arms Race and continued to build more dangerous and deadlier weapons. On the other hand, WW II brought prosperity back to Canada and people could enjoy this by buying new products.
“Communism and Twisted Education.” Cold War Posters. N.p., 14 Dec. 2009. Web. 25 Mar. 2013. <http://flickriver.com/photos/fortinbras/4185167906/>.
Duck And Cover (1951) Bert The Turtle Civil Defense Film. YouTube. N.p., 11 July 2009. Web. 25 Mar. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKqXu-5jw60>.
Raines, John. 2002. “Introduction”. Marx on Religion (Marx, Karl). Philadelphia: Temple
University Press. Page 8.
Robinson, Howard. “Cold War: Bomb Shelters for Sale.” Interview by Norman Kramer. CBC Digital Archives. N.p., 18 Jan. 2012. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. http://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/war-conflict/cold-war/cold-war-culture-the-nuclear-fear-of-the-1950s-and-1960s/bomb-shelters-for-sale.html.
The 1950’s: a time of fear, social inequality and paranoia. Were people secure? Not entirely, but they were undoubtedly prosperous. The vast amount of technological development in the scientific, home and entertainment sectors meant that most people lived comfortably.
The 1950s were the beginning of a new age of technology: the entertainment age. After the Second World War, the average person had much more disposable income. North America’s economy had boomed immensely from the massive increase in production required to sate the needs of the front. When the war ended, people were much richer than they had ever been previously. With this increase in wealth came a vast increase in free time. People did not have to work as hard, so the entertainment industry grew vastly in a matter of years. New inventions like portable radios, televisions and record players became commonplace, instead of being only available to the very rich, as it had been previously. Television became an incredibly popular pastime, and music would see a huge amount of diversification within the next decade. Judging by the picture The Shiefner Family Watches TV, in which a family of farmers sits around watching television at the end of the day, we can assume that most people lived in conditions like these: not luxurious, but comfortable. They appear to be content, so we can assume that most people were quite happy, if on edge about the threat of nuclear war. Soon, however, a new sort of competition would begin: the race to space.
Russia and America had had a long running rivalry for decades before the space race, but it literally reached new heights when Russia launched Sputnik. After that, the American government became very interested in space; as it would provide an excellent avenue of attack against the Russians should war actually break out. So began the space race, lasting for several decades afterward. The Russians had a distinct head start on the Americans. Judging by the picture of a newspaper clipping, we know that Canada was also interested and terrified of the Russian space program, as experts said that their rockets were powerful enough to hit anywhere in North America. This reinforces the fact that Canadians felt highly unsafe during this period. The papers did not exactly help this sentiment, as they posted sensational articles that (knowing that papers exaggerate facts to produce interesting stories) were most likely misleading.
Nowhere is the fear felt by Canadians during this period more obvious than in the ad that offers a nuclear fallout shelter with every house in a certain area. Since ads are not typically aimed at niche groups, it can be assumed that many people would wish to have a bomb shelter built into their houses, indicating that most people were insecure at that point. Ads that are aimed at the very rich will list a high price as an assurance of quality, while those aimed at the average person will list a low price as an incentive to purchase. Since this advertisement tries to make the shelter sound affordable, it can be assumed that this is directed towards the average person. Since the ad is aimed at the average person, it is likely that the average person is afraid of being nuked. This also shows that the average person can probably afford a bomb shelter, meaning that people had ample amounts of disposable income, but did not feel safe in their own homes.
From these pieces of information, we can draw the conclusion that Canadians were secure financially, but did not feel physically secure. They had enough disposable income to purchase entertainment and were relatively happy, if worried about impending nuclear war.
– Regency Acres bomb shelter ad, Toronto Star – http://torontoist.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/2012_09_01-Star-January17-1959a_640_1.jpg
– Reds launch ‘Moon’ to circle world – Toronto Daily Star, Saturday, October 5, 1957
The Schiefner Family Watches Television, Library and Archives Canada – http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=3385747&rec_nbr_list=3385747
From 1946-1963, many Canadians enjoyed prosperity and security in the forms of living in peace and not feeling threatened. Technology made a huge impact to Canadians. Technology made many Canadians fell safer and enabled them to live in peace. The advancement in entertainment, the construction of new homes and shelters, and travel, all had contributions to making Canada a great place to live after the war.
All forms of entertainment have always made us happy. From 1946-1963, entertainment helped many Canadians live in peace. In the picture, a mother is watching TV with her 3 sons. To me it looks like everyone is happy and relatively undisturbed. Entertainment provides a way to connect people because TV is advertised to all ages. I know I fell connected when I am watching TV with my parents. In the picture, there is no father. My assumption is that he died in the war. TV, it looks like, is the way to start connecting to each other. This might give the perfect nuclear family, and many more people, that feeling that they can live in peace again. Of course, there are always forms of a threat. But the threat after the war for families were thieves, robbers etc. But new technology made it possible to be safe when Canadians felt threatened.
