Cold War Comforts examines Canadian women’s efforts to protect children’s health and safety between the dropping of the first atomic bomb in Hiroshima in 1945 and the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Amid this global insecurity, many women participated in civil defence or joined the disarmament movement as means to protect their families from the consequences of nuclear war. To help children affected by conflicts in Europe and Asia, women also organized foreign relief and international adoptions. In Canada, women pursued different paths to peace and security. From all walks of life, and from all parts of the country, they dedicated themselves to finding ways to survive the hottest periods of the Cold War. What united these women was their shared concern for children’s survival amid Cold War fears and dangers. Acting on their identities as Canadian citizens and mothers, they characterized with their activism the genuine interest many women had in protecting children’s health and safety. In addition, their activities offered them a legitimate space to operate in the traditionally male realms of defence and diplomacy. Their efforts had a direct impact on the lives of children in Canada and abroad and influenced changes in Canada’s education curriculum, immigration laws, welfare practices, defence policy, and international relations. Cold War Comforts offers insight into how women employed maternalism, nationalism, and internationalism in their work, and examines shifting constructions of family and gender in Cold War Canada. It will appeal to scholars of history, child and family studies, and social policy.
Wilfrid Laurier University Press
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