World War I broke out on 28 July 1914, pitting an alliance spearheaded by Germany and Austria-Hungary against the forces of the United Kingdom (UK), France, Russia, and their allies. Due to paradigm shifts in military technology, the war quickly turned continental Europe into a charnel house. Nations soon found themselves requiring more manpower than ever before to maintain their war efforts.
Canadians sit-down for nuclear disarmament of the United States Bomarc Missile in La Macaza, Quebec, 1964
In fall 1958, Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker agreed to house 56 American Bomarc missiles in North Bay, Ontario and La Macaza, Quebec, in keeping with the terms of the NORAD agreement. The American manufacturers designed the Bomarc missiles to be fitted with nuclear warheads, but when the missiles arrived in Canada, the nuclear warhead parts had not yet arrived.
The Guatemalan people have endured numerous hardships throughout the years, but none more tragic than those perpetrated by the Guatemalan government and military during the country’s thirty-six year civil war. The Guatemalan civil war began in 1960, when a group of insurgents sought to depose the US-backed military government. The military had obtained complete authority in Guatemala by overthrowing the democratically elected President Jacobo Árbenz in 1957.
In the summer of 1959, the French government announced plans for a test of the first French atomic bomb in the Sahara in Reggan, Algeria, to support its military and political powers. Also at the time, Algeria was engaged in a war of independence from France. African leaders and organizations protested almost unanimously against nuclear testing in the Sahara and became concerned with the dangers of nuclear fallout in their country as well as France’s colonialist attitude.
The plateau of Larzac is a limestone karst plateau located in the southern Massif Central area of France, extending between Millau (Aveyron region) and Lodeve (Herault region). The area is mainly agricultural and the economy relied mostly on sheep breeding and production of ewes’ milk for Roquefort cheese. Sheep farms dominated the landscape, and the land is rocky, arid, and windswept, with thin and relatively infertile soil. The French army established a military camp on the plateau of Larzac in Aveyron in June 1902, where it served as a garrison and training center.
In July 1973, then-Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos announced the decision to build the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in response to the Philippines’ economic crisis at the time. The Middle East oil embargo was putting incredible stress on the Philippine economy. For the Marcos regime, investing in nuclear power was the solution to their dependence on imported oil and energy demands. However, Bataan residents and Philippine citizens responded in fierce opposition to the new plant due to its threat to public health.
France has conducted nuclear tests in its colonies since before the Cold War began. It conducted atmospheric nuclear tests in Algeria up until 1962 when they won their independence. Consequently, France began testing in French Polynesia in 1966 instead, and by 1974, had moved to underground tests. From 1966 to 1992, France conducted 41 atmospheric tests and 138 underground nuclear tests in French Polynesia.
For much of the nineteenth century, Finland was under Russian rule. This began in 1809 when Finland was made part of the Russian Empire. As part of the Russian Empire, Finland was autonomous in domestic policy but not foreign policy. Finland was allowed to create its own laws through its parliament, but Russian tsars controlled Finland and decided Finnish foreign affairs. Finns generally had no problem with this situation because the Russian government did not interfere with internal affairs.
On July 19, 1979, the Nicaraguan revolution succeeded in overthrowing one of Latin America’s most long-lasting dictatorships: the Somoza dynasty. Leading the popular uprising was the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN) – a leftist revolutionary movement that had been fighting against the Somoza government for the previous 19 years. Throughout Latin America, the Sandinista Revolution brought cheers and euphoria. The early years of the revolutionary government brought dramatic improvements in the lives of poor Nicaraguans.
At the beginning of April 1961, after nearly seven years of war in Algeria as France tried to maintain its control there, French President Charles de Gaulle announced that he would begin negotiations with the Algerian nationalists and soon relinquish control of the colony. At the time France had approximately 500,000 soldiers stationed in Algeria and very few remaining at home. Several of the generals in Algeria, however, did not want to concede to the Algerian nationalists.