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  • The Long Wait

    On April 4th 1949, Canada and eleven other nations signed the North Atlantic Treaty to jointly stand against the Eastern Bloc. With the signing of this treaty, Canada joined its first peacetime military alliance. In 1951, Canadian troops and their families started being stationed in West Germany. The German NATO operation was Canada’s longest military operation. Armed with tactical nuclear weapons, these troops stood as the first line of defence against a Soviet invasion into Western Europe. The Canadian soldiers continued to operate in West Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               In this project I traveled to the former sites of the twelve Canadian NATO bases in Germany. These locations are in various forms of re/use and abandonment.  Much like small cities, these bases had most of the amenities that the soldiers and there families would need, including schools, gymnasiums, theatres, bowling alleys, churches, bars, pool halls, ice rinks and stores.                                                                                                                                                         Built on the dichotomies of East versus West, communism versus capitalism, atheism versus Christianity and good versus evil, the Cold War was a conflict that placed us on the brink of destruction. These images not only show the effects of time, politics and economics on these places, but also reveal the beauty surrounding these sites, which were veiled in secrecy. However, what is most illuminating about these photographs is that, although these bases were on the front lines of the Cold War conflict, the soldiers were still able to live out and enjoy their lives while waiting for a conflict that would never materialize.