the gouzenko affair
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DESCRIPTIONKai Wang (and sidekick- David W.). The Gouzenko Affair. Introduction: Earlier Facts. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
The Gouzenko Affair
The Gouzenko AffairKai Wang (and sidekick- David W.)
Introduction: Earlier FactsIgor Gouzenko, a cipher clerk in the Ottawa Soviet Embassy defected to Canadian authorities on September 5, 1945 regarding Soviet espionage activity within Canada, disclosing important information on the existence a Soviet spy ring; he was subsequently placed under security protection to avoid prosecutionGouzenko provided many vital leads which assisted greatly with ongoing espionage investigations in Britain and North America. His testimony is believed to have been vital in the successful prosecution of Klaus Fuchs, the German communist physicist who emigrated to Britain and who later stole atomic secrets for the Soviets. Fuchs spent some time at the Chalk River Laboratories, northwest of Ottawa, where atomic research had been underway since the early 1940s.It is also likely that his information helped in the investigation of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in the U.S. Gouzenko, being a cipher clerk by profession, likely also assisted with the Venona investigation, which probed Soviet codes and which eventually led to the discovery of vital Soviet spies such as Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Kim Philby, in addition to many others
This was later known to be called the Gouzenko Affair, which some saw as the trigger of the Cold War; by this time, the Second World War was just about over, and tensions were mounting especially between former allies, the United States and the Soviet Union.
Canadas Role : The Government Takes ActionWithin a few days of the incident (of the defection of Gouzenko), American and British sent agents to Ottawa to assist the RCMP with its investigation; Canada, the US and Britain agreed to coordinate a series of arrests. On February 5, 1946 Prime Minister King informed his Cabinet about the Gouzenko case. Ten days later, after the first arrests were made, King informed Canadians of the creation of the Royal Commission to Investigate the Facts Relating to and the Circumstances Surrounding the Communication, by Public Officials and Other Persons in Positions of Trust of Secret and Confidential Information to Agents of a Foreign Power. Known informally as the Kellock-Tashereau Commission, the commission was given a wide mandate and extraordinary legal powers.Some Canadians, such as the Emergency Committee for Civil Rights, were troubled by the Commissions use of in camera sessions. There were also fears that the basic civil rights of Canadian citizens would be infringed upon.
The Impact of the Gouzenko CaseThe Gouzenko affair had a clear impact on Canadian public opinion, particularly perceptions of the Soviet Union. Feelings of solidarity towards a wartime ally dissipated and overt anti-Communist rhetoric began to surface. Many Canadians, feared that Communists were planning to overthrow western democracies; the Gouzenko affair provided evidence for their cause. Other Canadians, sought to downplay the impact of the Gouzenko defection and present a more positive view of Communism.Gouzenkos statement and the ensuing Royal Commission provided ample justification for being suspicious of the Soviet Union and Stalin. For Canadians the affair came to symbolize the commencement of the Cold War.
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