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Award-winning real stories of the Cold War told by those who were there. Every week we interview an eyewitness of the Cold War. Across soldiers, spies, civilians, and others, we aim to cover the whole range of Cold War experiences. Hosts Ian Sanders, James Chilcott, and Peter Ryan bring your ears into the heart of the Cold War. Reading a history book is one thing, but hearing a human voice, with every breath, hesitation and intonation brings a whole new dimension to understanding what it was ...
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November 9, 2019, is the 30th anniversary of the day the Berlin Wall came crashing down, freeing East Germany from communism, and marking the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. But when did the Cold War start? Why does it matter 30 years later? Find out in this ten-part series, transport back in time, feel what it was like to live through the end of the Cold War, and understand why that struggle was a battle for civilization itself. Bill Whittle narrates this compelling series about t ...
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During the cold war, many events took place that made the war based arounf secrecy. They were being secretive either because they wanted to keep their people safe or they didn't want anyone to know about the fail of their projects. Cover art photo provided by David Sinclair on Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/@ayosake
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Coming in from the Cold explores forgotten—or never-remembered—national security policy initiatives, incidents and events during the Cold War. In each episode Cold War Historian Bill Rosenau, sits down with experts on a wide range of topics to discuss these events and how they are relevant to today’s challenges. The views expressed here are those of the commentators and do not necessarily reflect the views of CNA or any of its sponsors.
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“The Secret Struggle for Cold War Dominance” podcast takes listeners on a tour of the Cold War’s most secretive battlefields. It details the various ways spies, intelligence agencies, military and security services on both sides of the Iron Curtain “played” the Cold War and it finds that the conflict was very much a global and, at times, a very “hot” Cold War. This award-winning podcast takes recently declassified documents and reveals that not every alliance was sacred, that military assist ...
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The History of the Cold War Podcast

The History of the Cold War Podcast

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The History of the Cold War Podcast will cover the Cold War from the period of roughly 1945 to 1991 and the fall of the Soviet Union in monthly installments on the first. This Podcast will examine the Cold War from a number of different perspectives including political, diplomatic, cultural, ideological etc. This series is intended to be a grand narrative of the conflict exploring it from its early origins to its final moments and its effects on the world today. Please join us on this incred ...
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The New Cold War podcast by Edward Lucas gives authoritative and up-to-date commentary and perspective on the European security crisis, and its implications for the United States. Formerly a senior editor at The Economist, the world’s foremost newsweekly, Lucas is now a senior vice-president at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). He writes a weekly column in the London Times. Lucas has been writing and broadcasting about the region for the BBC, NPR and other outlets since the mid ...
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In a riveting episode that peels back the layers of Cold War espionage, we sit down with Burt, an artist who unwittingly befriended a man better known as Colonel Abel, the infamous Bridge of Spies Spy who was exchanged for shot down US U2 pilot Gary Powers. Burt knew Abel as Emil Goldfuss but his real name was Willie Fisher from Newcastle Upon Tyne…
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Valeriy was a Soviet Navy diver sapper and was born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine. I have used a human translator for this episode so the main voice you will hear is my translator Galina Ryabova who was kindly funded by one of my financial supporters Valeriy opens up about his childhood, the impact of the Great Patriotic War on his family, and his mo…
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In October 1951, Mossadegh flew to New York to address the United Nations and then to Washington to meet with Truman. It was the first time the UN was used by a poor, post-colonial country to voice their grievances against Western aggression. He was going toe-to-tow with Britain’s great white hope, Sir Gladwyn Jebb.…
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Sirka offers a comprehensive exploration of life in East Germany, detailing the experiences of growing up in Neubrandenburg, the influence of the East German state and the Stasi, and the societal impacts of Mikhail Gorbachev's policies leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. She also talks of her intensive gymnastics training and being given pil…
