Cold War Personalities

Note: While this part of the website concerns primarily the period from 1940/45 to 1991 it will eventually need to be expanded to encompass individuals from our more recent history (especially since we appear to be moving into another era of Cold War). This article thus continues to be under construction so should not be considered complete. Also note much of the content below is based on Wikipedia articles which are in the public domain. A special thank you to Louise Fox a former longtime volunteer at the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum who assembled most of the following articles.


Igor Gouzenko

Gouzenko was a cypher (code) clerk at the USSR embassy in Ottawa Canada. He defected on September 5, 1945 with 109 documents reveling the Soviet’s espionage activities in the West. In doing so he exposed the USSR’s spying activities aimed at stealing nuclear secrets as well as the technique of planting sleeper agents. His defection is often credited as a triggering event of the Cold War, with many journalist and historians remarking that the Cold War began in Ottawa” and that Gouzenko’s actions “awakened the people of North America to the magnitude and the danger of Soviet espionage”.

The following 2013 article written by part time journalist Connie Higginson-Murray . Connie is one of the original group of founders of the Diefenbunker, CCWM, in Carp, ON.

Fred Rose

Rose was a Polish-Canadian politician and trade union organizer, best known for being the only member of the Canadian Parliament to ever be convicted of a charge related to spying for a foreign country. A member of the Communist Party of Canada and Labor-Progressive Party, he served as the MP for Cartier from 1943 to 1947. He was ousted from his seat after being found guilty of conspiring to steal weapons research for the Soviet Union.

Lester B. Pierson

Canadian (Liberal) politician and diplomat who served as prime minister of Canada (1963–68). He was prominent as a mediator in international disputes, and in 1957, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his creation of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in Egypt during the 1956 Suez Crisis.

John Diefenbaker

Throughout his term as Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker struggled to determine whether Canada should acquire nuclear weapons. Minister of Defence George Perkes recommended that Canada integrate its air defences with the United States in order to present a united front designed to protect both nations. The North American Aerospace Defence Command policy (NORAD) was approved by Diefenbaker in early 1957. Although NORAD represented a major defence commitment, the decision was made without discussion with Cabinet or the Defence Committee. 


Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972)


Truman was U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Vice-President for only 82 days before Roosevelt died suddenly and Truman became the 33rd U.S. President in 1945. In his first six months in office, Truman presided over the end of World War II by dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, announced Germany’s surrender and signed the charter ratifying the United Nations.

Although the Soviet Union had been a powerful ally to America during World War II, international relations deteriorated quickly when it became apparent that the Soviets intended to remain in control of the Eastern European nations that were expected to be reestablished according to their pre-war governments. This policy of communist containment by Truman, along with the exclusion of the Soviets from the reconstruction of Asia, are credited with starting the Cold War.

Truman left the U.S. Presidency in 1953.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969)


Eisenhower was appointed the U.S. Army Chief of Staff in 1945 and he became the first Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1951.

He was elected the 34th U.S. President in 1952 and serve two terms as President until 1961. He made reducing Cold War tensions through military negotiation a main focus of his administration.

In 1953, Eisenhower promoted “Atoms for Peace” at the United Nations General Assembly to ease Cold War tensions. The U.S. and Russia has both recently developed atomic bombs and the speech promoted applying atomic energy to peaceful uses rather than using it for weaponry and warfare.

Also in 1953, he orchestrated an armistice that brought peace to South Korea’s border.

In 1955, he met with Russian, British and French leaders to further quell the threat of atomic war.

Eisenhower was re-elected in 1956 for a second term as President and over the course of this term he continued to promote his “Atoms for Peace” program.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963 (assassinated while President)


Kennedy served in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate before becoming the 35th American President in 1961. In 1961, he created the Alliance for Progress to foster greater economic ties with Latin America, in hopes of alleviating poverty and thwarting the spread of communism in the region.

Kennedy presided over a series of international crises. On April 15, 1961, he authorized a covert mission to overthrow leftist Cuban leader Fidel Castro with a group of 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban refugees. Known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the mission was a failure.

The greatest crisis of the Kennedy administration was the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. Discovering that the Soviet Union had sent nuclear ballistic missiles to Cuba, Kennedy blockaded the island and vowed to defend the United States at any cost. After several extremely tense days during which the world seemed on the brink of nuclear annihilation, the Soviet Union agreed to remove the missiles in return for Kennedy’s promise to not invade Cuba and to remove American missiles for Turkey.

In June 1963, Kennedy successfully negotiated the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty with Great Britain and the Soviet Union, helping to ease Cold War tensions.

Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994)


Ricard Nixon was the 37th U.S. President from 1969 to 1974 and he had a national reputation as a fervent anti-Communist. His administration successfully negotiated the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) designed to deter the Soviet Union from launching the first strike.

With the assistance of his National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger, Nixon was able to achieve détente with China and the Soviet Union, who were allies with each other, by playing one off against the other. Nixon sensed an opportunity to shift the Cold War balance of power towards the West.

In 1972, Nixon traveled to China and engaged in talks with Mao Tse-tung (also spelled Zedong), the Chinese leader. This visit ushered in a new era of Chinese-American relations and pressured the Soviet Union to agree to better relations with the U.S.

Ronald Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004)


Reagan was the 40th U.S. President (1981-1989) and was noted for his fervent anti-communism. His policies are credited with contributing to the demise of Soviet communism.

When he became President, he urged a more aggressive approach to combat communism. His militant anti-communism combined with his harsh anti-Soviet rhetoric (he denounced the Soviet Union as “an evil empire” and “the focus of evil in the modern world”) was one of many factors that contributed to the worsening of U.S.-Soviet relations in the first years of his presidency.

The behaviour of the Soviet Union also strained relations such as when the communist government in Poland imposing marital law under intense pressure from Moscow.

U.S.-Soviet relations improved considerably during Reagan’s second term as President. He softened his anti-communist rhetoric and adopted a more encouraging tone to the changes in the Soviet Union including to the policies of the moderate Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after 1985, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1990-1991. Reagan helped to end the Cold War.

