Friday, December 11, 2020

The Ending Of The War

The World War Two portion of the Museum ends here, with panels, photographs, and artifacts.

That includes images of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, who found themselves in Germany and met Soviet counterparts at the time of the German surrender.

Most of the Canadians were in the Netherlands, where over the final months of the war they fought to liberate the country from Nazi occupation. The bond of friendship between the two countries has remained strong ever since.

But with the ending of one war would come the rise of a very different kind of conflict: the Cold War, with proxy conflicts and intelligence intrigue amid a backdrop of perpetual tension in the world. This forms the fourth section of the permanent galleries here at the War Museum.

One of the flashpoints of that war was right here in Ottawa. Igor Gouzenko, a Soviet clerk at the embassy, defected with his family, taking extensive information about intelligence operations by Soviets in the West. For the rest of his life in Canada, if Gouzenko appeared publicly, he wore a mask. He would become a writer, and today the building where he and his family were living at the time still stands (it's actually close to where I live). Plaques are placed across the street from it, explaining the momentous history of the place. 


  1. The end of war brings much relief. Have a good weekend.

  2. The bond between Canada and the Netherlands remains very strong and is based on mutual trust, respect and affection, qualities often lacking, sadly, between nations, especially when allegedly "super power" bullies are involved.

  3. I totally agree with David. Although I actually know less about Canada than about the USA, I have a different and much better feeling about Canada.
    And when it comes to the Cold War and espionage, little has changed. The secret service in our country has announced this week that a Russian spy network in our country has been dismantled. They targeted both high-quality IT techniques for both civil and military purposes.

  4. ...the end of one seems to bring on the beginning of the next!

  5. That Gouzenko story is interesting.

  6. The Dutch community here celebrates the Canadian actions to bring their country's freedom.

  7. @Agnieszka: thank you.

    @Nancy: it does indeed.

    @David: that is quite true.

    @Jan: little surprise there, especially given that Russia is run by an ex-KGB turned kleptocrat.

    @Tom: that is true.

    @Sharon: I walk past his old building most days. It's strange to think of it as a place where the Cold War began.

    @RedPat: that seems to be the case.

    @Italiafinlandia: that's true!

    @Red: that's also the case here.

  8. That's when the occupation started, and life became better for the German population ! Except the Germans who lived in the area of Russian occupation, they were behavingt worse then animals.

  9. Canadian Parachute Battalion were made of tough and brave soldiers who landed right in the middle of chaos.

  10. I've got a nephew that's going through parachute training now.

  11. I’ve been researching a local vet who was part of the liberation of the Netherlands. He spoke of saving candy to give the Dutch children.

  12. From this and your other posts, this museum is excellent.

    All the best Jan

  13. I remember the Gouzenko affair. How long ago that was!

  14. I like the idea that the Netherlands and Canada are now close friends.

  15. Informative post and photos about Canada and the Netherlands ~

    Live each moment with love,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  16. It's odd. The Cold War was of my lifetime but I know much less about that than I do WWI or WWII. The museum looks very spacious.

  17. Ditto what Jeanie above said William, so going up to learn more from your next post ✨

  18. @Gattina: the Soviets were in a punishing mindset.

    @Bill: the sort you wouldn't want to pick a fight with.

    @Revrunner: that's the sort of experience that stays with you.

    @Marie: that seems a common experience.

    @Jan: I certainly think it is.

    @Joanne: it changed the world.

    @Magiceye: many of us remember it.

    @DJan: I certainly do.

    @Carol: thank you.

    @Jeanie: it's a complicated history.

    @Grace: thanks.