Cold War Personalities

From 1940/45 to 1991


NOTE: Much of the content below is based on Wikipedia articles which are in the public domain.


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 Peakes 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. 

United States of America




Francis Gary Powers




Aldrich Ames


Mao Zedung

United Kingdom

‘Kim’ Philby

Guy Burgess…Donald McLean


North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Warsaw Pact

1956 Hungarian Revolution …………Imre Nagy

East Germany…Walter Ulbricht….Erich Honecker…Helmut Kohl

1968 Czech Spring……..Vaclav Havel and the “Velvet Revolution”.

Polish “Solidarity”…….1940 Katyn Massacre … Wojiech Jaruzelski

Ukraine … Chernobyl…….

Romania ………… Ceausescu and Wife Executed

United Nations

Dag Hammershold

Andrei Gromyko

Cabot Lodge

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

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.

Federal Republic of Germany

Willy Brandt


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).



South Africa