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In actual fact, it wasn’t the CIA that came up with the template for using covert action to destabilise and overthrow a country’s government - it was a fascist British Foreign Secretary and the British academics he hired to bring down Mossadegh. The CIA just took that model and employed it - first in Iran, and then over and over and over again.…
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The Soviet-Afghan War lasted ten years between 1979-1989 and led to the deaths of between 500k and 2m Afghan civilians. I speak with Nick Geering a Russian history and language teacher. From his memories of the haunting sight of uniformed amputees in St Petersburg to the complex origins of the conflict, we explore the intricacies of a war that was …
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Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War, is a nine-part documentary series from director Brian Knappenberger, that provides a comprehensive appraisal of the events that led to the Cold War and traces the conflict around the world and through the decades. While the Cold War ended in 1991, even a casual appraisal of current headlines reveals that re…
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Alex Grant’s new book Sex, Spies and Scandal The John Vassall Affair has everything: a honey trap, industrial-scale espionage, journalists jailed for not revealing their sources and the first modern tabloid witch-hunt, which resulted in a ministerial resignation and almost brought down Harold Macmillan’s government. With access to newly released MI…
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V-Bombers: Britain's Nuclear Frontline in the Cold War is a new book by Dr Tony Redding that takes a deep dive into Britain's V-bomber force's operational nuclear war role. Tony reveals the intense preparations and the stark realities faced by the aircrews, who lived in a perpetual state of wartime readiness despite being in a country at peace. The…
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Timo takes us on a journey through the tumultuous events of the 1991 Soviet coup attempt, as experienced from the streets of the Baltic States. As the coup unfolds, Timo finds himself in Lithuania, planning to covertly visit the closed city of Kaliningrad. He shares the tension sharing a dining table with a Soviet officer, unknowingly on the eve of…
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Timo takes us to the remote Finnish border town of Kuusamo. He paints a vivid picture of a childhood overshadowed by his grandparent’s memories of their home lost during World War II and their proximity to the Soviet Union. As a child, he was fascinated by the invisible line that marked the end of the world— the heavily guarded border with the USSR…
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Leigh joined the RAAF in 1978 to train as a pilot but was scrubbed after a few months and transitioned to training as an Air Electronics Officer (AEO) at the RAAF School of Air Navigation. He flew on the P-3C Orion and was employed in operations across the Indo-Pacific region on maritime patrol surveillance operations in the region - which included…
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On September 2, 1945 Ho Chi Minh delivered a speech in Hanoi announcing Vietnam’s independence from Japan and France. Tonight we’re going to read the speech and add a little context in order to hear it from the “other side”. Ho Chi Minh was one of America’s communist boogeymen, after all. I believe hearing all sides, even ones you don’t like, are i…
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In this deeply personal episode, our guest, Norbert, vividly recounts his traumatic childhood journey from Cold War Poland to the United States. With vivid recollections, he describes the struggles of his parents amid food shortages and the poignant decision of the family to leave everything behind for an uncertain future in the United States. We a…
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Dan served in the War Plans office of the US Army VII Corps working on counterattack plans and reorganization of the US Army’s General Defence Plan. He describes the debriefing of a Polish Special Forces operator who had defected to the West and who revealed surprising knowledge of US plans and order of battle. Dan also details his experiences on t…
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In August 1989, a group of Hungarian activists did the unthinkable: they entered the forbidden militarised zone of the Iron Curtain - and held a picnic. Word had spread of what was going to happen. On wisps of rumour, thousands of East German 'holiday-makers' had made their way to the border between Hungary and Austria, awaiting an opportunity, fea…
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Dan served as a lieutenant and captain in a US Army air defence artillery battalion in West Germany from 1980 until 1985. He describes details of Soviet overflights deep into West Germany and we discuss how the Warsaw Pact attempted to track their units. Now who knew that the US Army experimented with geese for perimeter security?! Dan reveals deta…