Reagan and Gorbachev met for the first time in 1985 to discuss reductions in nuclear weapons and in 1987 the treaty was signed to eliminate intermediate range nuclear missiles (INF) on European soil. This first arms-control pact required an actual reduction in nuclear arsenals.

Henry Kissinger (May 27, 1923 – November 29, 2023)


He was an American statesman and political scientist who, as the National Security Advisor and as the Secretary of State, was a major influence in the shaping of United States foreign policy from 1969 to 1977 under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Kissinger was an influential figure in the Nixon administration. He developed a policy of warmer U.S. relations with the Soviet Union, détente, which led to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) in 1969.

He also helped negotiate the SALT I arms agreement with the Soviet Union that was signed in 1972 and developed a rapprochement between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China in 1972, the first official United States contact with that nation since the Chinese communists came to power.

In 1973, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for his efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the Vietnam War.

Joseph McCarthy (November 4, 1908 – May 2, 1957)


He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1946 and in 1950 he publicly charged that 205 communists had infiltrated the U.S. State Department. Re-elected in 1952, he became the Chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on investigations and for the next two years he investigated various government departments and questioned numerous witnesses resulting in what would be know as the Red Scare. A corresponding Lavender Scare was directed at LGBT federal employees.

His aggressive tactics used in these investigations led to the persecution and the loss of livelihoods for countless innocent people. His actions came to be known as McCarthyism.

In 1954, a 36-day long televised hearing was held that clearly illustrated for the nation that McCarthy had overstepped his authority. McCarthy was discredited, stripped of his chairmanship and condemned by the U.S. Congress. After this, he fell out of the spotlight but continued to serve in Congress.

George C. Marshall (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959)


Marshall was a General in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Chief of Staff in World War II (1939-1945). Later, he was the U.S. Secretary of State (1947-1949) and the U.S. Secretary of Defense (1950-1951).

In 1947, he proposed the European Recovery Plan that became known as the Marshall Plan. This was a U.S. sponsored program designed to rehabilitate the economy of 17 western and southern European countries to create stable conditions in which democratic institutions could survive. The Marshall Plan was very successful and played an important role in the reconstruction of postwar Europe.

While Secretary of State, Marshall was also involved in the initial discussions that led to the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

In 1950 as the Secretary of Defense, he helped prepare the U.S. armed forces for the Korean War.

In 1953, he received a Noble Prize for Peace in recognition of his contributions to the economic rehabilitation of Europe after World War II and his efforts to promote world peace and understanding.

Francis Gary Powers (August 17, 1929 – August 1, 1977)


Francis Gary Powers was a United States military officer. He was a pilot who was captured on May 1, 1960 while on a reconnaissance flight deep inside the Soviet Union. The capture, known as the U-2 Incident, resulted in the cancellation by the Soviet Union of a conference with the United States, Great Britain and France.

Powers was tried and convicted of espionage and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released in 1962 in exchange for the Soviet spy Rudolf Abel. He returned to the U.S. and in 1970 he wrote his view of the U-2 Incident in Operation Overflight.

Aldrich Ames (May 26, 1941 – )


He was an American spy who was official in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (from 1962 to 1994) entrusted with discovering Soviet spies and who himself became one of the most successful double agents for the Soviet Union and after 1991, Russia.

In 1985, Aldrich began selling American intelligence information to the KGB. At least 10 CIA agents within the Soviet Union were executed as a result of Ames’ spying. He ultimately revealed the name of every U.S. agent operating in the Soviet Union and after 1991, Russia.

In 1994, he was arrested and convicted of espionage and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. He is still in prison in the United States.


Mao Tse-tung (also spelled Zedong) (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976)


Mao Tse-tung was the principal Chinese Marxist theorist, soldier and statesman who led his nation’s Cultural Revolution.

He served as the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to 1959 and led the Chinese Communist Party from 1935 until his death in 1976.


Margaret Thatcher (October 13, 1925 – April 8, 2013)


She became the Conservative Party leader is 1975 and the first woman to serve as the opposition leader in the House of Commons.

In keeping with her strong anti-communist position, a 1976 speech condemning communism earned her the nickname of the “Iron Lady” in the Soviet press.

In 1979, she became the first female Prime Minister of Britain and continued as Prime Minister until 1990.

With U.S. President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989), Thatcher shared a vision of a world in which the Soviet Union was an evil enemy deserving of no compromise, ensuring that that the Cold War continued strong until the rise to power of the Soviet Union’s reform-minded Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985. Thatcher met with Gorbachev in 1984.

Kim’ Philby (full name Harold Adrian Philby) (January 1, 1912 – May 11, 1988)


Philby was a British intelligence officer until 1951 and a Soviet spy. He was the most successful Soviet double agent of the Cold War period.

While a student at the University of Cambridge, he became a communist and in 1933 a Soviet agent. He worked as a journalist until 1940, when Guy Burgess, a British secret agent who was a Soviet double agent, recruited Philby into the MI-6 section of the British intelligence service.

By the end of World War II, Philby has become the head of the counterespionage operations for MI-6, in which post he was responsible for combating Soviet subversion in western Europe.

In 1949, he was sent to Washington, D.C. to serve as the chief MI-6 officer there and as the top liaison officer between the British and U.S. intelligence services. While holding this highly sensitive post, he revealed to the Soviets an Allied plan to send armed anti-communist bands into Albania in 1950, thereby assuring their defeat.

He also warned two Soviet double agents in the British diplomatic service, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, that they were under suspicion (these two men escaped to the Soviet Union in 1951).

Philby also transmitted detailed information about MI-6 and the CIA to the Soviets.

He was relieved of his intelligence duties in 1951 and dismissed from MI-6 in 1955. He then worked as a journalist in Beirut until fleeing to the Soviet Union in 1963 and settling in Moscow.

