So what if I told you the United States was supposed to have sixty states. I am pretty sure most of you would call me crazy, but your wrong. What if I told you the United States northern boarder wasn't supposed to stop at Canada, what if I told you Canada wasn't even supposed to exist? Well if you know your Canadian geography, you know Canada has ten provinces and I think we can see were this is going. In the 1920's the U.S. developed War Plan Red, which had the main goal of taken Canada before Britain's imperial power had a chance to use Canada, to attack America.
Now, when I heard about this my first thought was, "Holy Crap, Canadian Bacon is based on a true story and Sheriff Bud Boomer (John Candy) is a national hero." Unfortunately, that is not true. However, there was a plan drafted that called for America to be ready for a British invasion, that would start in The Great White North. So what was the answer? Well it is a usually cliche, the best defense is a good offense. War Plan Red called for an invasion of Canada to stunt any type of British military offensive. But why be afraid of the British? I mean they are our "chaps from across the pond" or something like that. And we did just help them out in the "war to end all wars." So whats the deal? Well basically the fact that the British only looked out for number one and over the course of 150 years there had been numerous spats between America and those Limey Brits.
The War of 1812 was the first problem between an independent America and Great Britain. Now what were the Redcoats thinking? The Americans just boated them out of the colonies about 30 years prior, I guess those Brits wanted a mulligan. Regardless of my silly idea there were several concrete reasons for the war and it was mainly the British being cry babies. First, England placed trade restrictions on America...wait...what? As you could imagine President Thomas Jefferson pretty much laughed at that. Second, was the Royal Navy basically kidnapping American sailors. They grew their navy to such a size that in order to get enough sailors the British government resorted to shanghaiing Americans. Third, the British aided and supported Indian raids on American frontier towns. And then the Brits demonized the U.S. for expanding...what? So we can see that Britain needed to relax and stop trying to boss America around. By 1812 the U.S. government had enough and now President James Madison was like, "seriously England, go back to the village green and play some cricket or whatever that silly game you play is." Ok, so that is not a direct quote but either way, the War of 1812 was underway.
The War of 1812 had three main theaters: the Atlantic, Canada and Southern states. Basically how it went down was the Atlantic was a series of naval blockades and battles. The American and British Navies exchanged shots and blockaded each others ports. The theater lead to no clear winner, instead it left both sides gaining and losing advantages. However, the most famous events, at least here in the states, would be the writing of the "Star Spangled Banner" written by Francis Scott Keys at the Battle of Fort McHenry. Followed closely by the Burning of The White House and Washington D.C., a disastrous event often overlooked in the scope of history classes. The Southern Theater, which showed the strength of the American Army and is most famous for future President Andrew Jackson's defeated the British at the battle of New Orleans. The Canadian front was was much like that Atlantic, a back and forth struggle. In the end it resulted into a changing of the boarders and the U.S. expanding its reach further north. In the end the War of 1812 can be seen as an American victory, especially since in Jolly ol' England they talk less about this then the Revolutionary War. But this was not the last time these two would go to arms with each other...
So after getting their bums handed to them twice by the Stars and Stripes, England kept on messing around in America. Three seperate incidents all led to the creation of War Plan Red. Now I must warn you these next three events are really obscure, so obscure that even all-knowing Wikipedia doesn't have pages dedicated to them. First, in 1838 The Aroostook War took place over boarders. Both the U.S. and England sent troops to the present day Maine/Canada boarder. There was no actual military conflict and both sides quickly agreed to peace treaty. Several years later, The Pig War, again another border dispute. This was also quickly resolved as the U.S. realized they were greatly out numbered and figured another boarder agreement would be best for both parties. The third and final problem came during the Civil War. The Trent Affair was kind of a part of the Civil War and kind of a diplomatic problem. The event unveiled that the Confederates were heading across teh pond to work out a deal with the Brits. The goal was to gain an allegiance and help in defeating the Union. Things cooled down between the U.S. and England, well because President Lincoln had some bigger problems than England and that was keeping the country together and putting those Rebels back in their places. So we can see how after about a century of problems from those Tommys the U.S. had to be prepared for trouble. Where might that trouble come from? Well from our Canukastan of course. The British still had close ties with Canada and the U.S. feared that heading into the 20th century.
