Backgrounder: The Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line)

29 11 2013

The Distant Early Warning Line, or DEW Line, was a series of radar stations across the arctic, from Alaska through Canada over Greenland to Iceland. The Americans conceived that the DEW line could detect enemy bombers coming over the North Pole that could threaten North American cities.

Back in the early 1950s, the U.S. government determined that they needed a series of radar stations across the Arctic that could detect enemy bombers coming over the Pole. The U.S. needed Canadian territory to detect the enemy bombers far enough away so they asked the Canadian government to partner with them. However, the Canadian government had just finished building two lines and didn’t have the resources really to do another line. So they agreed with the Americans, yes, we need this line, and as long as you pay for it and construct it, we will allow you access to Canadian territory.

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