He eventually reached the rank of colonel in the KGB, the Soviet intelligence service. He was apparently responsible for the deaths of many western intelligence agents whose activities he betrayed to the Soviets during the 1940s and the early 1950s.

Guy Burgess (April 16, 1911 – August 30, 1963)


He was a British diplomat who spied for the Soviet Union in World War II and the early Cold War period.

While a student at the University of Cambridge in the 1930s, he was part of a group of students, including Kim Philby and Donald Maclean, who disagreed with capitalist democracy.

These men were recruited by Soviet intelligence operatives to become secret agents. Burgess began supplying information from his posts as a BBC correspondent to the Soviets from 1936 to 1938.

He was a member of the MI-6 intelligence agency from 1938-1941 and a member of the British Foreign Office from 1944.

In 1951, he was recalled from his post as the second secretary of the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. and in May, 1951 Burgess, along with Donald Maclean, fled England and vanished. They resurfaced in 1956 and announced that they were living as communists in Moscow.

Burgess died of a heart attack in 1963.

Donald Maclean (May 25, 1913 – March 11, 1983)


He was a British diplomat who spied for the Soviet Union in World War II and the early Cold War period.

While a student at the University of Cambridge in the 1930s, he was part of a group of students, including Kim Philby and Guy Burgess, who disagreed with capitalist democracy.

Maclean was recruited by Soviet intelligence operatives to become a secret agent and he began supplying information to the Soviets as a member of the British Foreign Office from 1934.

As first secretary and then head of chancery at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., he gained the post of secretary of the Combined Policy Committee on Atomic Development and was privy to highly classified information.

He also supplied the Soviet Union with secret material related to the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

In May, 1951, Maclean, along with Guy Burgess, fled England and vanished. They resurfaced in 1956 and announced that they were living as communists in Moscow.

Anthony Blunt (September 26, 1907 – Match 26, 1983)


He was a British art historian who late in life was revealed to have been a Soviet spy.

While a student at the University of Cambridge in the 1930s, he was part of a group of students, including Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, who disagreed with capitalist democracy and he became involve in espionage for the Soviet Union.

During World War II, he served with MI-5, a military intelligence organization, and he was able to supply secret information to the Soviets and warn fellow agents about counterintelligence operations that might endanger them.

Blunt had a brilliant public career. In 1945, he was appointed the surveyor of the King’s, and later the Queen’s, pictures and in 1947 he became the Director of the Courtauld Institute, one of the world’s leading centres for art history.

In 1964, he secretly confessed his Soviet connections to the British authorities but not until 1979 was his past made public as the “4th man” in the spy ring with Philby, Burgess and Maclean. He was stripped of his knighthood that had been awarded to him in 1956.


Imre Nagy (June 7, 1896 – June 16, 1958)


Nagy was a Hungarian statesman, independent communist and the premier of revolutionary government (1953-1955 and 1956) whose attempt to establish Hungary’s independence from the Soviet Union cost him his life.

During the October 1956 Hungarian revolution, anti-Soviet elements turned to Nagy for leadership and he became the premier of Hungary once again. The uprising was unsuccessful and he was ultimately tried for treason in secret and executed.

In 1989, Nagy was posthumously rehabilitated by Hungary’s Supreme Court and reburied with full honours.

Walter Ulbricht (June 30, 1893 – August 1, 1973)


He was the German communist leader and the head of the post-World War II German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

He fled abroad after the accession of Hitler to power in Germany in 1933. He retuned to Germany in 1945 and organized the administration in the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany.

In 1946, he played a lead role in the establishment of the Socialist Unity Party (SED) which controlled East Germany until 1989.

With the formation of the German Democratic Republic in 1949, he became the deputy Prime Minister and added the post of general or first secretary of the SED in 1950.

In 1960, he became the chairman of the council of state. He formally took supreme power and crushed all opposition. He was the head of state from 1960 until his death in 1973.

Only after the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961 did the government finally begin to ease its strict control and permit a certain amount of economic liberalization and decentralization.

Ulbricht remained opposed to the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). He was forced to retire as the first secretary of the SED in 1971 when the Soviet Union opened relations with West Germany.

Erich Honecker (August 25, 1912 – May 29, 1994)


He was a German communist politician who led the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from 1971 until shortly before the fall of the Belin Wall in 1989. He was the first secretary of the Socialist Unity Party (SED) and the chairman of the Council of State thus heading both the party and the government. He was the successor to the East German leader Walter Ulbricht.

Under Honecker’s rule, East Germany was one of most repressive but one of the most prosperous of the Soviet-bloc countries in eastern Europe.

He was forced to resign in 1989 in wake of the democratic reforms sweeping eastern Europe and charged with abuses of power and other crimes. In ill health, he was released by the German authorities in 1993 and allowed to go to Chile where he died in 1994.

Helmut Kohl (April 3,1930 – June 16, 2017)


He was a German politician who served as the Chancellor of Germany from 1982-1998 (Chancellor of West Germany from 1982-1990 and of the reunified German nation from 1990-1998).

Kohl presided over the integration of East Germany into West Germany in 1990 and thus became the first chancellor of a unified Germany since 1945.

Vaclav Havel (October 5, 1936 – December 18, 2011)


He was a Czech playwright, poet and political dissident who, after the fall of communism, was the President of Czechoslovakia from 1989-1992 and of the Czech Republic from 1993-2003.

Havel was a prominent participant in the liberal reforms of 1968 (known as the Prague Spring) and after the Soviet clampdown on Czechoslovakia in 1968 his plays were banned.

During the 1970s and the 1980s, Havel was repeatedly arrested and served four years in prison (1979-1983) for his activities on behalf of human rights in Czechoslovakia.

When massive anti-government demonstrations erupted in Prague in 1989, Havel became a leading figure in the Civic Forum, a new coalition of non-communist opposition groups pressing for democratic reforms. The Communist Party capitulated and formed a coalition government with the Civic Forum resulting in this bloodless “Velvet Revolution”.

Havel was elected as the interim President of Czechoslovakia in 1989 and re-elected as President in 1990 becoming its first non-communist leader since 1948.

