The Bridge of Spies spy

  On 10 February 1962, Gary Powers, the American pilot whose U2 spy plane was shot down in Soviet airspace, was released on “The Bridge in Spies” in Berlin by his captors in exchange for one Colonel Rudolf Abel, aka Vilyam Fisher – one of the most extraordinary characters in the history of the Cold … Read more

The building of the Berlin Wall

From the moment East Germany was formed in 1949, many of its citizens chose to leave to start a new life in the West. By the mid-1950s, the trickle had turned into a flood as large numbers rejected Walter Ulbricht’s Communist paradise. His ‘Workers’ & Peasants’ State’ could not afford to lose the skills and … Read more

The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis with Sir Max Hastings

The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis is reckoned to be one of the most perilous events in history, when the World  faced a looming nuclear collision between the United States and Soviet Union. During those weeks, the world gazed into the abyss of potential annihilation. Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! … Read more

Flashpoints – Air warfare in the Cold War

  The Cold War years were a period of unprecedented peace in Europe, yet they also saw a number of localised but nonetheless very intense wars throughout the wider world in which airpower played a vital role. I speak with former Cold War Tornado pilot and acclaimed aviation historian Michael Napier who has written Flashpoints: … Read more

My life laid bare through secret police files

  What is it like to be under secret police surveillance? On 10 March 1983, 12 year old Carmen Bugan returned from school to find Romanian secret police in her living room. Her father’s protest against the regime had changed her life for ever. In recent years Carmen gained access to the files of the … Read more

A photojournalist in Cold War Eastern Europe

  During the 1970s and 1980s, Arthur Grace travelled extensively behind the Iron Curtain, working primarily for news magazines. One of only a small corps of Western photographers with ongoing access, he was able to delve into the most ordinary corners of people’s daily lives, while also covering significant events. His remarkable book Communism(s) A … Read more

Betrayed by comrades

Liz Kohn has been researching Alice Glasnerová, who was imprisoned as part of the early Cold War Czechoslovak show trials known as the Slánský trials. These were among the most notorious show trials of the 20th century, with the prosecution and sentencing to death of Rudolf Slánský, general secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist party, and … Read more