27 – Flying the SR-71 Spy Plane

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Welcome to Episode 27 of Cold war conversations.

Today we are talking about the SR71 Blackbird spy plane of which only 32 were ever made.

The great defensive ability of the plane was its high speed and altitude. Standard evasive action was just to accelerate, which made it almost invulnerable to the attack technologies of the time. The top speed of the plane was mach 3.3 (2,200 miles/hour that’s 36 miles/minute).

Thanks to all those who are supporting the podcast with monthly pledges and donation. It is much appreciated and will allow us to expand our scope. If you would like to support the podcast further and get access to some exclusive extras click here.

Back to todays episode…our guest knows a bit about the SR71…

Buz Carpenter accrued 777 hours flying SR-71 planes. He flew Blackbirds as an aircraft commander and later as an instructor pilot, with over 60 operational missions. He also flew in the C-141, RF-4C, and T-38 planes, flying 150 combat hours in Vietnam. He worked in the Pentagon and served as Wing commander at Ramstein Air Base in German during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

He retired as a Colonel after serving as the 2nd Air Force Vice Commander, responsible for all the USAF Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance flying assets. He is currently a docent for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, Udvar Hazy Center.

We welcome Buz Carpenter to Cold War Conversations.

Books

Sr-71 Blackbird: Stories, Tales and Legends

The Complete Book of the SR-71 Blackbird/The Illustrated Profile of Every Aircraft, Crew, and Breakthrough of the World’s Fastest Stealth Jet

Video

Tour of the SR71 with Buz Carpenter

More from Col Buz Carpenter and the SR-71 Blackbird

Best Documentary 2016 First Stealth Blackbird SR 71 | History Documentary HD 1080p

Support the Podcast and get access to exclusive extra content 

Available on our Patreon page here

23- Gary Powers & the 1960 U2 Incident

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Gary PowersWelcome to episode 23 of Cold War Conversations.

Today’s episode is the first in a new partnership we have formed with the Cold War Museum.

We speak with Gary Powers Junior. His father piloted the U2 spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union.

Powers’ U-2 was shot down on May 1, 1960, as he flew over Soviet airspace, and after parachuting out of the plane he was captured and convicted of espionage. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was freed on Feb. 10, 1962, in exchange for Soviet spy Rudolf Abel. The incident and exchange was detailed on the Steven Spielberg film “Bridge of Spies”.

If you would like to support the podcast further and get access to some exclusive extras go to our web site at coldwarconversations.com and use the Patreon link our home page.

Back to today’s episode and a warm welcome to Gary Powers Jr.

The Cold War Museum Web site

The Cold War Museum on Facebook

Books

The Cold War – Jeremy Isaacs & Taylor Downing

The Cold War – John Lewis Gaddis

Operation Overflight – Francis Gary Powers

Mayday – Michael Beschloss

Bridge of Spies – Giles Whittell

Brotherhood of Spies

Letters from a Soviet Prison – Gary Powers Jr

Spy Pilot – Gary Powers Jr

Videos

20 minute BBC documentary on the U2 incident

USAF Documentary on the 1960 U2 Incident

Letters from a Soviet Prison – lecture with Gary Powers Jr

Bridge of Spies – movie trailer

3 minute summary of the 1960 U2 Incident

21 – BRIXMIS, British defence of Berlin, and Rudolf Hess

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Welcome to episode 21 of Cold War Conversations

Today we’re talking to Nigel Dunkley MBE a former Royal Scots Dragoon Guard, performed intelligence gathering duties in the former East Germany with BRIXMIS during the Cold War.

BRIXMIS ( British Commanders’-in-Chief Mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany) was an intelligence organisation worked throughout the Cold War years from 1946 to 1990 gathering intelligence in the former Soviet Occupation Zone of East Germany on the threat posed to the West and NATO by the 20 Soviet and 6 East German Army Divisions and their Air Forces deployed there.

In the 1980s Nigel  also interpreted for Hitler’s Deputy Rudolf Hess in Spandau Prison, Berlin and provided some fascinating insight into character of Hitlet’s Deputy Fuhrer.

Later in his military career he was awarded the MBE and Bronze Star Medal for his services with the US 1st Cavalry Division during Operation Desert Storm. Nigel was also Chief of Staff at the Royal Armoured Corp Centre at Bovington, ending his army career as Defence Attache at the British Embassy in Berlin.

