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

Cold War British Army fighting tactics in West Germany

  Frank Baldwin was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1979 and served for ten years, rising to the rank of Major. The first battlefield study he planned was in 1989 for HQ 4th Armoured Division. Since then, he has been a guide or historian for over 200 realities of war tours, battlefield studies and … Read more

A Cold War childhood in Albania

Lea Ypi grew up in one of the most isolated countries on earth, a place where communist ideals had officially replaced religion. Albania, the last Stalinist outpost in Europe, was almost impossible to visit, almost impossible to leave. It was a place of queuing and scarcity, of political executions and secret police. To Lea, it … Read more

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

The Cold War 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