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Sue Boyd has been the head of Australian diplomatic missions in Fiji, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Bangladesh. She also had postings at the United Nations in New York and in the former East Germany. Sue was posted to East Germany in 1976 and tells of her work, friendships, and life as a single woman in the diplomatic community of 1970s East Berlin. She r…
 
Today we speak with Ian Ballantyne, the author of “Hunter Killers”, also known as “Undersea Warriors” in the United States. Hunter Killers’ tells the incredible, true inside story of the Royal Navy’s Cold War beneath the waves. Buy the book and support the podcast here https://amzn.to/3jalire We talk about the forgotten role Royal Navy submarines p…
 
Today we speak with Richard Crowder, the author of “Détente – the chance to end the Cold War”. Help support the podcast buy the book here UK listeners https://amzn.to/34yNeB2 US listeners https://amzn.to/3kHU3pO Between 1968 and 1975, there was a subtle thawing of relations between East and West, for which Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev coined the n…
 
Guy Burgess was the most important, complex, and fascinating of The Cambridge Spies, brilliant young men recruited in the 1930s to betray their country to the Soviet Union. An engaging and charming companion to many, an unappealing, utterly ruthless manipulator to others, Burgess rose through academia, the BBC, the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6, gain…
 
At 2 a.m. on 10 March 1983, 12 year old Carmen Bugan was home alone after her father had left for Bucharest. That afternoon, Carmen returned from school to find secret police in her living room. Her father’s protest against the regime had changed her life for ever. This is her story. This is one of the most powerful stories I have recorded so far. …
 
In this second episode with Don Snedeker we talk to him about his time after his tour of Vietnam when he served in West Germany. From 1974 to 1986 Don served in a number of roles but most noticeably he was assigned to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fulda, one of the locations where it was assumed that Warsaw Pact units would attack through. H…
 
Today we’re speaking with Barry Mullen who was a Navigator on the legendary Royal Air Force bomber, the Vulcan. Barry served during the 1970s and candidly shares his experiences. He tells us about his time at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus during the Turkish invasion as well as detail of his mission scenarios, both conventional and nuclear, escape and evas…
 
In this bonus episode, we talk again with Paul Grant, author of "Coercion" the fourth book about the Schultz family who live in Berlin. His books are set at the end of the Second World War and the start of the Cold War. Coercion is set in 1962 against the backdrop of the Berlin Wall while it is still barbed wire and a fragile wall. Escape attempts …
 
This is the first of two episodes we have following Don Snedeker’s experiences through the Cold War. In this episode, we hear about his time in Vietnam and the book he has written entitled "The Blackhorse in Vietnam: The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam and Cambodia, 1966–1972”. Don was born in Brooklyn New York but followed his Father’s po…
 
Today’s episode is brought to you by Osprey publishing and we’re speaking with Michael Napier, the author of “In Cold War Skies – NATO and Soviet airpower 1949-89”. Michael also flew the Tornado during the Cold War and served during the 1980s at 14 Sqn and 31 Sqn at RAF Brüggen in West Germany where he talks about nuclear QRA, low-level training in…
 
This is part 2 of our chat with Jack Barsky who spent ten years as an undercover KGB agent in the United States. He is the longest surviving known member of the KGB illegals programme that operated during the Cold War. In this episode we talk about his first days in the US, his mission and how he managed build his cover enabling him to live and wor…
 
If you’ve seen the TV drama series, “The Americans” you’ll be fascinated by this episode. Albrecht Dittrich was an East German graduate student and a true believer in the Communist cause when he was recruited by the KGB in 1970. He spent ten years as an undercover KGB agent in the United States. He is the longest surviving known member of the KGB i…
 
This is the 2nd episode with Trevor Barnes, the author of “Dead Doubles, a new book on the Portland Spy Ring, one of the most infamous espionage cases of the Cold War. The story continues with the dramatic arrest of three of the KGB spies outside the Old Vic theatre in London and the discovery of the amazing espionage career of the Krogers, the inn…
 
In this episode we talk with Trevor Barnes, the author of “Dead Doubles, a new book on the Portland Spy Ring, one of the most infamous espionage cases of the Cold War. In 1960 it was discovered that crucial secrets from the world-leading submarine research base at Portland in Dorset were being stolen by a British man and his mistress. The couple we…
 
This is the 2nd part of our conversation with Major General Sir Robert Corbett, KCVO, CB who was the last Commandant of the British Sector in Berlin. We join as I ask what were the British Army’s plans in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion of West Berlin. We also talk about the momentous night of 9th November 1989 and a fascinating tale of a situa…
 
Major General Sir Robert Corbett, KCVO, CB was the last Commandant of the British Sector in Berlin. We start his story with the description of his first experience of Berlin as a young Army officer commanding a military train across East Germany into West Berlin just weeks after the Berlin Wall had been built. We also talk about his subsequent Army…
 