The security of Canadians was a big issue during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The feeling of fear didn’t give Canadians a chance to live in security. Since Canada is a neighbor to the US, and the US was being threatened by Cuba, there was always a possibility that Cuba could attack Canada to show that they were not bluffing. To counteract the feeling of fear in many Canadians, fallout shelters were created. These shelters would provide Canadians with a safe place to live for a small period of time until the threat was no more. For example, let’s say a robber is in your house. You want to keep your family safe. So, you take them to the fallout shelter and wait until the robber has left. You may lose your valuables, but the safety of your family is more important than some necklace. These shelters gave many families a backup plan or a way out to say it. These shelters were targeted to families of all sizes, and single Canadians. All in all, these shelters gave Canadians a big boost to feeling safe.
Wanting to get somewhere a fast was a “want” for Canadians in 1946-1963. Trains and planes gave many Canadians the option to get somewhere faster than car. Let’s say a family wanted to go on vacation somewhere far away. They wouldn’t take the car because it would take very long to get to the destination. They would take a train or plane. Cars could be used to get to work and see family and friends. In the picture, a train appears to be going through a mountain. Imagine the sight of these beautiful mountains. I can say from a personal experience, that being in a train and going through a mountain was really cool. If you were going to work, but your office was very far away, if you walked, you would have been late. But to take a car would mean getting to work on time and not stressing over being late. Transportation gave Canadians in 1946-1963 the option of getting things done quickly and easily, and with my own personal experience, makes people feel peaceful.
Prosperity and security is the idea that you can live in peace without having any feeling of being threatened by anything. Technology provided a big impact on this. In my opinion, Canadians lived in prosperity and security to the extent of how they lived.
During the 1950’s Canada, along with most of the world, was just ending a war. It was a time for recovering, settling in, and moving on and most of all celebration. And why not? We were on the winning side of war to end all wars. Though we suffered a blow, there was confidence that we’d come back from it and prosper even further. Aided by technology, the Canadian people felt more secure and prosperous, enjoying their homes and all the comforts that came with them. Things were easier now with technological advances, mostly in the home of an average Canadian family. To feel secure and prosperous, one must not feel threatened or worried financially or physically with complete peace of mind. Technology in the 1950’s made Canadians more secure and prosperous by making lives easier in the home, allowing families to feel safer and bringing families together.
To begin with, technology made life easier for Canadians in the 50’s. In order to accommodate for the baby boom new suburbs were being built everywhere. Perfect for the people looking to settle down and raise a family. Appliances were being made and old ones where becoming less expensive. Women were entering the work force, and new appliances allowed them to spend less time cooking, cleaning, and doing all the work around the house (which was unfortunately true) and more time working at a job. Today we still use technologically advanced appliances to save us time and make life a little easier.
Furthermore, Technology helped families feel safer. Though we just ended a war, there were always people still paranoid. As weapons advanced throughout the world, people were eager for protection and safety. Through technological advances they were able to now what’s going on in the world with the radio or television. On a smaller scale, in suburbs, communities came together to avoid crimes and danger. If you were extremely paranoid of a pending attack you could even get a nuclear fall-out shelter installed (shown in the Regency Acres bomb shelter diagram). As technology kept advancing, safety did too.
Finally, technology in the 1950s brought families together. In the Eaton’s catalog from 1956 shows a number of appliances to entertain Canadians and keep them busy. Whether it was a television, a radio, or a record player, more and more families were getting them. Soon enough these appliances became an addition to the family. There was nothing better than to sit back and watch the television as a family after (or during) dinner shown in the picture of the Shiefner farm in 1956. The record player was also a welcome addition. Allowing people to choose the music they would like to listen too. Its something as simple as sitting as a family, doing something together which gives the idea of security, something we still do today which still make us fell secure.
In conclusion, feelings of security and prosperity were widely spread among the Canadian people. Spirits were raised and hopes were high. This was aided by technology, which helped families by making their lives easier in the home, allowing them to feel safe, and bringing families together to make them happier.
The 1950’s were considered one of the most conservative decades in recent memory. They were a time when technology underwent a dramatic evolution. It was less than a decade after the Second World War and science was in its element; technology that had only been pondered was suddenly becoming reality. Examples of great technological developments would be the microchip and the modem. The personal computer popped into existence and changed the world. It sounds dramatic, but can one imagine if the microchip did not exist today? iPhones would not be usable at all.
Technology in the 1950’s lead us to security and prosperity. Canadians enjoyed prosperity and security greatly. There were many everyday inventions that were created, such as hairspray or the hand-dryer, and others such as the voltmeter and leaf blower. These inventions helped improve everyday life for Canadians and are still helping us greatly today.
Many advertisements of technology in the 1950’s represent the political view or ideology that wants to abolish communism as well as its spreading. Many of these advertisements (artifacts) demonstrate Canada’s hate towards communism, as well as its fear of communism. Another aspect to note is that the author’s point of view of how these artifacts are presented affects the meaning of these artifacts greatly. For example, one of the artifacts is an advertisement of a nuclear
fall-out shelter. This advertisement was made keeping up with the rising interest of civil defence. A civil defence is a network of civilian volunteers who assisted in the war effort, by doing things such as helping rescuing people from bombed buildings.
