The Middle Power Project

Canada and the Founding of the United Nations

By (author) Adam Chapnick
Categories: Diplomacy, International relations, Politics and government, Society and Social Sciences
Publisher: UBC Press
Paperback : 9780774812481, 224 pages, July 2006

Table of contents

Acknowledgments / ix

Acronyms / xiii

1 Introduction / 1

2 Two Steps Behind (Beginnings through January 1942) / 7

3 Private Failure: Canada and the UNRRA (January 1942--November 1943) / 22

4 Public Success: Canada and the New Internationalism (January 1942--November 1943) / 36

5 Canada, the British Commonwealth, and the New World Order (February 1943--March 1944) / 52

6 Forked Roads (November 1943--July 1944) / 65

7 Disappointment at Dumbarton Oaks (April--October 1944) / 78

8 Middle Power Politics (October 1944--April 1945) / 95

9 The Public Road to San Francisco (October 1944--April 1945) / 115

10 Growing Up: Canada at San Francisco (April--June 1945) / 126

11 Shaping History (June--October 1945) / 139

Epilogue: Cherishing Illusions / 149

Notes / 153

Bibliography / 189

Index / 207

Based on materials not previously available to Canadian scholars, The Middle Power Project presents a critical reassessment of the traditional and widely accepted account of Canada’s role and interests in the formation of the United Nations.


The Middle Power Project describes a defining period of Canadian and international history. During the Second World War, Canada transformed itself from British dominion to self-proclaimed middle power. It became an active, enthusiastic, and idealistic participant in the creation of one of the longest lasting global institutions of recent times — the United Nations. This was, in many historians’ opinions, the beginning of a golden age in Canadian diplomacy.


  • Short-listed, Dafoe Book Prize, J.W. Dafoe Foundation 2005


This book provokes thought. The historical research is tremendously impressive. Having perpetrated a number of books on the UN, I am ashamed of how little I knew about Canada's early role therein. I am grateful to Adam Chapnick for teaching me how, why and where Canadian influence over the UN Charter can be discerned.

- David Malone

Chapnick's is a timely book . .. [this] book offers an important critique of Canada's early contributions to the founding of the United Nations.

- Andrew S. Thompson, Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)

Chapnick's focus on Canada's role in the founding of the United Nations (UN) in the final years of the Second World War is both unique and extremely valuable . .. This book enhances our understanding of Canada's foreign relations in this formative period . .. This is an impressive book, exhaustively researched and convincingly argued. It significantly revises our understanding of Canada's role in the creation of the United Nations and it should be an indispensable resource for anyone interested in Canadian history.

- Robin S. Gendron, Department of History, Dalhousie University