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Mossadegh started to take over the AIOC offices and appointed a French-educated engineer as the managing director of the new National Iranian Oil Company. The AOIC refused to allow Iran to transport their oil in British tankers. It turns into an epic showdown. The British started planning to have Mossadegh removed from power. Meanwhile the United S…
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The Jodrell Bank observatory in Cheshire in the UK played a significant secret role during the Cold War. It was established in 1945 by Bernard Lovell, a radio astronomer at the university, to investigate cosmic rays after his work on radar in the Second World War. We hear some intriguing details of the site’s Cold War roles including being Britain’…
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In the middle of the 20th century, Iranians really liked Americans, mostly due to the fact that their experiences with them (up until that time) had been mostly positive, unlike the British and the Russians. And the Americans were, in 1951, still trying to convince the British to play fair with the Iranians. If only that attitude has lasted.…
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In the mid-1980s Dag was a T72 tank commander in the NVA, the East German Army and is now a volunteer at the Tank Museum at Bovington in the UK. He describes his initial tank commander training, the battle readiness of the NVA, and the challenges of a conscript army as well as a startling revelation about a significant change in doctrine in 1987. W…
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Kate is sent to Moscow in 1985 to write articles for The Morning Star, a left-wing British daily newspaper founded in 1930 as the Daily Worker by the Communist Party of Great Britain. She lives in a block of flats alongside Soviet citizens and enrols her 3 children in Soviet schools. Three weeks after Kate arrives Mikhail Gorbachev comes to power a…
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Tim participates in Kangaroo 89, a huge military exercise with the entire Australian Army using an area the size of Western Europe and we hear about the Australian equivalent of Wolfgang the Bratty Man who used to turn up on British exercises in Germany. Tim was also part of an exchange program with the British Army and he describes his experiences…
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Since 1985, Ana Montes has been an asset of the Cuban intelligence service. In that time, she’s risen through the ranks to become one of the Pentagon’s most respected voices on Cuban affairs with easy access to classified documents. Peter Lapp reveals Montez's tradecraft and how the FBI found the proverbial "needle in a haystack". To learn more abo…
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After the assassination of Razmara, Mossadegh’s oil committee voted unanimously to nationalise the AIOC. Iran went crazy for Mossadegh. It was Mossa-Mania. The British were furious and tried to appoint a new Prime Minister, the latest in the line of “guys they were sure could get the job done”. It backfired. Massively.…
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In 1966 most of Bridget’s friends, in their early twenties, were settling down with jobs and/or husbands… She, on the other hand, set off alone to travel across Poland relying on the kindness of strangers. Fascinated by what she experienced she continued to wander the highways and byways of, Hungary Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia …
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Many of Tim’s family had served in WW1 and WW2 and from a young age, he was determined to follow their path. Overcoming huge competition for places he became a driver of the Leopard AS1 MBT at 1st Armoured Regiment of the Australian Army. Australia is largely ignored in most Cold War histories, however, we hear how the Australian Army prepared to f…
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In 1949 the Iranian Majlis put forward a bill to revoke the British oil concession. This, combined with worker riots in Abadan, prompted the British to take action. Meanwhile, Mossadegh forms a new political party, The National Front, and General Ali Razmara, who had been one of General Schwarzkopf's most trusted officers, is made PM at the “sugges…
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When Reza makes himself Shah, Mossadegh is livid. He refuses to agree to it. Then he turns down multiple senior positions in the Shah's cabinet. He ends up retiring from public life at age 45, gets imprisoned, and tries to commit suicide. He returns when the Shah is forced to abdicate, but an attempted assassination on the new Shah makes the politi…
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Jack Wesolek was born in East Germany in 1966. His grandfather was a member of the Red Orchestra, a Communist Anti-Nazi resistance organisation in Germany during World War 2. He later became Chief of the Signals Service of the Volksmarine, the East German Navy. In the 1980s an East German Army signals regiment was named after him. Jack’s father was…