After the Second World War, Canadians really enjoyed their life and for the first time in more than 30 years, we took a break. During the post war period, Canadians truly enjoyed prosperity – which means being successful and wealthy, having more than you need. The soldiers had come back from Europe, the families finally reunited; everything was going back to normal. Along with the invention and publication of television and radio, Canadians’ entertainment life became much more enriched. World War II boosted the evolution of technology dramatically. Some of the technologies made us enjoy prosperity but some of them threatened our security. The Russians started the space race after the WWII, the control of land and sea couldn’t satisfy their ambition, in October 1957, the Russians sent the first satellite up into the space, and North Americans were frightened that the Russians can attack us from the outer space and they certainly did not joy security – which means being safe and protected . The 50’s was definitely a complicated period with national security issues and the Canadians’ enjoyment of prosperity.
Television and radio really helped Canadian enjoy their life and with the advance of technology, entertainment was brought to the next level, people no longer have to go to a theatre for a show, everything they want to see was all in a box in their living room. The artifact (Selection of radios, record players, and televisions available through the Eaton’s Christmas Catalogue, 1956)  was created by Sears Canada Inc. to advertise television and other home appliances. The purpose was to target Canadians with enough money and have a family and make them buy their products. This artifact was created in the mid-50s because that when television really begin to become popular. The advertisement by Sears Canada is not a direct representation of a specific Cold War political view or ideology because this product mainly reflect upon the prosperity that Canadian were enjoying in the post war period, but indirectly, government can spread propaganda much more efficiently with the help of television. Now, the politicians can control their people’s thoughts with just a box in their living room, posters were no longer needed, this brought propaganda to the next level, which is an indirect representation of a Cold War political ideology. This advertisement encourage Canadians to buy more electrical home appliances, new ovens, radios and televisions, the sales of these products not only made Canadians’ life easier and enriched, this also bought prosperity to the community, the factories that make these products required more jobs, with more jobs and better sales the Canadian economy was boosted by a significant level, and made Canadians truly enjoyed prosperity.
The USSR was a major threat to the North Americans in the 50s. The Cold War made Canadians feel unsecured. World War Two also revolutionized each country’s military development, the USSR launch the first satellite to space in October 1957, this started the space race, another primary resource indicated that the Russians can fire missiles at North America from space. This certainly horrified the Canadians, people started buying bomb shelters, thinking the Cold War might not be “Cold” anymore. From the writing and the topic of these two artifacts, it is easy to say that the government created them. The purpose was to target Canadian families and make them think that the situation is much worse and a war might break out anytime. This makes the Canadians think that the Russians are dangerous and evil. These artifact are created right after the launch of the first Russian satellite, which is a few days after October 4th, 1957, because this topic was the head line of the “Toronto Daily Star” which shows that the government really wanted their citizen to be concerned about this topic. This artifact definitely represent a specific Cold war political ideology, this is a significant way of propaganda warning the citizens that the “Reds” are leading the Space Race and “Reds Can Fire Missiles at U.S.”. The government didn’t want the people to feel safe or secured, they wanted the people to fear and hate communism, and the artifact certainly suggest a change, which is that everyone should fight against the communist. This is both important and historically significant because it marks the beginning of the Cold War and reflects upon the tension between the USSR and USA significantly. These artifacts did not tell us that the Americans are also developing space project and they are going to make it to moon in 7 years. These two artifacts only focused on how the Russians are leading the space race, and how the Russians can fire missile at the U.S., they didn’t mention the military development of the Americans at all, which did a good job at making Russians the bad guy and made all the actions that the Americans are going to take an action of self-defence.
The 50s was certainly a complicated period when Canadians enjoyed prosperity and lived under the fear and hatred of the communist and the face off of the Cold War.
 Selection of radios, record players, and televisions available through the Eaton’s Christmas Catalogue, 1956, p. 183.
Used with permission of Sears Canada Inc., Library and Archives Canada
 Source: Toronto Daily Star, Saturday, October 5, 1957.
In the 1950’s, Canadians for the second time in 20th century enjoyed a thriving and booming era. This growth was empowered by many factors. Citizens were confident in a regular income and the stability of their future. People supported the Government, which worked in society’s best interest. The economic state was strong with profits rising and higher employment rates. Construction industry and goods production were increasing exponentially. Every aspect of living was changing towards better future. In addition, one of the most important aspects of “happy” living in 50’s was rapidly growing technology. In the 1950’s technology plays a significant role in the lives of Canadians. Airplanes, trains, and cars were an effective source of transportation. Refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and dishwashers saved huge amounts of time on household chores. Record players, radios, and televisions informed and entertained Canadians. We can prove the influence of technology on Canadians in 1950’s by using primary sources from that era, such as books, TV shows, advertisements which we can analyze and make inferences from. Two advertisements: “The Canadian Train” published in National Geographic (May 1956) and a selection of radios, record players, and televisions published in Eaton’s Christmas Catalogue, pg. 183 (1956), help to demonstrate that Canadians enjoyed to a great extent the prosperity and security between 1946 and 1963. The posts reflect prosperity and security in a form of rising entertainment era, recognition of Canadian identity, growing consumerism because of affordable technology, and awareness of citizens on local and global issues.