I am delighted to welcome Nigel Dunkley MBE to Cold War Conversations.

Join the discussion on facebook here.

Links

http://www.brixmis.co.uk/

Details on BRIXMIS operations in the GDR

US account of US Military Liaison Unit operations

Rudolf Hess Flight to the UK

Article on Rudolf Hess & Spandau Prison

Trip Advisor reviews of Nigel’s tours

Berlin Audio tour app Nigel has worked on

Books

Brixmis: The Untold Exploits of Britain’s Most Daring Cold War Spy Mission

BRIXMIS: The Last Cold War Mission

Video

Real footage of a BRIXMIS tour of the GDR

Trailer of film “Keep the Cold War Cold” covering the British, French and US Liaison missions

Secret Front – Cold War Documentary featuring Nigel (in German)

Secret Front – episode 2

Secret Front Episode 3

Support the Podcast and get access to exclusive extra content 

Available on our Patreon page here

Episode 12 – “My Stasi file is as thick as a phone book”

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Album Mark Reeder1

Welcome to Episode 12 of Cold War Conversations.

Today’s guest is someone I’ve been trying to speak to for some time as his story is a particularly fascinating one.

We’re chatting with Mark Reeder a musician and music producer who has been involved in the Berlin and international music scene since 1978, starting as Factory Records German representative from 1978-1983.

Through contacts in the GDR he put on several secret punk gigs behind the Iron Curtain and his Stasi file is described as  “as thick as a phone book”. He is however, denied access to the full file as it remains in the possession of the German Federal Intelligence Service…

He is also the founder and owner of the first East German electronic dance music label Masterminded For Success “MFS” which he started in 1990, after being the only and last Westerner to make an album  in communist East Germany which was “Torture” by Die Vision in 1989.

His is a very interesting and unusual account with some great stories including  how he smuggled a Volksarmee uniform across the Berlin Wall and the unusual currency needed to get your phone fixed.

We join our conversation as Mark describes how he took the popular UK TV show “The Tube” around Berlin.

** Items purchased from the Amazon links will pay Cold War Conversations a small commission to help keep the podcast on the air **

Film

B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin (1979-1989) – Official Trailer

Books

Once Upon a Time in the East.

Music

Mark’s latest album Mauerstadt

Videos

Jessica – the East German band Mark discovered appearing on British TV

Mark’s band Shark Vegas almost causing an international incident on Glienicke Bridge

Mark’s film about life & music in 1980s West Berlin – B Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin (1979-1989) – Official Trailer

Punk, priest, Stasi, spy: Meet the man who smuggled punk into East Berlin – Article about Mark Reeder

2014 Video interview with Mark

1994  video interview with Mark – Part 1 of 3

1994  video interview with Mark – Part 2 of 3

1994  video interview with Mark – Part 3 of 3

Episode 9 – Cloak & Dagger in Prague

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Arno albumWelcome to Episode 9 of Cold War Conversations.

Mark Baker is an independent journalist and travel writer who’s lived in Central Europe for more than two decades.

I heartily recommend his travel website

www.markbakerprague.com which is an eclectic mix of stories about his adopted hometown of Prague and stories from when Central Europe was the “Eastern bloc” and he was a full-time journalist trying his best to cover it.

Mark tells an intriguing and compelling story and I urge you to listen right to the end. I hope you enjoy our chat and I welcome Mark Baker. (the drawing is by Stewart K Moore and is a representation of Mark’s Czechoslovak fixer during the 1980s)

Mark’s  blog is www.markbakerprague.com but https://markbakerprague.com/category/tales-from-the-past/ will take readers directly to the stories about the 1980s.

Books

William Crisp – The ex Vietnam Vet who was Mark’s boss in Vienna and wrote spy stories

Under a Cruel Sky – Mark’s highly recommendable book from an author who survived Auschwitz and ended up marrying a Communist who was executed in the show trials.

Ivan Klima’s author page on Amazon:

Video

Costa Gavras drama film about the Slansky trial “The Confession”

The HBO mini-series on Jan Palach

Youtube Czechoslovak pop songs from the 1960s and ‘70s:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7ZmhEGFHj8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lgt7AxlC988

Milada –  drama film of Milada Horáková, democratic pre-WW2 Czech politician first arrested and tried by the Nazis during the War and then the post-war Communist government for her refusal to cease her opposition activity and leave the country.

