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Canada's role on the international scene after World War II took a little time to develop, just as the landscape of the postwar world took a little time to come into focus. The world looked upon the great victory over Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan as the triumph of good over evil. The U.S., Canada, Britain, the Soviet Union and the rest of the allies had worked together as good international citizens to make the world a better place.

Their had been issues after the war between the allies over the partition of Germany, and Austria, and the ultimate government accepted in Poland, the country which the west had gone to war over. There were mutual suspicions between the west and the Soviet Union, but nothing which could no be worked out. Many in the west felt that the Russians had sacrificed much more in the war and that Stalin was rightfully looking out for Soviet interests in the new world. This was to change drastically in March of 1946.

In March at Fulton Missouri, Winston Churchill, who was now the leader of the opposition in England, gave a speech which warned of Soviet expansionism and aggression. This speech set in motion a number of events which were to led to the outbreak of the cold war.

 

Churchill's Fulton speech had however, been triggered by an event six months before in Ottawa which had been kept secret by the western powers and had had a powerfully sobering effect upon those who believed that the Soviet Union was a benevolent, generous power under Joseph Stalin.

On the night of September 5th, 1945, a Russian cipher clerk left the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa with secret documents hidden in his cloths. These papers documented the infiltration of the Canadian government by Soviet sympathisers who were passing on nuclear information and secrets to the Soviet Union in order to help Stalin develop and test his own nuclear bomb. The man carrying these documents was Igor Gouzenko and he intended to turn the information over to the RCMP and tell them his story.

Gouzenko had become disillusioned with the contrast between Soviet and Canadian life and realized that Stalin had been deceiving the people of the Soviet Union. He and his wife had been assigned to the Ottawa Embassy and in the fall of 1944 were informed that they were being recalled. This recalled was delayed several times and during that period Gouzenko and his wife decided that they were going to defect and use their knowledge of the Soviet espionage activities to buy there protection and freedom in Canada.

After trying several times to tell his story, to newspapers and the RCMP, he was finally believed by the RCMP and taken under protective security. The shock that his revelations had to the Canadian government was frightening. Mackenzie King made a trip to Washington to visit Truman and the England to visit Prime Minister Attlee, both of who were informed of the spy ring. These actions began the process which cumulated in Churchill's speech six months later and by which Truman and the west pulled together in preparing to resist the subversive, overt, political and economic attacks of he Soviet Union.

 

Canada planted herself squarely in the realm of the western world with the United States and Greta Britain and as Churchill stated, the Iron Curtin had fallen and the cold war was on. The brief wonderful period of peace after World War II had transformed into a new and eventually much more dangerous confrontation, with global annihilation as a real possibility.

 


Source:
Reference: www.canadahistory.com/sections/eras/eras.html