Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev – aspiring actor and poetry fan

Now, what do you think of when you hear the name Leonid Brezhnev who ruled the Soviet Union for 18 years from the 1960s to the 1980s? An old guy waving weakly from the Lenin mausoleum? Well, think again! We speak with Susanne Schattenberg, the author of a new biography that systematically dismantles the stereotypical … Read more

Handshake in the heavens – the Apollo-Soyuz mission

On 17 July 1975 the first manned international space mission, carried out jointly by the United States and the Soviet Union. Millions of people around the world watched on television as a United States Apollo module docked with a Soviet Union Soyuz capsule. The project, and its memorable handshake in the heavens, was a symbol … Read more

British Army “stay behinds” the Special OP Troop

    I speak with Colin Ferguson a veteran from the British Army‘s covert  Special Observation Post Troop which was founded in 1982. The “stay behind” Special OP Troop consisted of selected soldiers in 6 man patrols whose task was to dig in large underground hides known as “mexe” shelters along the inner German border. … Read more

Berlin: Capital of Spies

For almost half a century, the hottest front in the Cold War was right across Berlin. From summer 1945 until 1990, spying was part of everyday life in both East and West Berlin. I speak with historian Bernd von Kostka of the Allied Museum in Berlin-Dahlem who has co-authored with Sven Felix Kellerhoff the book Capital … Read more

Emanuela – a Cold War Romanian Childhood

    Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google Podcasts   Emanuela Grama was born in the mid-1970s’ in a small provincial town in Eastern Romania. She proved us with a great insight into life in the Romanian provinces during the 1980s.  Emanuela lived in a small two-bedroom flat and tells of her parents … Read more

The Gouzenko Affair – the start of the Cold War

Igor Gouzenko exposed Soviet intelligence’s efforts to steal nuclear secrets as well as the technique of planting sleeper agents. The “Gouzenko Affair” is often credited as a triggering event of the Cold War,  with historian Jack Granatstein stating it was “the beginning of the Cold War for public opinion” and journalist Robert Fulford writing he … Read more

The forgotten cosmonaut

This week it’s the 60th anniversary of the flight of Gherman Titov on Vostok 2. The forgotten 2nd cosmonaut overshadowed by the exploits of his friend Yuri Gagarin. Titov’s 25.3 hours and 17 orbits flight was much more ambitious than Gagarin’s and more dangerous. It was also a very political flight, intending to distract the … Read more

A Czechoslovak family’s escape to Austria

We continue Drea Hahn’s story with her family’s escape to Austria and the realities of being a refugee. In 1986, under the pretext of a “ski trip” to Yugoslavia Drea’s family escaped to Austria. We hear about the sadness of being unable to tell anyone they were leaving and how her relatives were summoned to … Read more

Ethel Rosenberg

  Ethel Rosenberg is a controversial figure with polarising views varying from an innocent mother caught up in Cold War hysteria to a willing and ruthless accomplice to her husband’s Cold War espionage betraying secrets to the Soviets. Anne Sebba’s new book “Ethel Rosenberg – A Cold War tragedy” (“An American tragedy” in the US) … Read more