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Atmosphere (March 20-25, 2007)

Rodrigo Alarcón-Cielock

In Search of Atmosphere

Robert Julian Agnel

Atmosphere of Fear: The Cold War Started Here

511 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

March 21, 2007 at 11:30 AM

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© 2007 Robert Agnel, All Rights Reserved.



An atmosphere of fear and mistrust between the West and the Soviet Union started with events that took place in the apartment building at 511 Somerset Street West in centretown Ottawa.

Igor Gouzenko, a cipher clerk at the Soviet Embassy on Charlotte Street, lived here with his family. On the night of September 5, 1945 he walked out of the embassy with a briefcase containing a Soviet code book with deciphering materials and over 100 telegrams and other classified documents. He had solid proof that Alan Nunn May, a British scientist working at the National Research Council of Canada, had given the Soviets samples of enriched uranium and knowledge of the process to separate Plutonium and U-233.

The next night the KGB ransacked the apartment as the Gouzenko's watched from the neighbours apartment across the hall. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police did not want to get involved as it was thought of as an internal Soviet affair and the Soviets were still allies. The Ottawa Police watched from Dundonald Park. They decided to intervene and asked the KGB to leave the premises, which they did.

The next day Prime Minister Mackenzie King realized an extensive Soviet espionage ring had infiltrated the governments of Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The cat was out-of-the bag, the Cold War had begun. For the next 40 years we lived with the knowledge our world could end with the push of a button.

The City of Ottawa and the Government of Canada placed commemorative plaques in Dundonald Park to acknowledge this event.
http://archives.cbc.ca/IDD-1-71-72/conflict_war/gouzenko/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igor_Gouzenko http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-71-72-146/conflict_war/gouzenko/ http://circ.jmellon.com/history/gouzenko/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Nunn_May http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/releases/2007/march/atom.htm?homepage=releases



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