In his seminal, okay only, fictional cinematic outing Canadian Bacon, direct and famed left wing documentarian Michael Moore postulated a bored and politically amoral United States trying to justify unnecessary military spending by creating a phony cold war with Canada. The few sane people left below the 49th parallel rightly dismiss this as ridiculous and Canadians seem to be either totally ignorant or smugly dismissive. This doesn’t stop a small intrepid band of inept but hyper-patriotic and heavily armed Americans from storming the border in a septic truck. Even then most Canadians seem only concerned with their manners and their violation of Canada’s bilingual language policies. Canadian Bacon was a sub-par film which had its moments, but overall served as a poor final tribute to the comedic talents of the late great John Candy. It also gave us one of the few rare glimpses of an American-Canadian conflict in popular media. What many of you may not be aware of is that this scenario of a modern North American war between ourselves and the Yanks has an actual historical precedent. From the 1920s to the mid 1930s the American military really had a planned invasion of Canada on the books. And they meant fucking business. In 1974 the United States government declassified several documents pertaining to a series of now obsolete military contingency plans. Assigned colours instead of names the various scenarios dealt with hypothetical wars or military conflicts between the USA and potential rivals including: Mexico (Plan Green), Cuba (Plan Tan), Japan (Plan Orange) and even domestic unrest in the US itself (Plan White). In fact Plan Orange actually went on to form the basis of the American campaign in World War II and elements of Plan White were used to deal with a peacefully protesting army of demobilized soldiers in 1932 dubbed the “Bonus Army”. For those of you who are wondering, the Bonus Army protests ended in, and I’m not making this up, a cavalry charge in the heart of Washington, DC and an all out infantry assault with tear gas and bayonets. For those of you who haven’t realized this by now, the Americans are having an occasional tendency to go fucking Koo-Koo-Bananas. Seriously, they are sitting on the second largest stockpile of nuclear weapons and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t trust many of them with a dull pair of safety scissors.
Of all the eighteen colour plans one in particular stood-out at the time of declassification. War Plan Red dealt with an imagined showdown between the USA and the British Commonwealth, in particular Britain’s biggest buddy on this side of the Atlantic, Canada! That’s right, even though they had fought along side each other in World War I only over a decade or so before, the Americans still thought that Great Britain, with its still large empire and strategic alliance with Japan, was likely to be an immediate and potentially violent rival. And of course at that time if you messed with the British bull (called “Red” in the plan) you were going to get the Commonwealth horns: Australia (Scarlet), New Zealand (Garnet), Canada (Crimson) and India (Ruby). Somehow an invasion of Ireland (Emerald) was integrated into the Red plan even though at they had been an independent and neutral free state since 1922. But I digress, War Plan Red only really detailed the invasion of Canada….I’m sorry “Crimson” in any great detail, leaving the rest of the British Commonwealth campaign largely ambiguous, kind of an oversight considering the British Empire and its associated countries were collectively the largest power bloc at the time. While we may have been denied the dirty details of the invasion of New South Whales or the battle for London, the Yanks spared no expense when coming up with interesting and horrible ways to dismantle my beloved home land. War Plan Red is one of the most disturbing nationalist revenge fantasies you could ever possibly dream up and is unbelievably comprehensive. Detailing not only population figures but an intricate analysis of the terrain, industrial output, military capability, natural and produced resources, shipping traffic, infrastructure and climate and how best to destroy all of them. Wonderful. You know we should really stop bragging about that whole “burning down Washington during the War of 1812” thing, those motherfuckers can carry a grudge!
My beloved hometown of Halifax seems particularly high on their shitlist probably due to its role as Canada’s primary eastern port and direct link to Britain at the time. The opening stages of the American campaign is dedicated almost entirely to an apocalyptic strike on the Harbour Town. It would begin with a massive poison gas attack followed by strategic bombing and a combined Army-Navy assault landed in nearby St. Margaret’s Bay. Poison Gas? Really America?! After all of those Christmas trees we gave you, this is how you planned to repay us? And if somehow the Americans failed to take Halifax after all of that, presumably because all Haligonians are inflammable, impervious to bullets and have a mutant healing ability which can repair our fluid filled lungs, they had a backup plan: take Moncton (incorrectly spelled Monkton in the document) and New Brunswick in order cut off Nova Scotia and then take province overland in order to deny Canada immediate British military support (though they seem to constantly ignore then British Newfoundland, yet another oversight). After Atlantic Canada was to have been thoroughly buggered, the Americans would turn their might against Montreal and Quebec City in order to cut the nation’s supply line in half and Winnipeg to sever the rail network connecting Eastern and Western Canada. Next up the Americans would seize Southern Ontario in order to capture the country’s industrial heartland and major airbases (air warfare was still in its infancy at this time) as well as protect several vital areas of the northern United States which would be vulnerable to a concentrated counter attack. The coup de grace would be the blockade and invasion of Vancouver and Victoria in order to cut off Canada from Commonwealth support via Australia, New Zealand and India. Canada’s remaing defenders would be left to either surrender or carry on fighting alone. A battle our much less populous nation would have been unlikely to win without tremendous casualties and intense resistance in the hinterland. But fear not! All hope would not have been lost. Our valiant Canadian government of the time had devised a reasonably pragmatic solution to Canada’s impending star-spangled doom. And they went even further than the American planners, they actually did reconnaissance! Check back for Cross Border Relations Part 2: Death From Above (The 49th)!