Firstly, “The Canadian Train” advertisement portrays the transition from wartime to the modern era of entertainment. The train’s basic purpose is transportation. However, “The Canadian Train” post suggests that in 50’s, trains are not just a mean of transportation from one place to another. With large wartime savings, Canadians were eager to spend money on entertainment. The train voyage was a perfect investment because it transformed transportation into a luxury form of tourism. Canadians enjoy the train journey on “deluxe coaches [that] provide new roomy comfort at reasonable prices.” (“The Canadian Train”). Another exciting novelty is the dome wagon, which had a 360° observational scope. While on tour passengers could appreciate remarkable landscape in all directions around the train. In addition, the train advertisement firmly planted a sense of Canadian national identity. The advertisement describes the fabulous journey “…through Canadian Rockies to world-famous resorts.” (“The Canadian Train”). Every part of the trip portrayed as a perfect one. In fact so perfect, that it feels like a dream tour.
Secondly, the selection of radios, record players, and televisions in Eaton’s Christmas Catalogue represented the rising technological and consumerism era. Radios, TVs, and record players were part of entertainment before World War 2, but only in the 50’s, their true significance and popularity were revealed. They were mass produced and, as a result, affordable to middle-class Canadians, whereas earlier, televisions and record players were only affordable to wealthy people. Additionally, the advancement in technology greatly contributed to the expanding popularity of household entertainment appliances. Canadians enjoyed a variety of televisions, radios, and record players, which produced higher quality sound and had longer life spans. Through being affordable and popular, the advertised appliances became a part of normal household entertainment for many families in the 1950’s. This is portrayed by the Catalogue’s phrase, “Lasting enjoyment for the whole family!” (“Eaton’s Christmas Catalogue” 183). The phrase also suggests that entertainment appliances carried a new purpose of being an essential part of the whole family, which reveals a change of Canadian ideology towards technologically progressed future.
Finally, the increased use of radios and televisions in every household led to political awareness among the society. Citizens were exposed to the local and global news, and as a result, it played a significant role on the globalization of Canada. Canadians had daily access to the media, which informed them of the Cold War and the rise of Communism. Communism was portrayed as a threat to the prosperity of Capitalism; therefore, the media continuously presented Canada as a strong and secure nation. The media reassurance of a powerful nation gave Canadians a strong sense of security, which overpowered the horrors of Communism.
In conclusion, “The Canadian Train” and Eaton’s Catalogue of household entertainment appliances reflect the high degree of prosperity and security that Canadians enjoyed between 1946 and 1963. The train advertisement depicts the rise of the entertainment era and its duty to recognize Canadian identity. A selection of household entertainment appliances in Eaton’s Christmas Catalogue suggested the mounting consumerism as a result of affordable technology. Moreover, the radios and televisions showed Canada as a strong and secure nation, to override the terror of Communism amongst Canadians.
“Selection of radios, record players, and televisions” Eaton’s Christmas Catalogue 1956: 183. Print.
“The Canadian Train.” National Geographic May 1956: n/a. Print.
The post-war time period, between 1946 and 1963, is known as the “Fabulous Fifties” and “The Lucky Generation” for very good reasons. The return of soldiers, the invention of new technologies, and the changing gender roles were all part of a whole new era that allowed life to be easier and happier. The introduction of social welfare, in the long run, made the prosperity and security of the time easier to benefit from. In general, Canadians were in possession of the opportunity to live prosperously and securely, being free from financial woes and threats to safety or well-being. However, in the early stages of the era, opinions regarding the threat of communist expansion clashed and challenged the ability for the population to enjoy this possibility; in particular, the opinions of the upper class Canadians and the Canadian government.
In this period of time, large numbers of people were opposed to the welfare state, especially within the Canadian upper class. They saw it as nothing but a cloaked form of communism, and this perspective initially slowed the development of the welfare state, and in turn, the ability of Canadians to live prosperously and securely. One political cartoon in particular, featured in The Globe and Mail on March 10th of 1945, revealed these opinions very clearly. Featured, was a man being offered numerous walking sticks and crutches, each labeled a different type of social assistance, such as pensions, unemployment insurance, and government housing. The man is elderly with several wrinkles on his face and a balding head; wearing well-worn formal apparel. He could be a war veteran as the manner in which he dresses implies that he is a well-respected senior, clothed formally out of habit and not obligation of job. He is depicted to be saying, “I’m sure they must be helpful but I wonder if I can carry them all?” referring to the fact that, if taken literally, he couldn’t possibly hold and use all of seven of supports being offered to him. The symbolism is that the lower classes and the returning war veterans would be overwhelmed, reluctant, and unable to take these supports. Meanwhile it is hinted that these supports were, at least partially, being forced on them, and that they did not actually have a desire or need for them. The title, “Don’t Make Him An Invalid”, further clarifies their opinion that these “aids” will devalue him as a contributor to society, unable to survive on his own. Based on the cartoon being published in The Globe and Mail, it is clear that the cartoon represents the biased point of view of wealthy conservatives, strongly objecting to communist values. They were deep in paranoia from the ongoing Cold War; believing that allowing social welfare made them more susceptible to communism, as it would empower the working class. Obviously, the rich would not want to give up being rich, which is part of communist philosophy. It can be inferred that because they were the wealthy, they did not have problems with financing their medical needs and had ample savings in case of job loss and other unexpected emergencies or threats to their daily lives. They did not have an immediate need for welfare and therefore, saw it as the lower classes leeching off their hard earned tax dollars. They believed that welfare would allow the lower class to get lazy, entitled to things that they have not earned, and basically pave the way for socialism in Canada. What this cartoon and its point of view fails to acknowledge is the struggle of numerous Canadians that not only wanted these programs, but needed them to in order to live comfortably and securely. These ideologies were a great setback to social welfare that would have allowed our populace to sooner enjoy financial stability and general soundness.