The Czechoslovak Union faced dissolution in 1992 so Havel, who opposed the dissolution, resigned as President. In 1993, Havel was elected President of the new Czech Republic.

In 1998, he was re-elected President and under his presidency the Czech Republic joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999. Havel stepped down as President in 2003.

Wojeiech Jaruzelski (July 6, 1923 – May 25, 2014)


He was a Polish army general and political leader who served as Poland’s Premier (1981-1985), chairman of the Council of State (1985-1989) and President (1989-1990) during the final years of communist rule in Poland. He eventually saw Poland’s move to a market economy and a multiparty democracy.

As Poland came under increasing pressure from the Solidarity trade union, Jaruzelski, in an effort to crush Solidarity and restore economic stability, declared martial law in Poland in 1981 and undertook mass arrests of political dissidents and Solidarity leaders, including Lech Walesa. Having suppressed Solidarity, Jaruzelski lifted martial law in 1983 but remained firmly in control.

Though adept at suppressing political opposition, he was less successful at restoring Poland’s stagnant economy. In 1988, he changed course and approved negotiations between the government and the outlawed Solidarity. These talks culminated in 1989 in an agreement for far-reaching reforms in Poland’s political system, notably the legalization of Solidarity and the holding of free elections to a re-structured parliament.

In 1990. Lech Walesa was elected as Poland’s President and Jaruzelski withdrew from active politics.

Nicolae Ceausescu (January 26, 1918 – December 25, 1989)


He was a communist official who was the President and leader of Romania from 1965 until he was overthrown and killed in a revolution in 1989.

His regime collapsed after he ordered his security forces to fire on anti-government demonstrators in 1989 and the Romanian army defected to support the demonstrators.

Ceausescu and his wife Elena fled but they were captured, taken into custody by the armed forces and hurriedly tried and convicted by a special military tribunal on charges of mass murder and other crimes. He and Elena were then shot by a firing squad.


Andrei Gromyko (July 18, 1909 – July 2, 1989)


He was a Soviet politician and diplomat during the Cold War. He served as the Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs (1957-1985) as the President of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from 1985 to 1988. He was responsible for many top decisions on Soviet foreign policy until he retired in 1988.

Although he was never strongly identified with any particular policy and political faction he served dependably as a skilled emissary and spokesman.


Fidel Castro (August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016)


Castro was the political leader of Cuba (1959-2008) who transformed Cuba into the first communist state in the Western Hemisphere. He became a symbol of communist revolution in Latin America. He was the premier from 1959 to 1976 and the President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers from 1976 to 2008.

In 1960, most of the economic ties between Cuba and the Untied States were severed and the U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961. In the same year, the U.S. government secretly equipped thousands of Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro’s government but their landing at the Bay of Pigs was crushed by Castro’s armed forces. Cuba also began acquiring weapons from the Soviet Union which soon became Cuba’s chief supporter and trade partner.

In 1962, the Soviet Union secretly stationed ballistic missiles in Cuba that could deliver nuclear warheads to American cities and in the ensuing confrontation with the U.S. the world came close to a nuclear war. The Cuban Missile Crisis ended when the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw nuclear weapons from Cuba in exchange for a pledge that the United States would withdraw the nuclear-armed missiles it stationed in Turkey and no longer seek to overthrow the Castro regime.

In 2006, Castro handed over provisional power due to health problems and he formally relinquished the presidency in 2008.


Willy Brandt (December 18, 1913 – October 8/9, 1922)


He was a German statesman, leader of the German Social Democratic Party of Germany from 1964 to 1987 and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) from 1969 to 1974.

Brandt was awarded the Noble Prize for Peace in 1971 for his efforts to achieve reconciliation between West Germany and the countries of the Soviet bloc.


Charles de Gaulle became the last President of the Fourth Republic. He was granted full powers and had a new Constitution drawn up. General de Gaulle presented the draft Constitution of the Fifth Republic to the people. The new Constitution was adopted by referendum.

France is one of the 12 founding members of NATO. It also hosted the first permanent headquarters in Paris in the 1950s and 60s. In 1966, France decided to withdraw from the Alliance’s integrated military command. That decision appears not to have undermined France’s commitment to the Alliance’s collective defence. According to the French the aim was to change the form of our Alliance without changing its substance. (After the Cold War and following the positive vote of the National Assembly, France officially announced its full participation in NATO military command structures at the Strasbourg / Kehl Summit in April 2009).


Dag Hammarskjold (July 29, 1905 – September 18, 1961)


He was a Swedish economist and a statesman who was the second Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) from 1953-1961. In this position, he enhanced the prestige and effectiveness of the UN.

In 1960, with the United States and the Soviet Union supporting different sides in the conflict in the newly-independent Republic of the Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and both sides vying for influence in the region, the Congo crisis became an extension of the Cold War. Hammarskjold had sent a UN peacekeeping force to suppress violence in the region.

In 1961, Hammarskjold undertook a peace mission to Katanga, then part of the Republic of the Congo, amid the fighting between the UN peacekeepers and the secessionists. He was killed when his airplane crashed approaching Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia).

He was posthumously awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1961.


Joseph Stalin 6 December 1878 – 5 March 1953 was a Georgian-born Soviet revolutionary and political leader who led the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. He held power as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952) and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union (1941–1953). Initially governing the country as part of a collective leadership, he consolidated power to become a dictator by the 1930s. Ideologically adhering to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, he formalized these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, while his own policies are called Stalinism.

Nikita Khrushchev 15 Apri1 1894– 11 September 1971 was the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 and chairman of the country’s Council of Ministers from 1958 to 1964. During his rule, Khrushchev stunned the communist world with his denunciation of his predecessor Joseph Stalin’s crimes, and embarked on a policy of de-Stalinization with his key ally Anastas Mikoyan. He sponsored the early Soviet space program, and enactment of moderate reforms in domestic policy. After some false starts, and a narrowly avoided nuclear war over Cuba, he conducted successful negotiations with the United States to reduce Cold War tensions. In 1964, the Kremlin leadership stripped him of power, replacing him with Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary and Alexei Kosygin as Premier.