Now the U.S. has no beef with Canada. I mean, as an American, my only problem with Canada is that they call ham "Canadian bacon". I mean come on, its clearly just ham and not its delicious counterpart bacon. Oh, also what is the deal with that weird 55 yard line on a Canadian football field...? Ok, sorry aboot that I am getting a bit off track. Nonetheless, the U.S. and Canada have always had a peaceful coexistence but their relationship with England is what forced the U.S. to draft this plan. Now what kind of plan is it? Well its one that the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canuks, Montreal Canadians and hell the Quebec Nordiques and Winnipet Jets defenses could never stop. It is so thorough that when I compare the American plan to the Canadian you might think I am joking, but I am not.So lets sit back and check out the American plan to invade "The True North, Strong and Free."
So whats the plan? Was it really the plot of Canadian Bacon? Was the Niagara County Sheriffs Department on high alert? Was a garbage truck covered in anti Canadian propaganda part of the plan? Is there a Hacker Hellstorm? Could the President have said "Surrender pronto, or we'll level Toronto." Unfortunately all of these things are just part of, perhaps, one of the greatest underrated American comedies ever. But the U.S. had a plan that was aimed to take control in the quickest amount of time. Of course it started with blockades of Canada's Atlantic ports and ports on the Great Lakes. The U.S. military also built airfields and disguised them at public airports, this allowed for a speedy attack but still kept secrecy. The plan then ordered area of importance and what tactics would be used to gain control. In Nova Scotia, a blockade and poison gas attack was planned to prevent Britain from even gaining a foothold in North America. Also ground troops would be used in something similar to the D-Day landings at Normandy. There was also a back up plan in case Nova Scotia could not be taken. It was to then take New Brunswick which the U.S. Army could then bomb and attack British forces on Nova Scotia. After this U.S. troops would move north from New York into Quebec City and Montreal, then securing Canada from British advancements westward. At the same time U.S. troops from Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota would take Toronto and the surrounding areas, preventing Canadian/British attacks on America's industrial centers. Winnipeg is the next target because of it's importance to the Canadian rail system., controlling Winnipeg controls the movement of British/Canadian troops. After this it is just closing up the back door and taking Vancouver and the Pacific provinces. This would not even allow for a British invasion from the west and thus making them continue to focus on an eastern attack. The main goals of this plan are to isolate the mainland, control the railways and occupy the cities but the key to it all way to do it quickly and prevent the British from establishing a military presence.
Now Canada was just going to sit there and pretend that they were totally safe up there. Sure they had their Molson Canadian, hockey and maple syrup but they had a plan too. However, their plan did not involve a full scale invasion of the U.S. and take over New York City and Washington D.C. and fly the Maple Leaf over America. They did though have Defense Scheme No. 1. Yes, it sounds pretty scary I know but just listen The U.S. never had much to worry aboot. The main goal of Defense Scheme No. 1 was to occupy a few American cities near the boarder in order to give the British time to arrive and keep the Americans occupied with regaining their cities. Now which cities you may be wondering, the Canadians targeted Seattle, Minneapolis, Albany and Great Falls (its in Montana). They would then move their forces to the boarder and when it looked like the Americans were moving into Canada they would destroy every bridge and railway leading from the U.S. The ironic thing aboot this plan is that the Canadians came up with this before War Plan Red was even though about. Guilty conscience Canada? What we can see is that while America opted for brute strength tactics, Canada went the more strategic route in planning both offensively and defensively.
Luckily in the history of the two great countries, neither plan had to be used. World War II was right around the corner at the time these plans were enacted and its pretty clear that the Nazis were a much bigger threat then Canada was to the U.S. So where are we today? Is War Plan Red still around? Of course it isn't. Canada is America's buddy. I mean Canada has given us so much, basketball, the Rascal Scooter, IMAX films, insulin, Brian Adams, roller skates, Pictionary, the pacemaker, zippers I mean the list goes on and on. So why would America ever invade Canada? It seems that invading Canada would only happen in England tried to invade or impede on America's sovereignty. The relationship between the two nations has always been peaceful and looks to stay that way. NAFTA links the two economically and politically. The two have nothing but to gain from each other in every aspect. In a way Canada is America's really friendly cousin who gets along with everyone and doesn't want to be bothered with the problems America gets into. In the end, actions following these two plans would have destroyed North American relations. Fortunately, the plans were never used and Canada has chose to just beat the U.S. at hockey every chance they get, eh.