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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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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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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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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 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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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 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 this comprehensive narrative, Imre recounts his life from his birth in 1936 in Hungary to his emigration to the West after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. He discusses the influence of his family’s Hungarian and German heritage, his father’s work in the oil industry, and the impact of World War II and communist rule on his upbringing. The account…
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Ever wondered why the heads of MI6 are called "M"? Well they aren't. They are called “C”. It all started with Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming, who signed his docs with a green “C.” This guy was a true legend—a retired Navy man who became the spymaster extraordinaire, famous for his love of gadgets and high-speed Rolls-Royce drives. His dramatic life in…
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In this riveting account, Tilo recounts his experiences as an East German soldier during the final months of East Germany. He details the rising political awareness among soldiers, and his fear that his unit will be asked to shoot on demonstrators also provides a personal perspective on the pivotal moments leading up to and following the fall of th…
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This episode is brought to you by the CNN Original Series Secrets & Spies: A Nuclear Game which premieres 2nd June 2024 and is available now on BBC Iplayer). The series tracks the spies operating behind the scenes in the 1980s as the Cold War brings two superpowers to the brink of nuclear war. This razor-sharp series examines the tenuousness of glo…
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The election of Eisenhower as U.S. President in Nov 1952 gave the British a new hope that the country might now support their plans to overthrow the Iranian government. Even before Ike took office, they sent Monty Woodhouse, the former chief of MI6 in Tehran, to Washington to start working with the Dulles brothers, soon to be the guys running the U…
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Luca Trenta is an associate professor at Swansea University and has recently authored The President's Kill List: Assassination and US Foreign Policy Since 1945. We dig in detail into the contents of the book delving into the history of Cold War CIA operations including instances of electoral interference and assassination. Our conversation explores…
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I’m a big fan of the History Daily podcast, where my good friend Lindsay Graham takes you back in time to explore a momentous moment that happened ‘on this day’ in history. Visit Historydaily.com or search History Daily in your podcast app to learn more. As an introduction to History Daily I have selected two Cold War-themed episodes that I know yo…
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In this fascinating interview, Patrick D. Joyce recounts his unique experience growing up as the son of a U.S. diplomat during the Cold War. Living in the diplomatic community of the Soviet Union, Nicaragua, and Cuba, Patrick shares vivid memories of his father's career as a Soviet and linguistic expert, who rose to become Deputy Ambassador at both…
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Mossadegh is more popular than ever. But that isn't going to stop the British from conspiring against him. They decide that next time they try to bring down his government, they will need to find a way to get the mob on their side. Key to their future plans will be General Zahedi and the CIA's Kermit Roosevelt.…
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Warning: This episode does cover the subject of suicide. If you need help please use these links: UK https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/ Rest of the World https://findahelpline.com/i/iasp Tilo shares his raw and powerful testimony of a young man conscripted into the East German military at the height of Cold War tensions. …
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David McKay is a former Cold War special forces officer and author of Bubbleheads, SEALs and Wizards: America's Scottish Bastion in the Cold War. His book highlights the Scottish bases' significant role in supporting the US military over three decades. David brings his expertise into play, examining this intriguing story by reaching out to more tha…
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In July of 1952, eight months after he got back from Washington, and in the middle of fighting Anglo-Iranian in the World Court, Mossadegh paid a visit to the Shah and asked him to relinquish control over the army. The Shah refused. So Mossadegh resigned. The British and the Shah were ecstatic and appointed a new puppet PM who announced a new order…
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Tilo offers an engaging and personal account of growing up in East Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He begins by describing his early childhood in a rundown building in Prenzlauer Berg before moving to a new prefab neighbourhood in Lichtenberg. Tilo’s grandfather on his mother’s side was a pastor in the Lutheran church and second in comma…
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Bill Woodman is a former US Navy nuclear missile submarine commander, who shares his rich experiences from joining the US Naval Academy in 1964 to commanding two SSBN submarines, the USS James Monroe and the USS Alabama during the Cold War. Bill opens up about his initial aspirations, rigorous training at the Naval Academy, and his challenging inte…
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Burt recounts the surreal experience of learning about Fisher's true identity from a newspaper headline, the subsequent FBI interrogations, and the emotional courtroom testimony where he struggled to reconcile his friendship with the stark reality of espionage. Burt's journey leads him to Moscow in a failed attempt to reconnect with Fisher, reveali…
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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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