Leonid Brezhnev 19 December 1906 – 10 November 1982] was a Soviet politician who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union between 1964 and 1982 and Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet between 1960 and 1964 and again between 1977 and 1982. His 18-year term as General Secretary was second only to Joseph Stalin’s in duration. Brezhnev’s tenure as General Secretary remains debated by historians; while his rule was characterised by political stability and significant foreign policy successes, it was also marked by corruption, inefficiency, economic stagnation, and rapidly growing technological gaps with the West.

Yuri Andropov 15 June 1914 – 9 February 1984 was the sixth paramount leader of the Soviet Union and the fourth General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. After Leonid Brezhnev’s 18-year rule, Andropov served in the post from November 1982 until his death in February 1984.

Mikhail Gorbachev 2 March 1931 – 30 August 2022 was a Soviet and Russian politician who served as the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 to the country’s dissolution in 1991. He served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 and additionally as head of state beginning in 1988, as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1988 to 1989, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990 and the only President of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991. Ideologically, Gorbachev initially adhered to Marxism–Leninism but moved towards social democracy by the early 1990s. Glasnost and Perestroika

The following is an excerpt from the Toronto Globe and Mail’s year end review of VIPs that died in 2022:

Few people shaped modern geopolitics more than Mr. Gorbachev, who ascended to the post of general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1986 after his two immediate predecessors died within 13 months of each other. A relatively young 54 when he came to office, Mr. Gorbachev was the first and only Soviet leader born after the Russian Revolution of 1917. He opened the country’s closed political and economic system to changes that would eventually explode it.

Mr. Gorbachev’s greatest contribution was to tell the Red Army to stand down when his predecessors would have ordered bloodshed. Soviet troops stood aside as the Berlin Wall fell and other pro-democracy uprisings erupted across Eastern Europe in 1989. As the threat of nuclear war receded, the man affectionately known in the West as “Gorby” was awarded the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize.

Boris Yeltsin 1 February 1931 – 23 April 2007 was a Soviet and Russian politician who served as the first president of the Russian Federation from 1991 to 1999. He was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1961 to 1990. He later stood as a political independent, during which time he was viewed as being ideologically aligned with liberalism and Russian nationalism.

Andrei Sakharov…1986 released from internal exile

Stanislav Petrov The Man Who Saved the World is a 2013 feature-length Danish documentary film by filmmaker Peter Anthony about Stanislav Petrov. On 26 September 1983, just three weeks after the Soviet military had shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, Lieutenant Colonel Petrov was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early-warning system when the system reported that five missiles had been launched from the United States. Petrov judged the reports to be a false alarm, and his decision is credited with having prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its NATO allies that could have resulted in large-scale nuclear war. The result of Petrov’s decision for humanity was that life as we know it went on unabated. The result of Petrov’s decision on his military career was quite different.  His decision had brought to light problems in the Soviet early warning system and embarrassed his superiors.  He was denied promotions, reassigned and took early retirement.  The story was not even known outside the secretive world of the Soviet military until the late 1990s.

immy Carter (October 1, 1924 – )


He was the 39th U.S. President from 1977-1981. He won the Noble Prize for Peace in 2002 for his work in diplomacy and advocacy both during and after his presidency.

In 1979, Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev signed a new bilateral strategic arms limitation treaty (SALT II) intended to establish parity in strategic nuclear weapons delivery systems between the two superpowers on terms that could be adequately verified.

Carter removed the treaty from consideration by the U.S. Senate in 1980 after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Carter also placed an embargo on the shipment of American grain to the Soviet Union and pressed for a U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics due to be held in Moscow.

J. (John) Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895 – May 2, 1972)


He was a United States government official who, as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 1924 until his death in 1972, built that agency into a highly effective, if occasionally controversial, arm of federal law enforcement. Hoover served 8 U.S. Presidents and 18 attorney generals.

In the late 1930s, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave Hoover the task of investigating both foreign espionage in the U.S. and activities of communists and fascists.

During the Cold War in the late 1940s, the FBI, under Hoover’s leadership, undertook the intensive surveillance of communists and other left-wing activists in the U.S.

John Foster Dulles (February 25, 1888 – May 24, 1959)


He was a U.S. secretary of state from 1953-1959 under U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower who was the architect of many major elements of U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War with the Soviet Union after World War II.

Dulles profoundly detested communism and his passionate hostility towards communism was the recurrent theme of his policy. He pushed the Soviets to the brink in negotiations, announcing in a speech that the U.S. would react with “massive nuclear retaliation” to any Soviet aggression. This expression found a permanent place in the vocabulary of U.S. foreign policy.

Many leading statesmen of the non-communist nations have credited Dulles’ firmness in his diplomacy with having checkmated the communist Cold War strategy.

Curtis E. LeMay (November 15, 1906 – October 1, 1990)


He was a U.S. Air Force officer whose expertise in strategic bombardment techniques was important during World War II and afterward.

After the war, LeMay commanded the U.S. air forces in Europe. He headed the U.S. Strategic Air Command from 1948-1957 and built it into a global strike force. He was promoted to General in 1951.

In 1957, he was named vice chief of staff and in 1961 he became the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. He retired in 1965.

Zbigniew Brzezinski (March 28, 1928 – May 26, 2017)


He was a Polish-born U.S. international relations scholar and national security adviser in the administration of U.S. President Jimmy Carter from 1977-1981. He played key roles in negotiating the SALT II nuclear weapons treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. He harboured a deep opposition to communism and the Soviet Union.

He worked hard on improving U.S. relations with China. Under his guidance, the U.S. opened its first official embassy in the Chinese capital since the communists assumed power in 1949.

Bernard Baruch (August 19, 1870 – June 20, 1965)


He was an American financier who was an adviser to U.S. Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The designation of “elder statesman” was applied to Baruch perhaps more often than to any other American of his time.