In addition, the government was in disagreement with the opinions of the upper class, which led to friction between the groups and delayed the bringing about of the welfare state. In 1949, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation released a radio broadcast on Cross Talk that illustrated two viewpoints that conflicted with the government’s intention of providing welfare for those that needed the stability it would have provided. As the CBC is a government-run broadcasting company, it seems to be one of the more impartial sources from that era regarding social welfare. However, upon closer investigation, it is clear that it encourages welfare more. The dramatization, called “Canadians Ponder the Welfare State”, depicts a conversation between fictional co-workers, Bill and Frank, who have very incompatible opinions on the matter. When first heard, the broadcast seems fair to both sides of the argument, bringing up key elements to the reasoning behind each standpoint. However, as the conversation is sparked by Frank’s fear of his family’s inability to remain financially stable after his wife’s impending surgery, he is seen as unreasonable and foolish. When Bill suggested that “what [Frank] needs is health insurance,” Frank became defensive, calling Bill a socialist. Frank mentioned “the taxes the British are stuck with, … spending about a third of their budget on social security.” He believed that it offered “no incentive, no room for initiative anymore” with the government providing “too much security…[dulling] their ambition, their enterprise, [with] the middle class… all strapped up in red tape and the working class [sitting] around and [taking] handouts.” Red tape is a reference to communism. Bill ultimately refuted saying the whole point of the welfare state is “cash benefits…[that] come out of [their] own contributions” when they need it and to “make sure nobody falls below a minimum basic income and standard of living.” Generally, this broadcast, though painting both sides of the issue, purposely shows the anti-welfare opinionated as cynics that are too afraid, ignorant or prideful to accept help when they need it. By the tone and context of the two bickering men, those that are pro-welfare are shown as positive, considerate people. In contrast, those that are anti-welfare are seen as bitter and cruel. The specific words Bill used are glittering generalities, while Frank showed no attempt at using euphemisms to be less blunt. Frank is portrayed as if he felt superior to Bill, even though the two are of the same social standing and working the same job. This makes Bill seem like he is happy in life and Frank much less so. Using this broadcast, the Canadian government subtly hinted that those opposed to welfare were selfish and grumpy. This dissuaded citizens from siding with them, and thus, people would warm up to the idea of social security. However, by no means was the Canadian government enforcing communist values. It is probable that in wanting to impose the welfare state, they wished to improve the standard of living amongst the working class. Those of the working class were the ones that supported Communism in other countries. Their lives became so miserable that they grew angry with the capitalists that held majority of the country’s wealth, and thus, revolted. The Canadian government relieved some pressure from those less well off, thus, making them happier. This ensured that the lower class would not have to turn to communist revolt to unburden themselves, as there would be no need to; social welfare already did that. Clearly, the government’s difficulty at encouraging viewing social welfare in a non-communist, non-socialist light further slowed down the ability of the Canadian population to enjoy prosperity and security in the beginning of the post-war era.
Without a doubt, throughout the beginnings of this epoch, the perspectives of Canadian upper class and the Canadian government system came into conflict. This led to a struggle on both ends, which temporarily made it less convenient for the overall Canadian population to live in prosperity and security. Nonetheless, it should be acknowledged that by the end of the time frame, social welfare was in full force. Even though it remained controversial and there were still many opposed to it, the fact that it was being considered, in the first place, showed that the government started to acknowledge the struggles of those less fortunate. Thus, marking change in the Canadian society, as well as the changing the ideals of Canadian identity to one of pride and acceptance. Social welfare created more demand for government jobs, which only further helped making life more financially secure and threat-free. All in all, these new breakthroughs began to pave the way for what we, as Canadians, are known for. Our healthcare, pension, and education systems are only a few of the programs that help families and individuals all across the country. They have become a prime reason why Canada is recognized as one of the happiest countries in the world.
“Canadians Ponder the Welfare State.” Cross Section. Canadian Broadcast Corporation. 26 Jan. 1949. Web. Transcript.
“Don’t Make Him an Invalid.” Cartoon. The Globe and Mail: 10 Mar. 1945. Print.
During post-war years between 1946 and 1963, Canadian soldiers returned home to a strong economy and a government upswing. Families accumulated savings during the war and many finally had additional income to purchase luxuries. Cars, dishwashers and televisions all topped their wish list. To experience prosperity in Canada means to be well financially situated to obtain luxuries that you can enjoy. Living in security is being able to work comfortably and peacefully with stable resources for basic needs. However, the post-war spending spree had Canadians enjoy prosperity and security to the extent where many families felt too dependent on technological developments such as the TV, radio and the introduction of the TTC that it caused harm and led many to a sedentary lifestyle.