Born in Communist Czechoslovakia, Eva Caletkova has written an honest and unflinching account of her childhood in Bratislava. Eva’s parents were Catholics, and the communist regime began to persecute the Catholic Church right from the start in 1948. They had to hide their faith from anyone outside of their home. Eva provides us with an insightful a…
 
Werner Stiller’s spectacular defection to the West in 1979 inflicted one of the Cold War’s most serious blows to the Stasi. At the time he was working as a case officer for the Main Directorate for Reconnaissance, the Stasi’s foreign intelligence division, where he was in charge of scientific espionage in the West. We speak with Stiller’s son Andy,…
 
Tim Phillips travelled the route of the former Iron Curtain from deep inside the arctic circle to the meeting point in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey. On his journey, he explored both the surviving traces of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall. The people he meets bear vivid witness to a time of change. There are some who now look on the Cold War …
 
Vashi Nedomanský is the son of Czechoslovak former legendary ice hockey forward Václav Nedomanský aka “Big Ned” who is best known as the first ice hockey player to defect to North America to play. We hear a dramatic true story that combines sports, politics, espionage, corruption, and life-changing events that played out on a global stage. Among th…
 
Robert Perschmann describes himself as an anti-Cold War activist. His political views started to form while serving in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War period where he saw first hand the toll on the US military and the racism prevalent in the American South. An interview with a Soviet journalist which was broadcast on PBS radio (the US equiv…
 
Susan Morrison is Professor of English at Texas State University. In the late 1980’s she taught in Rostock in the former GDR and then lived in West Berlin but frequently crossed back into the East to teach and meet friends. In this episode we talk to her about her experiences and her impression of the two Germanys in 1989. During her time in Rostoc…
 
Hans de Vreij is a Dutch journalist who has worked in Berlin , Brussels, Geneva and Prague. Whilst working at the United Nations in Geneva Hans was the subject of attempted recruitment by the KGB to develop an ‘agent of influence’ to disseminate Soviet points of view. In addition, they analysed the ‘targeted journalist’ in terms of possible blackma…
 
How can we go beyond the films, books, and photos to learn more about the Cold War? Films are certainly evocative and certainly inform but how can we go beyond that and immerse ourselves to see what it felt like to be there. The two technologies of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality may allow us to do this. Robin Hardenberg is a Berlin-based fil…
 
Bill was a US Army Intelligence Analyst. In 1986 he was assigned to Order of Battle Branch, Soviet Section where for three years he studied the Warsaw Pact armies working closely with the US Military Liaison Mission (USMLM) in Berlin which led to a transfer there in November 1989 Stationed in Potsdam he became an Order of Battle Analyst and partici…
 
We talk again to Mark Brayne who worked as a Reuters & BBC journalist during the Cold War. This time we are in Romania in December 1989 where riots, street violence and murder in several cities over the course of roughly a week led the Romanian leader Nicolae Ceaușescu to flee the capital city on 22 December with his wife. We hear the challenges of…
 
We talk to Mark Brayne again in a wide ranging chat about his career as a Reuters & BBC journalist including details of his Stasi file, his time in the Soviet Union, Hungary & Poland as well as the perils of editing analogue tape in a non-digital age. Among his interviewees we talk about the Dalai Lama, Lech Walesa as well the ordinary people of th…
 
In Britain and the Bomb Bill Nuttall considers Britain's national journey from Empire to Europe and the transition of British nuclear weapons from the Royal Air Force to the Royal Navy. If you are enjoying the podcast please leave a written reviews in Apple podcasts or share us on social media. By telling your friends you can really help the podcas…
 
Mark Brayne studied in Moscow 71-72, travelling the country with fellow UK students and spending silly amounts of time in the bathhouses with salted fish and very poor quality beer. He returned in 1974-75 as Reuters trainee journalist where he became very close to Andrei Sakharov, the father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb and Soviet-era dissident. Eas…
 
Scott was a Pershing 2 nuclear missile Fire Control Officer which meant he was responsible for the launch of the missile. Aged 23 he was made platoon commander and responsible for 3 of these deadly weapons. The Pershing II was a mobile, intermediate-range ballistic missile deployed by the U.S. Army at American bases in West Germany beginning in 198…
 
Michael Paterson first visited East Germany just after the fall of the Berlin Wall and provides a vivid account of its subsequent decline and fall during the move to reunification with West Germany. Michael is a military historian, author, researcher and illustrator. He began his career with the military magazine 'Battlefields Review' as a writer a…
 
James Stejskal served for 23 years with US Special Forces, including two tours in Berlin. Special Forces Berlin was a small detachment of 100 highly trained soldiers who, should hostilities break out, were to wreak havoc behind Warsaw Pact lines. The US government only acknowledged its existence in 2014 and John has written an incredible story of h…
 
Alan Baker worked and studied in the GDR and the USSR from the 1970s through to the end of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the Russian Federation as we know it today. In Moscow, Alan had the opportunity to live and study in the well-known Moscow State University as well as the opportunity to attend the 54th anniversary of the Russian Revoluti…
 
