Up to date information on the comings and goings in The Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum. Also a behind the scenes look at how the museum operates and how the museum team is working after our capacity expansion project to which grew our capacity from 60 to 420 in July 2010!

Cold War Olympics: Helsinki, Finland 1952

Posted by Eric Espig On 09:44

The years between 1948 and 1952 were significantly formative years of the Cold War. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization had been established, Mao Zedong had declared the establishment of the communist People’s Republic of China, the USSR had acquired nuclear capability, and the states of West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) and East Germany (German Democratic Republic) were formally established and  the winter of 1952 would bring with it the paranoia of McCarthyism.War had broken out over the political future of the Korean peninsula; pitting communists against capitalist states as the conflict  escalated to involve the China and the West.

The Summer Games, held in Helsinki, Finland, were the first in which the tensions of the Cold War were strongly evident. The Soviet Union sent athletes to the competitions yet refused to house them in the Olympic Village. Instead, Soviet athletes were housed in an isolated and guarded facility near the Soviet naval base at Porkkala. Soviet Olympians  traveled to and from events under escort and were kept wholly segregated from their peers. On both the east and west side of the Cold War divide, governements equated athletic successes and medal tallies with the superiority of their particular political system. American decathlete Bob Mathias is quoted as saying, “there were many more pressures on American athletes because of the Russians. . . . They were in a sense the real enemy. You just loved to beat 'em. You just had to beat 'em. . . . This feeling was strong down through the entire team.” This sentiment was echoed by Soviet officials and both sides sought to exploit the propaganda opportunities of the Olympic Games.

In 1949 Mao Zedong had declared the establishment of the People’s Republic of China; a communist state occupying mainland China. The nationalist Chinese, under the leadership of Chiang Kai Shek had gone into exile to the island of Formosa/Taiwan naming themselves the Republic of China. On July 20, the nationalist Chinese withdrew from the competitions on the grounds that the People’s Republic of China had been allowed to participate. The 1952 Summer Games in Helsinki may have been the first where Cold War conflicts truly shared the stage with international fellowship, but they certainly wouldn’t be the last.

American propaganda "news"reel from 1952 revolving around Korea and American athletes

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Cold War Cinema - Spring Program

Posted by Eric Espig On 18:57

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Bunker Photography Series - Daniel Picard

Posted by Eric Espig On 16:54

We are pleased to present the first sampling of our Bunker Photography Series of photos. This series features the creative output of local professional photographers who have been invited to the bunker to attempt to visually capture the building, its contents and its atmosphere. Photographers are giving special permission to freely roam the Bunker and to choose how to interpret what they see. The end result of this program will yield the first exhibition and publication of artistic Bunker photography.

Daniel's work extends from Toronto - Ottawa - Montreal. His interest and ability to capture large architectural spaces, such as the Senate of Canada and bulky industrial machinery was welcomed to the Diefenbunker. His photos have given a new life to often photographed areas of the building. His professional work may be seen on his website found here:

Daniel is also an avid Fallout 3 fan and took advantage of the very video game feel of the Bunker: