Since the United Nations’ establishment in 1945, Canadians have significantly influenced the development of peacekeeping in the world. Beginning with unarmed observers in Korea, Palestine, and South Asia in the late 1940s, Canada’s most popular contribution was Lester B. Pearson’s successful proposal for the multinational United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF I) to maintain peace between Egypt and Israel after the 1956 Suez Crisis. UNEF I, which included Canadian personnel, was the first armed group of peacekeepers and became a model for following UN peacekeeping operations. From the Middle East to Africa to Cyprus to Southeast Asia to the former Yugoslavia, UN missions have supervised the peace process, assisting the implementation of ceasefire agreements, ensuring democratic elections, and developing social, economic, and civil institutions. As of 2011, the UN had conducted 66 peacekeeping operations across the globe in which Canadians heavily participated, at a cost of 275 Canadians killed over the past half century.
For more information on Canadian peacekeepers, visit The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Ken D. Fisher
View thousands of images of wartime artefacts in the searchable Memory Project Image Gallery.