Cold War, Warm Hearts – Hitchhiking behind the 1960s Iron Curtain

  In 1966 most of Bridget’s friends, in their early twenties, were settling down with jobs and/or husbands… Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! She, on the other hand, set off alone to travel across Poland relying on the kindness of strangers.  Fascinated by what she experienced she continued to … Read more

Jack’s dramatic Cold War escape across the fortified Inner German border

Jack Wesolek was born in East Germany in 1966. His grandfather was a member of the Red Orchestra, a Communist Anti-Nazi resistance organisation in Germany during World War 2. Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! He later became Chief of the Signals Service of the Volksmarine, the East German Navy. … Read more

Gunfire in the Woods: A foiled escape and imprisonment in East Germany

This is part two of Henrik’s story. You can hear the first part in episode 307. It’s the late 1980s and Henrik and his friends plan to escape from East Germany via Czechoslovakia. Henrik provides a very vivid account of their discovery by Czechoslovak border guards in a forest near the Austrian border. He … Read more

Cold War Polish childhood near Wroclaw

Tom lived in the town of Jawor in western Poland in an area that had been part of Germany until the end of World War 2. He describes how his grandmother settled in this area and the strangeness of taking over formerly German houses and apartments. Tom’s grandfather on his mother’s side was a Communist … Read more

Growing up in the East Germany’s Valley of the Clueless

Henrik was born in the late 1960’s near Dresden in East Germany. The area was sarcastically known as the Tal der Ahnungslosen  or Valley of the Clueless, as the area generally was not able to receive TV  from West Germany from the mid-to-late 1950s. He describes his childhood growing up in a Uranium mining area. … Read more

Dickey Chapelle – trailblazing female Cold War journalist

  Now have you ever heard of Dickey Chapelle? No, I hadn’t either, but I’m delighted to bring you the unknown story of this trailblazing female war correspondent. Dickey’s career started in World War 2 where she reported from some of the Pacific wars’ toughest battlefields of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During the Cold War, … Read more

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

The last voice you’d hear in a nuclear war

The BBC Wartime Broadcasting Service (WTBS) is a  little-known piece of Cold War history that would have been for many the last human voice they heard after a nuclear attack on the UK. Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! Iain started work for the BBC in 1988 and due to … Read more

Volker – The Berlin Wall Escape Helper

  It’s 1966 in Berlin and the city has now been divided for 5 years by an almost impenetrable wall erected by the communist German Democratic Republic. West German student Volker Heinz joins a group looking for ways to help would-be fugitives escape from East to West. Their search ends at Checkpoint Charlie, the most … Read more