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On 23rd Nov 1963 at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea a detachment of US Air Force B-57 Canberra bombers were parked on an alert pad each with a live nuclear weapon in their bomb bay and ready to fly at a moment’s notice. At 0400 klaxon horns aroused the crews from their slumber and they rushed to their waiting aircraft, for what they likely thought was…
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Kevin was born in Wigan in North West England and joined the RAF as an apprentice in 1956 with only 3 O Levels. He came top of his course but was posted into supplies at RAF St Mawgan. However, he quickly became in charge of their clothing stores and via a fortuitous route became a trainee pilot. By May 1963 he joined the RAF V Force as a Vulcan pi…
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Andrew McNeile decided to travel through Eastern Europe in a yellow MG Midget Sports car, a ​car ​that's ​going ​to ​stand ​out ​no ​matter ​where you are! He recalls his adventures travelling through East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Yugoslavia He talks about the warmth and friendliness of people, challenges with petrol …
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This week is the 40th anniversary of the Able Archer NATO Exercise where it is reckoned that the Soviet Union and NATO almost started a nuclear war. 1990 an investigation by the US President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, culminating in its highly secret report “The Soviet ‘War Scare’” The detailed PFIAB report concluded that the U.S. “may …
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Denmark joined NATO as a founding member in 1949. However, it originally laid down limitations to NATO membership, effectively excluding the country from full military integration. The conditions were threefold: no non-Danish bases, no nuclear warheads, and no Allied military activity on Danish territory. Bo Hermansen served in a conscript reconnai…
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On 29 August 1949 at 7:00 a.m. the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb. The test stunned the Western powers. American intelligence had estimated that the Soviets would not produce an atomic weapon until 1953, while the British did not expect it until 1954. The speed at which the Soviet Union developed their bomb was due a network of spies f…
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Mossadegh had two non-negotiables that drove his political game. First, he was a die-hard believer in the rule of law, which put him on a collision course with autocrats like Reza Shah. Second, he was all about Iranian self-rule, making him Public Enemy No. 1 for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. He wasn't just against them; he was their kryptonite.…
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This is the second part of my chat with Thomas who worked in a secret East German radio monitoring base. He describes how a BRIXMIS or another Allied Military Liason Mission vehicle had once got into the base and what the East German Army was told about MLM capabilities. When the officers aren’t around he and his comrades listen to Western radio an…
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Dive into the turbulent history of oil in Iran, where George Reynolds, a self-taught geologist funded by Aussie entrepreneur William Knox D’Arcy, battled smallpox, bandits, and desert heat to uncover the largest oil field ever found. Reynolds' discovery catapulted Iran into the global energy arena, but not without exploitation and strife. D'Arcy an…
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Born in 1968 in East Germany Thomas had a "normal socialist" but happy childhood in a small town near Dresden. His family was viewed as exotic at that time as his mother had Hungarian citizenship which allowed her to travel to West Berlin. He was conscripted into the East German Army and signed up for 3 years as an Unteroffizier (NCO) instead of on…
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Mark joined the US Army on January 6th, 1981, and went to Ft Knox KY for Basic and Armor training. He graduated in April 1981 and was selected as Instructor Tank commander and trained the next cycle of recruits till August 1981. Mark was posted to West Germany in September 1981 and was assigned to 1st 37th Armor 1st Armored Div based in Katterbach.…
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Tim served in the USAF and the NSA from 1975 to 1988 during some of the most tense periods of the Cold War. This included stints at the US Air Force Electronic Warfare Center at Kelly AFB, Texas, and RAF Chicksands, in the UK working on SIGINT collection of USSR/Warsaw Pact/Other targets. He also served as part of the Cryptologic Support Group, Str…
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Aged 16 Chris joined the British Army apprentice school in Arborfield, at Princess Marina College. He was trained as a vehicle mechanic in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers otherwise known as REME. We talk about life expectancy in war scenarios, experiences with crash-out exercises, and life as a British soldier in West Germany Chris also s…
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