When Mackenzie King went to the San Francisco Conference he told the Commons that Canada had played its part in winning the war and it was now its duty to play a part in 'the shaping of peace.' This is a history and analysis of Canadian participation in the peace settlement and in the establishment of the United Nations and other international institutions, written by a man who was in the Department of External Affairs at the time. Although the book records the principal events, its emphasis is on the ideas and basic philosophies which Canada applied to the world scene in these years.
The first of two volumes deals with postwar planning in Ottawa, the institutions which were created before the war ended, and Canada's part in settling the war, both in relief and reconstruction and in the peace treaties. It describes the shifting relations with Britain and the United States, including new defence and economic relationships, the working of the 'atomic triad,' and the postwar Commonwealth. It concludes with an extended discussion of Canada's part in the preparations for San Francisco and in the conference itself, with reference both to political and security issues and the economic and social functions involved. A second volume will describe Canada's attitudes as the cold war developed, the shifts in NATO, the experiences of the Korean War, and the evolution of middle-power diplomacy in the 1950s.
John Holmes' well-informed account of 'the shaping of peace' is the first to provide a comprehensive overview of what has been regarded as Canada's most creative initiative in international affairs.
'John Holmes is without question one of the wisest commentators on Canadian foreign policy. (This volume presents) a thorough and detailed analysis of Canada's emergence from a timid colony in the 1930s into the aggressive and confident middle power of the war and immediate postwar years. Holmes looks at Canada's role in the making the peace, building the UN, and re-shaping the North Atlantic triangle. The result is a careful and wise book.'