He was employed as an adviser by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during World War II, although he did not hold an administrative position. After the war, he played an instrumental role in formulating policy at the United Nations regarding the international control of atomic energy.

George F. Kennan (February 16,1904 – March 17, 2005)


He was an American diplomat, historian and Cold War strategist. He was the U.S. ambassador to Russia from 1952-1953 and Yugoslavia from 1961-1963 as well as a prolific and acclaimed author.

He is best known for his successful advocacy of a “containment policy” to oppose Soviet expansionism following World War II. In 1947, he questioned the wisdom of the U.S.’s attempt to conciliate and appease the Soviet Union. He suggested that the Russians, while still fundamentally opposed to coexistence with the West and bent on the worldwide extension of the Soviet system, were acutely sensitive to the logic of military force and would temporize or retreat in the face of skillful and determined western opposition to their expansion.

He then advocated for U.S. counterpressure wherever the Soviet threatened to expand and predicted that such counterpressure would lead either to the Soviets willing to cooperate with the U.S. or perhaps eventually to an internal collapse of the Soviet government. This view subsequently became the core of the U.S. policy towards the Soviet Union.

In the late 1950s, Kennan revised his containment views advocating instead for a program of U.S. “disengagement” from areas of conflict with the Soviet Union.

Walter Lippmann (September 23, 1889 – December 14, 1974)

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He was an American writer, journalist and political commentator as well as one of the most widely respected political columnists in the world. He was an informal adviser to several U.S. presidents.

With a career spanning 60 years, his syndicated column “Today and Tomorrow” was in more than 250 newspapers in the U.S. and 25 other nations. He retired his syndicated column in 1967.

He won the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism in 1958 and the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1962.

In 1946, he became the leading public advocate of the need to respect a Soviet sphere of influence in Europe, as opposed to the containment strategy being advocated at the time by George F. Kennan.

He is famous for being among the first to introduce the concept of the “Cold War” and he was the first to bring the phrase the “Cold War” into common usage, in his 1947 book The Cold War.

Meredith Gardner (October 20, 1912 – August 9, 2002)


He was an American linguist and code-breaker who worked in 1946 in counterintelligence decoding Soviet intelligence traffic regarding espionage in the U.S. He worked in what was later codenamed the highly secret Venona Project where he worked to break Soviet cryptosystems.

In 1947, it became apparent to him that he was reading KGB messages showing massive Soviet espionage in the U.S.

In 1949, he made his big breakthrough when he was able to decipher enough of a Soviet message to confirm that during World War II the Soviets had a spy who had access to secret communication between the U.S. President and the British Prime Minister.

Gardner retired in 1972, yet his work remained mostly secret until 1996.

Angeline Nanni (August 2, 1918 – August 27, 2019)


For nearly 40 years, she and several dozen colleagues helped identify those who passed American and Allied secrets to the Soviet Union during and after World War II. Their persistence and talent brought about one of the greatest counterespionage triumphs of the Cold War – the Venona Project, the top-secret U.S. effort to break the encrypted Soviet spy communications.

Their highly classified work unmasked such spies as the British intelligence officer Kim Philby, the British diplomat Donald Maclean and Klaus Fuchs, amongst many others. They provided vital intelligence about Soviet tradecraft such as the Soviet’s techniques and methods of spying.

Most of the people working on the Venona Project were women, female code-breakers like Angeline Nanni. These young women were privy to some of the most closely held secrets of Cold War espionage.

The Venona Project was de-classified in 1995. Angeline Nanni was the last of the female code-breakers who served on the Venona Project. She died in 2019, aged 101.

Julius Rosenberg (May 12, 1918 – June 19, 1953) and Ethel Rosenberg (September 28, 1915 – June 19, 1953)


They were American spies and the first American civilians to be executed for conspiracy to commit espionage. They were also the first to suffer the penalty of death during peacetime.

When they were married in 1939, they were already active members of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA).

In 1940, Julius obtained a job as a civilian engineer with the U.S. Army Signal Corps and he and Ethel began working together to disclose U. S. military secrets to the Soviet Union.

Later, Ethel’s brother, who was assigned as a machinist on the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb, provided the Rosenbergs with data on nuclear weapons. Through a courier, the Rosenbergs turned over this information to the Soviet Union’s vice-consul in New York City.

They were arrested in 1950 and charged with conspiracy to commit espionage. They were brought to trial in 1951, found guilty and both sentenced to death.

For two years the Rosenberg case was appealed through the courts and before world opinion. Seven different appeals reached the Supreme Court of the United States and were denied. Pleas for executive clemency were dismissed by U.S. Presidents Harry Truman in 1952 and Dwight Eisenhower in 1953. A worldwide campaign for mercy failed and they were both executed in 1953.

In the years after their executions, there was significant debate about their guilt. The controversy over their guilt was seemingly resolved in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the release of Soviet intelligence information that confirmed Julius Rosenberg’s involvement in espionage.


Winston Churchill (November 30, 1874 – January 24, 1965)


Churchill was a British statesman, orator and author who was the British Prime Minister from 1940-1945 and 1951-1955. He rallied the British people during World War II and led his country from the brink of defeat to victory.

When Hitler launched an attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, Churchill shaped the Allied strategy in World War II along with U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Soviet Union’s Jospeh Stalin. After the breakdown of the alliance, Churchill alerted the West to the expansionist threat of the Soviet Union.

Anthony Eden (June 12, 1897 – January 14, 1977)


He was a British foreign secretary from 1935-1938, 1940-1945 and 1951-1955 and the Prime Minister of Britian from 1955 -1957. He was knighted in 1954.

In 1955 as Prime Minister, Eden attempted to ease international tension by welcoming to Britain the Soviet leaders Nikita Khrushchev and Nicolay Bulganin.

John Cairncross (July 25, 1913 – October 8, 1995)


He was a British civil servant, a British spy and later in 1951 he became a literary scholar.