Richard Hornik was the Warsaw Bureau Chief for Time Magazine from 1981-1983. He carried out numerous interviews with Solidarity Free Trade Union leader Lech Wałęsa including his last interview before martial law was declared in December 1981. He shares the stories of 1980s Poland as well as the interviews he carried out with the Solidarity leadersh…
 
The Cold War got colder in the early 1980s and the relationship between the two military superpowers, the USA and the Soviet Union, each of whom had the capacity to annihilate the other, was tense. By the end of the decade, East-West relations had been utterly transformed, with most of the dividing lines -including the division of Europe- removed. …
 
Lieutenant Commander Jørgen Brandsborg joined the Danish Navy in the 1980s. He met the Soviets up close and personal while serving in the North Atlantic where the Danish Navy acted as a coast guard when on patrol around the Faroe Islands, which meant boarding Soviet vessels for inspection. He also tells of Danish Navy training, Denmark’s position w…
 
In early 1989 attention being paid to Albania in England by the English media because the England football team had recently travelled to Tirana for a World Cup qualifying game. Looking for somewhere unusual to holiday Mike Innes went on 10 day tour to Albania. Arriving by air he travelled by coach, staying in the hotels which catered to foreigners…
 
Anthony enlisted in the British Army in 1987 and after 9 months he was posted to West Berlin. He tells the story of life as a Private in Berlin from the drinking (and the fighting) to the urban warfare training in Ruhleben & Dough Boy City. We also hear of the reality of knowing that should the Cold War have turned hot his life expectancy would hav…
 
Charlie Flowers was 18 in 1988. He travelled by train across a divided Eastern Europe that was starting to show signs of the changes that manifested themselves in 1989. He shares stories of the interesting encounters he had along the way. Now I’d like to thank some of our recent 5 star reviewers in Apple podcasts. Qwertykevboy, Fizzlepop202, simmov…
 
For almost five decades, the United Kingdom made plans for a nuclear attack that never came. To help their citizens, civil servants and armed forces prepared those in power a variety of booklets, posters, and how-to guides. Taras Young is a researcher & writer who has produced a book Nuclear War in the UK detailing much of this Cold War ephemera su…
 
Harry served as a soldier in the Intelligence Corps in Germany in the 1960s and 1970s. His role was that of an Intelligence and Security Operator, focused on the identification of foreign and other malign activities which might undermine the effectiveness of the UK's military presence in the country. Accordingly, he had the experience of a range of…
 
Today is a short bonus episode I recorded at the weekend while at a film showing of Dr Strangelove in a former UK Regional Seat of Government Bunker in Cheshire... The Hack Green Bunker is my local Cold War museum and a kind financial supporter of the podcast too so if you are ever in the Cheshire area of the UK I highly recommend a visit. If you a…
 
When the Berlin Wall came down, the files of the East German secret police, the much-dreaded Stasi, were opened and read. And among the shocking stories revealed was that of the Stasi's infiltration of the Church. The Lutheran Church was the only semi-free space in East Germany, where those who rebelled against the regime could find a way of living…
 
Our guest today is Marc Voss the Founder and Executive Director of The Regimes Museum which is the culmination of an effort to collect, preserve, and archive material and artifacts from some of the most notorious regimes of the 20th century. It is both a museum and an educational institution that offers resources to scholars and students while appl…
 
Regional seats of government or RSGs were a UK solution to disperse the machinery of government into the provinces, where there would be a greater chance of survival after a nuclear attack. Today we speak to Andrew who was assigned a role in an RSG and details his experiences on a week long training course at the Civil Defence college at Easingwold…
 
What was it like to be the first western pilot to fly the most advanced Soviet fighter aircraft? At the 1989 Abbotsford Air Show, during the dying days of the Cold War, Canadian CF-18 pilot Major Bob Wade became the first Western pilot to fly a Soviet MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter aircraft. This episode tells you how he did it. Now I’m sure you are enjoyi…
 
What are your dreams at 18 and what happens in the next 20 years? Children of the Silent Revolution is a documentary film following a tight-knit group of classmates from Bulgaria who reveal their stories over a period of 20 years, spanning the transition from communism to democracy in their country. It’s a powerful memoir and love letter to the fil…
 
Steve Vogel is a veteran journalist who reported for the Washington Post for more than two decades. He is also the author of Betrayal in Berlin a new book that tells the story of one of the West’s greatest espionage operations of the Cold War. Now I’m sure you are enjoying your weekly dose of Cold War history, and you’d like to continue to do so. S…
 
John Tarver was born into a middle-class family. He joined the British Communist Party on his 18th birthday in 1948 because he felt the Soviet Union had made the most effective resistance to fascism. He worked as a party activist in Britain and made several trips to the GDR where he would get a job at Potsdam as head of the final year of studies in…
 
Jay Lieberman talks about his early childhood memories of the Cold War as well as his long career in the US Navy. He tells a fascinating story of how he obtained high security clearance in the US Navy and served at a number of classified command facilities including the 2nd Pentagon and the Fleet Ocean Surveillance Information Facility, at Rota, Sp…
 
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