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The War of Unification (1935) was a textbook implementation of War Plan Red, which involved focusing on Canada’s Maritime Provinces in order to deny the British Empire’s forces ports capable of taking troop ships. The Canadians similarly recognised that the key to their survival was keeping the Americans at bay long enough for an eighth of a million reinforcements from the rest of the British Empire to arrive in Canada, estimated to take less than thirty days. Once the Canadians detected the troops beginning to amass along their borders, they resurrected the defunct Defence Scheme No. 1 to be implemented as a delaying tactic, and its author, Colonel Brown, was recalled from his post in British Columbia despite strained relations with the national military command and the federal government to redraw the plans and direct the counter-invasion.
Canadian troops struck out as quickly as they could assemble to seize American cities near to the border, including Seattle, Great Falls, Minneapolis and Albany in a surprise attack. There was confusion in the response of the international community as it was unclear who initiated the conflict, and London itself had difficulty understanding Ottawa’s justification. The Canadian troops encountered heavy resistance, and with surprisingly heavy casualties on both sides, their advance ground to a halt. President Long initiated a bombing campaign of Canadian industry to cripple its war effort, as well as authorising the use of chemical weapons on Canadian troops and incendiary bombs on Canadian forests to initiate forest fires. The use of chemical weapons in particular earned Long international condemnation, but as the U.S. was not a member of the League of Nations, there was little action that could be taken. As the Canadian forces retreated back towards their borders, they implemented the next component of Defence Scheme No. 1, calling for a Scorched Earth policy to be implemented during the retreat. The Canadians destroyed bridges and railways to hinder American retaliation and slow their advance towards Canada.
In the end, the effort proved futile as the Americans advanced methodically but made more than adequate progress in denying British Empire force’s useable ports in the east. In this time, the Americans also seized British possessions in the Caribbean. The British considered another strategy for reinforcing the Canadian position by sending troops from India, Australia and New Zealand to Canada’s Pacific Coast, but this too was being rapidly denied by the Americans and the British had little confidence in attempting amphibious landings on fortified beaches given their previous experience in attempting them. In the end, the British contented themselves with seizing the Philippines and other American possessions in the Pacific.
The Americans and British signed a ceasefire which surprisingly held and grew into a complete refusal by either side to engage with the other. This mutual lack of recognition and split between two powers which had previously done the most to create and uphold international standards meant revisionist powers such as the Axis powers now assumed ‘anything goes’ as far as foreign policy went. The refusal to cooperate also placed America and Britain in a difficult position to resist the aggression of the Axis powers. America once again turned inwards and adopted an isolationist policy following what was a disproportionately destructive if short war. This was aided by President Long’s assassination and the assumption of the presidency by Howard Scott and his essentially pacifist Technocratic cohort.