In 1944, he was transferred to MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence agency, where until 1945 he worked under Kim Philby. In 1951, Cairncross was interrogated by MI5, the British domestic security agency, and denied having spied for the Soviets but resigned from the Civil Service.

In 1964 after Philby had defected to the Soviet Union, Cairncross again was interrogated by MI5 and he confessed to espionage but was not prosecuted.

In the 1990s, Cairncross was identified as the “fifth man” in the “Cambridge Five” spy ring (British spies Maclean, Burgess, Philby, Blunt and Cairncross).

Melita Norwood (March 25, 1912 – June 2, 2005)


She was a British civil servant, a Communist Party of Great Britian member and a KGB spy. She is considered to be both the most important British female agent in KGB history and the longest serving of all the Soviet spies in Britain.

She is most famous for supplying the Soviet Union with state secrets concerning the development of atomic weapons from her secretarial job at the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association where she worked for 40 years from 1932-1972. She refused any financial rewards from the Soviets for her work. She argued that disclosures of classified work helped to avoid the possibility of a third world war involving the U.S., Britain and the Soviet Union.

She was unmasked as a spy in 1999 and was never charged with an offence. At the time of her exposure she said, “I did what I did, not to make money, but to help prevent the defeat of a new system which had, at great cost, given ordinary people food and fares which they could afford, a good education and a health service.”

In 2014, newly released files suggest the Melita Norwood was more highly valued by the KGB than the “Cambridge Five” spy ring (British spies Maclean, Burgess, Philby, Blunt and Cairncross).


Vladimir Lenin (April 22, 1870 – January 21, 1924)


He was the founder of the Russian Communist Party (the Bolsheviks), inspirer and leader of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and the architect, builder and first head (Prime Minister) of the Soviet state from 1917-1924.

Lenin was the founder of the organization known as Comintern (Communist International) and the posthumous source of “Leninism”, the doctrine codified and conjoined with Karl Marx’s works by Lenin’s successors to form Marxism-Leninism which became the Communist worldview.

If the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution is the most significant political event of the 20th century, then Lenin must be regarded as the century’s most significant political leader. Lenin has been regarded as the greatest revolutionary leader and revolutionary statesman in history, as well as the greatest revolutionary thinker since Marx.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (December 11, 1918 – August 3, 2008)


He was a Russian author, historian and prominent Soviet dissident who helped to raise global awareness of the political repression in the Soviet Union, especially in the Gulag prison system.

Ideological strictures on cultural activity in the Soviet Union tightened with Nikita Khrushchev’s fall from power in 1964 and Solzhenitsyn met first with increasing criticism and then with overt harassment from the authorities when he emerged as an eloquent opponent of the repressive government policies.

After the publication of a collection of short stories in 1963, he was denied further official publication of his work so he resorted to self-publication and publishing his work abroad. The following years were marked by the foreign publication of several ambitious novels that secured his international literary reputation. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970.

Upon the publication of the first volume of The Gulag Archipelago in 1973, he was immediately attacked in the Soviet press. Despite intense interest in his fate in the West, Solzhenitsyn was arrested and charged with treason in 1974. He was exiled from the Soviet Union the next day.

In presenting alternatives to the Soviet regime, he tended to reject the Westen emphasis on democracy and individual freedom and instead favoured the formation of a benevolent authoritarian regime that would draw upon Russia’s traditional Christian values.

The introduction of “glasnost” (openness) in the late 1980s brought renewed access to his work in the Soviet Union. His Soviet citizenship was officially restored in 1990 and he ended his exile and returned to the Russia in 1994.

Georgy Similianovich Malenkov (January 13, 1902 – January 14, 1988)


He was a prominent Soviet statesman and Communist Party official. He was a close collaborator with Joseph Stalin and deeply involved in the great party purge of the late 1930s. He was the Prime Minister of the Soviet Union from 1953-1955 after Stalin’s death.

His programs as Prime Minister were opposed by other party leaders and he was forced to resign as Prime Minister in 1955. He retained his influential position on the party’s Presidium until 1957 when he was expelled from the Presidium and the Central Committee after participating in a vain effort by an anti-party group to depose Nikita Khrushchev. In 1961, it was disclosed that he had also been expelled from the Communist Party. He was never rehabilitated.

Roy Medvedev November 14, 1925 – )


He is a Soviet historian and dissident who was one of his country’s foremost historiographers of the late 20th century. His father was arrested in 1938 during one of Joseph Stalin’s purges and he died in a labour camp in 1941. This tragedy sparked Medvedev’s lifelong interest in the Soviet political system and its history.

He was a member of the Communist Party from 1956 until his expulsion from the party in 1969.

From 1971, he worked as a freelance writer based in Moscow and had his works published abroad. He was less severely harassed by the Soviet authorities than his identical twin brother Zhores, a biologist. As an historian Roy Medvedev examined Soviet politics and its leading personalities from the period of the Russian Revolution to the 1960s. Some of his works were written with his brother Zhores.

Perhaps Roy Medvedev’s most important book is his 1971 Let History Judge which is a comprehensive historical study of Stalinism, with particular attention paid to that movement’s origins and consequences.

With the easing of censorship under the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s, his books were published in the Soviet Union for the first time. He emerged as a leading independent historian in the Soviet Union. In 1989, he was readmitted to the Communist Party.

Zhores Medvedev (November 14, 1925 – November 15, 2018)


He was a Soviet biologist who became an important dissident historian in the second half of the 20th century. He was the identical twin brother of historian Roy Medvedev.

In the 1960s, Zhores Medvedev wrote a history of Soviet science discrediting biology under Joseph Stalin (1929-1953). The Soviet government denied him opportunities to attend scientific conferences abroad despite his growing reputation as a scientist and he underwent constant harassment from the KGB from the mid 1960s onwards.

While in London in 1973 he was stripped of his Soviet citizenship. He settled in England and continued to document the underside of Soviet science. His Soviet citizenship was restored in 1990 and his books began to be published in the Soviet Union.