Firstly, the advancement of the television hurt their conventional way of living. Prior to the appearance of this technology, families read the newspaper together and would inform neighbors of the news and events. The television had actually been introduced in the last year of the Great Depression but the sudden uproar of WWII halted the TVs’ development. “Before 1947 the number of U.S. homes with television sets could be measured in the thousands” and “[TV] sets were on for an average of more than seven hours a day” (Stephen). Later, when families joined to watch the evening news, many bought fast food made on the ready so that the typical housewife would not have to cook, but could enjoy the TV instead. The kids, instead of going outdoors and being active, sat motionless in their living room disregarding the papers left on the ground and switched to the method of receiving information electronically as the new means of communication. “People were so excited and obsessed with this novelty”, “it was all we talked about at school. [Kids would] literally [race] home to watch TV” (Cole, 6). There was a bias directed against visually impaired and handicapped citizens, which might have steered the audience into thinking that only “normal” people could afford and relish such prized luxuries. In addition to that, those who lived in rural and remote areas north of Canada could not receive U.S. signals and therefore experienced a limited extent of prosperity. “Even though they were very expensive…[90%] of Canadian households owned a TV set by the end of the 1950s” (Cole, 6). This definitely shows that there was prosperity because most families had money to afford a past-time novelty thus security increased to the point where many were reluctant to get out of the house and socialize; they felt too safe at home. The limitations were that the remote and rural areas could not afford this ideal luxury, and even if they did, most would not receive signals. In fact, they would be too busy travelling to the grocery store and getting food from afar that they couldn’t have free time to spare for watching television as meeting their basic needs were far more important. Security was enjoyed to the point where Canadians had undergone the influence of American entertainment and lost a sense of national identity.
Moreover, the improvement of the radio made people have fewer social interactions with one another than before. No one really felt a need to go outside and socialize with others as all their news and entertainment could be found in the comfort of their own home. The first radio broadcast was the start of the Roaring Twenties, which represented continuity with prior history after WWI. The target audience was generally directed to adults as they focused on the news and sports announcements, but baby-boomers as well due to their interest in the new ‘rock and roll’ music genre. It also brought news abroad to love ones during the 1940s and “became the dominant form of media during and after World War II” (Media 1940s). This novelty delivered war information faster than newspapers and “was a powerful tool [that encouraged] the war effort” as well as providing “current news of the war situation and of their relatives fighting overseas” (Media 1940s). However, radios were limited so that only to those who could afford this lavish luxury and it did not provide the full-experience a television offered. For example, watching sports matches were completely different from listening to the announcer broadcast scores. Biases include only targeting the affluent class and excluding the audio impaired Canadians. The radio signifies continuity with prior history as both world wars used radios to communicate war news and broadcast entertainment.
Finally, the introduction of the TTC brought transportation efficiency to the extent where many Torontonians feel dependent on this new public service. “Canada’s First Subway” represents the most significant part of history in the city of Toronto and was “the only practical solution to the” “traffic flow problem that has been a man-sized headache to citizens and city fathers alike for many years” (TTC). Security was not present because of the uncomfortable travel during those times; getting to work caused frustration to many drivers as it was proved inefficient and time consuming. It also “set the pattern for future transportation developments in Toronto and in other large Canadian cities” (TTC) which signifies a change with prior history as no other city had done this before. After the war, people migrated from rural to urban areas and in 1954, the TTC became the single source of transportation and the Toronto Transportation Commission got renamed to the Toronto Transit Commission as it was proved in 1953 that the public transit system was essential to the city. This historical significance provided an alternative transportation method to private automobiles as not every individual during that time could afford one. Women who did not know how to drive could now travel places with their children without the instruction of men. Evident in the artifact, the audience was directed to all people of Toronto, mothers with their children and men as well. This was the result of increased gas prices and traffic congestion. Many families did prosper as a result of saving money from gas prices. Security roared to the extent where people did not have to worry about road collisions. However, it did set a few limitations on Torontonians. For instance, many couldn’t go out of town to see loved ones and were confined to the streets that only the TTC could take them to. A preconception was that Toronto was chosen to be the first city to start a subway and not other large cities such as Montreal or Vancouver, which may be why our city has the largest population in all of Canada today.
In conclusion, the advancement of science after the Second World War, such as the television, radio and the TTC, made many Canadians live a sedentary lifestyle as they were very much dependent on these technologies. Prosperity and security were enjoyed to the extent where social interactions decreased and many switched to easier and much “safer” alternatives like watching television instead of reading newspapers, picking up dinner on the go instead of cooking, or taking the public transit rather than travelling outside the city to visit family and friends.
Harrington, Richard. “Description found in Archives – Search – Library and Archives Canada.” Bienvenue au site Web BibliothÃƒÂ¨que et Archives Canada / Welcome to the Library and Archives Canada website. N.p., 19 Mar. 2008. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=3385747&rec_nbr_list=3385747>.
“History of Television – Mitchell Stephens.” New York University. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://www.nyu.edu/classes/stephens/History%20of%20Television%20page.htm>.
“Media in the 1940s.” ThinkQuest : Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://library.thinkquest.org/27629/themes/media/md40s.html>.
Stephens, Mitchell. “History of Television – Mitchell Stephens.” New York University. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://www.nyu.edu/classes/stephens/History%20of%20Television%20page.htm>.
“TTC A Cavalcade of Progress, 1921-1954.” The Toronto Transit Commission – TTC. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://www.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/History/cavalcade_of_progress.jsp>.
