The Lakehead Response to the Cuban Missile Crisis

17 June 2020 at 7:00PM EST

Mr. Nicholas Duplessis

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The Cuban Missile Crisis marked the height of the Cold War and is often described as the “closest the world has ever come to nuclear war.” Nominally a conflict between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, the fear and anxiety that permeated throughout the duration of the Crisis touched every corner of the globe.

The climax of the Cuban Missile Crisis as experienced at the Lakehead occurred on 25 October 1962, when Fort William and Port Arthur called for the evacuation and lockdown of children from schools across the two cities. The region had a particularly fearful reaction to the Crisis because of the desire to protect children and a growing disarmament movement. The regional response to the Cuban Missile Crisis provides an interesting window to view the history of the Lakehead. Important historical themes including Port Arthur and Fort William’s amalgamation, the role of women in Lakehead society, and important social and industrial aspects of the Lakehead are all intertwined and visible as a result of the Crisis.