Oleg Vladimirovich Penkovsky (April 23, 1919 – May 1963?)


He was a senior Soviet military intelligence officer who served primarily in Moscow and a Cold War spy. He was convicted of spying for Britain and the U.S. and he was probably the West’s most valuable double agent during the Cold War.

In 1960-1962, his task was to collect scientific and technical intelligence on the U.S., Britain and other western countries. Meanwhile, he had become increasingly disillusioned with the Soviet system, particularly with the leadership of Nikita Khruschev.

In 1961, he offered his services to British intelligence. Between 1961-1962 he passed more than 5,000 photographs of classified military, political and economic documents to British and U.S. intelligence forces. The information that he provided on the Soviet Union’s relatively weak capability in long-range missiles proved invaluable to the U.S. before and during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

He was arrested by the Soviets in 1962 at the height of the Cuban missile crisis after they realized that highly classified information was leaking to the West. He was put on trial for treason in 1963, found guilty and sentenced to death. According to an official Soviet announcement, he was executed on May 16, 1963, although reports have him committing suicide while in a Soviet camp.


Pierre Elliott Trudeau (October 18, 1919 – September 28, 2000)


He was a Canadian lawyer and politician who was the Prime Minister of Canada from 1968-1979 and 1980-1984. He was also briefly the Leader of the Opposition from 1979-1980. While Trudeau was the Prime Minister, he established diplomatic relations with China in 1970.


Chiang Kai-shek (October 31, 1887 – April 5, 1975)


He was a Chinese statesman, soldier and head of the Nationalist government in China from 1928-1949 and subsequently the head of the Chinese Nationalist government in exile in Taiwan.

In the 1920s, he became the commander in chief of the revolutionary army, which he sent to crush the warlords who were active in the north of the country.

In the 1930s, he and Wang Jingwei vied for control of a new central government. Faced with Japanese aggression in northeastern China (Manchuria) and communist opposition led by Mao Zedong in the hinterland, Chiang decided to crush the communists first. This proved to be a mistake and Chiang was forced into a temporary alliance with the communists when war broke out with Japan in 1937.

After the war, Chiang’s civil war resumed, culminating in the Nationalists’ flight to Taiwan in 1949, where Chiang ruled, supported by U.S. economic and military aid, until his death in 1975.


Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955)


Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who is held to be the most influential physicist of the 20th century and one of the greatest and most influential scientists of all time.

He developed the special and general theories of relativity and won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.

During the late 1930s, to his horror, physicists began to seriously consider whether his theory of special relativity (the E=mc squared equation) might make an atomic bomb possible.

During World War II, his colleagues went to Los Alamos, New Mexico to develop the first atomic bomb for the Manhattan Project but Einstein, whose equation set the whole effort in motion, was not asked to participate. After the atomic bomb was dropped on Jagan, Einstein almost immediately became part of an international effort to try and bring the atomic bomb under control, forming the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists.

Einstein backed Robert Oppenheimer and opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb, instead calling for international control on the spread of nuclear technology. Einstein was also increasingly drawn to antiwar activities.

General Leslie R. (Richard) Groves (August 17, 1896 – July 13, 1970)


He was a U.S. Army General who was selected in 1942 to be in charge of the Manhattan Engineer District (MED), commonly known as the Manhattan Project, which oversaw all aspects of scientific research, production and security for the invention of the atomic bomb.

Over the next three years his responsibilities grew considerably. He oversaw the construction of the factories needed to make the key atomic bomb materials namely highly enriched uranium and plutonium. He chose the site and the key personnel, including Robert Oppenheimer, for an isolated laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico to research, develop and fabricate the bomb.

To ensure security, Groves oversaw a vast security, intelligence and counterintelligence operation with domestic and foreign branches.

To prepare for combat missions, he had several dozen B-29 aircraft specially modified to carry the 5-ton atomic bombs, initiated the creation of a special air force unit to deliver them and saw the establishment of a domestic training base in Utah and an overseas staging base in the Pacific Ocean.

These actions put Groves at the centre of the planning, targeting and timing of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

In 1946, he turned over the MED to the civilian Atomic Energy Commission. After a final assignment as the chief of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project Groves retired from the army in 1948.

J. (Julius) Robert Oppenheimer (April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967)


He was an American theoretical physicist and science administrator noted as the Director of the Manhattan Project’s Los Alamos laboratory (1943-1945) during the development of the atomic bomb and as such he played a pivotal role in the development of atomic weapons. He was often called the “father of the atomic bomb”.

In 1942, the U.S. Army was given the responsibility of organizing the efforts of the British and American physicists to find a way to harness nuclear energy for military purposes, this effort became known as the Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer was instructed to establish and administer the Los Alamos laboratory and carry out this assignment. The joint effort of these scientists culminated in the first nuclear explosion in July 1945. Oppenheimer resigned his position in October 1945.

In 1947, Oppenheimer became the Director of the Institute for Advanced study at Princeton (1947-1966).

From 1947 to 1952, he was the Chairman of the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission which in 1949 opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb.

Klaus Fuchs (December 29, 1911 – January 28, 1968)


He was a German theoretical physicist and atomic spy who supplied vital American and British atomic research secrets to the Soviet Union since 1943.

He became a British citizen in 1942. He worked in Britain on research on the atomic bomb and he began passing scientific secrets to the Soviet Union.

In 1943, he was sent to work on the atomic bomb project in Los Alamos, New Mexico (the Manhattan Project) where Fuchs acquired a thorough knowledge of the theory and design of the bomb and he passed his knowledge onto the Soviets. His espionage is credited with saving the Soviets at least one year’s work in their own program to develop the atomic bomb.

He was arrested and convicted in 1950 for giving vital American and British atomic research secrets to the Soviet Union and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

After his release from prison in 1959, Fuchs went to East Germany where he was granted citizenship and was appointed the deputy director of the Central Institute for Nuclear Research. He remained a committed communist and received many honours from the East German Communist Party and the scientific establishment there.