“TTC Looking Back.” The Toronto Transit Commission – TTC. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://www.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/History/Looking_Back.jsp>.
“TTC : Opening day of subway : People in stations, riding cars etc. : no. 1.” YorkSpace Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://yorkspace.library.yorku.ca/xmlui/handle/10315/7888>.
“Television in Canada – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television_in_Canada#cite_ref-4>.
output., 1912 the Dominion Coal Company produced 40% of Canadaâ€™s total coal. “Technological and industrial history of 20th-century Canada – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_and_industrial_history_of_20th-century_Canada#The_Television_Age:_TV.2C_nuclear_weapons.2C_atomic_energy.2C_computers_and_satellites_.281950.E2.80.931980.29.
Shortly after World War II, Canadians briefly recovered for a very short period of time. Canadians were somewhat prosperous but they were absolutely insecure. The definition for prosperity is that everyone has a certain amount of money and is able to sustain his/her own life. The meaning of security is that people are felling secure and are willing and enjoying living in their area of choice. Canadians were ignorant and insecure, any action made by other countries would be considered dangerous. These artifacts from the past of Canadian media demonstrate clearly that the advancement of technology created both an image of prosperity and yet unimaginable danger for the average Canadian family.
In the newspaper which is one of my primary sources and is published in 1957, it is said that the Soviet Union was leading the space race and they would circle the world to spy on other countries. That was just the heading; the main part of the news was indicating that Russia has the ability to fire missiles at U.S because of the newly launched satellites. The newspaper said that “Feat Proves Reds Can Fire Missiles at U.S., Expert Says”. This shows the ignorance in Canadian news. The Soviet Union could launch satellites but it didn’t mean that they could fire missiles at US. The ignorance suggests a lack of scientific knowledge among Canadian journalists. After World War II, Science and Technology became more important than soldiers, and having advance technology would intimidate opposing countries. Both America and the Soviet Union realized that if they wanted to dominate the World, technology is their number one factor. Therefore, they put massive effort into developing new technologies. But due to the tension between America and the USSR, North America feared a new super power would emerge. When the Soviet Union’s satellite the Sputnik 1 launched in October 1957, it represented now America was no longer the leader in the field of Space and missile technologies. Also, because of the Cold War, the USSR and Communism was demonized. Through the Igor Gouzenko incident, Canadians’ fear toward communism grew to an unprecedented scale. That’s the reason why Canadians felt insecure between 1946 and 1963. They were worried that the Soviet Union would take over the World because of their advancing technology. And because of Igor Gouzenko’s exposure, everyone realized the danger of Soviet espionage.
The second artifact I chose is a picture of a family sitting together watching TV. The title of the picture is “The Schiefner family watches television” and it was published in 1957. In this picture, the whole family was sitting together and watching TV. Also, there are 4 family members. It represents a normal family and is showing readers that even a mundane family can afford a TV. It shows prosperity among Canadians. The interesting part of the picture is that there is a newspaper. But instead of being read by a person, it was left on the floor. It symbolizes that TV is better than newspaper. It provides more information and more visuals instantly. The family spent quality time with each other while watching TV. In the picture, the whole family is staring at the monitor, it represents that everyone was fascinated by this new technology. They are willing to spend time watching TV. This artifact is an advertisement, advocating for the prosperity of Canadians. From reading newspaper to watching TV, the condition of Canadians has improved significantly. It also encouraged and promoted people to buy a TV set to entertain them.
When USSR began to launch satellites into space, every Canadian and American was furious. They thought that those satellites were designed for destroying and conquering the world. But with the invention of television, people got more informed and gained more knowledge about different technologies using in different countries and what was happening around the globe. Canadians were prosperous but were not feeling secure between 1946 to 1963. Since the Cold War, countries, especially U.S.A, used technology as a way to negotiate with other countries. They have been using nuclear missiles as a tool to control and intimidate other countries. They never took the action, though many demonstrations were conducted. For example, our world hasn’t been destructed by nuclear war and is held in balance is because of mutually assure destructions. If more and more countries gain the ability to produce nuclear warhead, will they listen to Americans Again? What will happen to the whole world?
“Reds Lead Space Race, Say Moon Flight Next.” Toronto Daily Star [Toronto] 5 Oct. 1957: n. pag. Print.
“Schiefner family watches television.” Library and Archives Canada. N.p., Dec. 1956. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=3385747.
During the Cold War, technology could have wiped out the planet, but it also allowed Canadians to reduce their fear of nuclear war. Even though Canadians were frightened that they would be subject to nuclear attack during the Cold War, they sought security and prosperity in technology. At this time, security wad related to personal assets and safety from nuclear war. Prosperity was measured by lifestyles and financial success. Innovations in technology such as subway systems, scenic train rides, and fallout shelters allowed Canadians to live very prosperous and secure lives.
Subway systems allowed anyone who didn’t have a car to take the train to their destination without having to pay a fortune. This allowed Canadians to spend their money on other products that supported the economy. It also allowed people who had no other form of transportation to get to their jobs faster, which meant they could work longer. This lead to more income earned and then to more spending in the Canadian economy. Subways also allowed Canadians to live in security because they always knew that there would be a cheap form of transportation to get around the city, unless they were bombed and were living in fallout shelters. Affordable reliable and safer transportation is how subways contributed Canadian security and prosperity during the Cold War.
