The Cold War Atomic Spies


On 29 August 1949 at 7:00 a.m. the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb.

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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 from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada who gave the Soviet Union the necessary information to develop an atomic bomb

They were motivated by a range of factors. Some, such as ideology or a belief in communism, were committed to advancing the interests of the Soviet Union. Others were motivated by financial gain, while some may have been coerced or blackmailed into spying.

I speak with author Andrew Long who has written “Secrets of the Cold War – espionage and intelligence operations from both sides of the Iron Curtain” which covers this story and many others.

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Other episodes mentioned in this podcast.

Interview with a KGB agent trained by two of the Atomic Spies

The Portland Spies

Ottawa Soviet defector Igor Gouzenko

Ethen Rosenberg

Guy Burgess & The Cambridge 5

Kim Philby’s granddaughter recollections

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