Ask a question about 'Fortress North America'
Start a new discussion about 'Fortress North America'
Answer questions from other users
Fortress North America
is a term used both during the Second World War
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
and more often in the Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...
to refer to the option of defending Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...
and the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
against their enemies if the rest of the world were lost to them.
It was viewed only as a last-ditch option in case Europe and Asia were overrun by the fascist
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...
s or Communist
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...
s. At the outset of the Cold War there were some, especially in the United States, who supported the isolationist idea of fortifying North America and abandoning international involvements. This option was rejected with the formation of NATO
and the decision to permanently station troops in Europe.
During the Cold War significant planning and effort went into developing continental defense systems just in case. Most notable were the formation of NORAD
North American Aerospace Defense Command is a joint organization of Canada and the United States that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and defense for the two countries. Headquarters NORAD is located at Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs, Colorado...
and the setting up of radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...
lines in the Canadian Arctic. Canadians were long concerned that the adoption of a Fortress North America strategy involving close intergovernmental links and the loss of outside links would inevitably result in the nation's absorption by the United States.
In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks the idea of Fortress North America has been revived as a strategy of keeping both nations safe from terrorism while keeping the Canada/U.S. border undefended and open to trade.