After World War II, Canadians were trying to rebuild the country, but everyone deserved a break from time to time, even the workaholics. Scenic train rides were invented and provided one of the safest and most beautiful ways to relax on vacation. These rides let people live lavishly for a couple of days, which in turn demonstrated how prosperous Canadians were during the war. Also the trains allowed them to live securely because these trains travelled across Canada. This meant they did not have to worry about the Soviets that lived in other countries wanting to kill them. It also meant that in the event of an emergency, these trains could evacuate people from danger quickly and easily. A relaxing, safe vacation which was a viable evacuation during a nuclear attack is why scenic trains gave Canadians the satisfaction of security and prosperity.
A third innovation developed during the Cold War was the fallout shelter or bunker. A fallout shelter is an underground bunker which is protected from the nuclear fallout after a bombing. These shelters had all the essential needs for life after a bombing. These were built to provide some safety from nuclear weapons during an attack and the fallout after it. The shelters gave Canadians a sense of security like no other forms of technology could. This is because people knew that their biggest asset, their families, would also be safe from the bombing. These fallout shelters also showed how prosperous Canadians were living during the war. The shelters had all the amenities of a middle class home (T.V, radio, fridge, beds). They were essentially miniature homes. The “Blueprint for Survival” (Regency Acres bomb shelter diagram, Toronto Star Jan.19, 1959) was what Fallout shelters were referred to as, implying that they were the only way to survive if ever there was a bombing. Fallout shelters in the opinion of most people in North America were the greatest invention during the war. This due to the advanced technology in bunkers, and how secure from they were from nuclear weapons. Safety from nuclear weaponry was achieved with the fallout shelter, which is why it is another reason Canadians felt secure and lived prosperously the war.
Technology could have been the world’s downfall during the Cold War, but it was actually a benefit to many Canadians. During the Cold War, Canadians lived quite securely and prosperously due to the various innovations in technology. The three main innovations which allowed them to do so were: subways systems, and scenic train rides and fallout shelters. Technology was the best and worst thing that happened to Canada and the world during the Cold War.
Subway Systems: Telegram Staff. “TTC: Opening day of Subway.” York Space. March 1, 1954. York University. March 23, 2013. http://yorkspace.library.yorku.ca/xmlui/handle/10315/7888
Scenic Train Rides: Can’t find article online…
Fallout Shelters: Kevin Plumber. “Historicist: Atomic Anxiety.” Torontoist. September 1, 2012. . March 20, 2013. http://torontoist.com/2012/09/historicist-atomic-anxiety/.
Before I begin, I would first like to ask what is security. Security basically means the feeling of safety and the absence of fear, so did Canadians experience security? The answer is absolutely NOT. Despite experiencing prosperity, the feeling of insecurity loomed over the nation like a thundercloud; this was because of the actions of our politicians, our media, and our so called allies the Americans which can all be seen in these two pictures.
The perceived fear of communism spreads like a virus throughout Canada, infecting anyone and everyone that comes across its path. Symptoms of this “virus” includes insecurity, hysteria, and mass paranoia, millions were “infected” some never “recovered”. These were dark times for freedoms as our leaders fueled this virus with their lies. Our leaders could have spared us the grievances of this virus had they chose not to join the Cold War like Sweden, Austria, and Ireland (1). Yet they did and so for the next 40 years Canadians will live their lives with fear of war, when we could have lived happily and carefree. These sleazy politicians would not have gotten away with this despicable crime if not for their old friends, the media.
Throughout history the media has played a HUGE role in the lives of the average citizen, they have also been very biased in their broadcast of news, and every single time the people bought into it and believed every single word the propaganda machine spewed out, the Cold War propaganda machine was no different. The so called missile gap was invented by the politicians but was spread by the media to every household in Canada; these pictures of Soviet missiles were greatly exaggerated and were ‘planted’ in the heads of Canadians along with the idea of fearing it. Because of this so called threat from the Communist (2), we wanted something to counter this threat and so along came the Avro Arrow project which ironically will be destroyed not by our “enemies” by one of our supposed “ally”.
“Who benefited the most from the insecurity felt by Canadians,” The answer lies right beneath us, literally, United States of America more specifically the people who are affiliated with their military complex, if you think about it, if the people are scared they want something to protect themselves against what they fear, so if Canadians fear the Soviets than we need something to defend ourselves. The United States has done a great job of spreading fear among many nations, than when these country’s citizens demand their government to do something about it these governments would spend millions of dollars on weapons that can only be bought from America, needless to say some people would become very very rich. When Canada decided to pursue and develop our own weapons such as the Arrow, the American arms dealers were not pleased, they were furious as this project would damage their profits; so they put pressure on the US government to put pressure on the Canadian government to halt this program. They did and from that point on our government along with many others in this world would and will continue to fuel the American military complex.
In conclusion, While Canadians experienced prosperity, they did not have the sense of security, this is because the Canadian government used the media to instill fear in Canadians while behind the scenes this was all directed by the US military complex so they can make billions of dollars off our tax money. Such is life in the “free” world.