The Cold war ice hockey team that fought the Soviets for the soul of its nation

I speak with author Ethan Scheiner whose book “Freedom to Win” describes the gripping story of a group of small-town young men who would lead their underdog hockey team from Czechoslovakia against the Soviet Union, the juggernaut in their sport. In 1968 Czechoslovakia is experiencing the Prague Spring, an attempt to moderate and soften communism. However, … Read more

The 10-year-old girl who tried to stop a nuclear War

In November of 1982, at the height of the Cold War, Samantha Smith, a 10-year-old girl from Manchester, Maine, wrote to the Soviet leader Yuri Andropov and asked him if he was going to wage a nuclear war against the U.S. When an unprecedented response from Andropov arrived, and Samantha received an invitation to visit … Read more

How Cold War Britain Prepared for Nuclear War

During the Cold War, the awesome power of nuclear weapons and its deadly fallout meant that every town, village and home in Britain fell under the nuclear shadow, and the threat of annihilation coloured every aspect of ordinary life. Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! I chat with author and … Read more

Beyond the Wall: East Germany, 1949-1990

In 1990, a country disappeared. When the Iron Curtain fell, East Germany simply ceased to be. Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! For over forty years, from the ruin of the Second World War to the cusp of a new millennium, the GDR presented a radically different German identity to … Read more

Discovering your Cold War Czechoslovak Secret Police file

Mark Baker was featured in episode 9 where he told us about working in Czechoslovakia in the 1980s as a journalist for a small publishing company called Business International (BI). He was the company’s Czechoslovakia expert and with his Czech minder Arnold he travelled to Prague and other cities to report on significant economic and political developments. … Read more

The most damaging female spy in US history

  Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! Ana Montes was the most damaging female spy in US history. For nearly 17 years, Montes was one of the government’s top Cuba experts, with easy access to classified documents. By night, she was working for Fidel Castro’s Cuba, listening to coded messages … Read more

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