Episode 5 Part 2 of – Espionage, East Germany and Berlin with Spybrary host Shane Whaley

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Welcome to episode 5 which is part 2 of our Cold War Conversations with Shane Whaley of Spybrary . 

We talked for some time ,so I have split this interview into two parts.

I hope you find this second half as interesting as I did – settle in for more wide ranging and hopefully interesting conversation with my good friend Shane Whaley.

If you liked what you have heard, please leave a review at Itunes or your preferred podcast provider – it really helps to spread the word.

And don’t forget to join the discussion at our facebook page, and you can also follow us on twitter @coldwarpod

Thank you for listening

Here are some links to the subjects we talked about.

( A small affiliate fee from book links helps pay for Podcast hosting charges)

Behind the Berlin Wall book 

Accidental announcement that DDR border will open

Bornholmer Strasse Checkpoint opening film (in German)

George Blake escape

Deutschland 83 Soundtrack 

Bruckner 9th Symphony 

Operation Rose – the plan to build the Berlin Wall  

John Peet book – The Long Engagement

Richard Nixon

The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 – 9 November 1989 book by Frederick Taylor

Stasiland – book

Born in the GDR – book 

The File: A Personal History – book

Man Without a Face: The Autobiography of Communism’s Greatest Spymaster

Letters Over The Wall: Life in Communist East Germany

The GDR (RLE: German Politics): Moscow’s German Ally (Routledge Library Editions: German Politics)

The GDR (RLE: German Politics): Moscow’s German Ally (Routledge Library Editions: German Politics)

The Stasi Files: East Germany’s Secret Operations Against Britain

The Life of Others – movie trailer

Goodbye Lenin – movie trailer

Charlie Muffin film – complete 

Unser Berlin – DDR Propagandafilm über Ost-Berlin

The incredible microlight flying rescue over the Berlin Wall, 1989 at 2mins 30 secs

Teaching English GDR style 

The Singing Ringing Tree – Scary kids GDR kids programme

Singing, Ringing Tree spoof by The Fast Show

Episode 4 (Part 1) – Espionage, East Germany and Berlin with Spybrary host Shane Whaley

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Welcome to episode 4 (part 1) of Cold War Conversations. Today we’re talking about Cold War espionage, East Germany and Berlin with shanespybrary-e1510077512760Spybrary host, Shane Whaley.

Shane runs the Spybrary podcast at spybrary.com. Their goal is to encourage people to read new spy novels, revisit an old espionage classic and discuss them with our community of like minded spy fans. It’s great  fun if you like spy books I highly recommend his podcast.

We could have gone on for hours and indeed we did, so I have split this interview into two parts.

Settle in for a wide ranging and hopefully interesting conversation with my good friend Shane Whaley.

If you liked what you have heard, please leave a review at Itunes or your preferred podcast provider – it really helps to spread the word.

And don’t forget to join the discussion at our facebook page, and you can also follow us on twitter @coldwarpod

Thank you for listening

Here are some links to the subjects we talked about

Cambridge Spies

Markus Wolf

Günter Guillaume Stasi Spy

Able Archer NATO exercise

Gaby Gast Stasi Spy

Rainer Rupp Stasi Spy

Erich Honecker

Robert Maxwell Publisher of Erich Honecker’s biography

Radio Berlin International

John Peet and the Democratic German Report

Drone fly around of Ernst Thälmann Statue

Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark – featuring those amazing floodlights

Memorial to the Socialists The final resting place of many of Germany’s most famous communists

Berlin Wall Monument Bernauer Strasse

Stasi Museum ** Please note they do English language tours now contrary to what we say on the podcast**

Stasi Prison Hohenschönhausen

Episode 2 – Berlin during the Cold War and Signals Intelligence

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Welcome to Episode 2 of Cold War Conversations where we start with a fascinating eyewitness account of Berlin during the Cold War.

Michael K Ferris  lived in Berlin as a child of US Airforce personnel in the 1960s and 70s and then subsequently joined the US Airforce himself and worked in Signals Intelligence during the 1980s.

In a wide ranging chat, we talked about life for American families and their kids in Berlin during the Cold War and also about the challenges of signals intelligence in the heart of East Germany at tail end of the Cold War. We also talked about the Stasi spy in Michael’s unit, Kennedy’s visit to Berlin, Baader Meinhof attacks on US Forces, Soxmis and much more.

Our guest’s unit was described by the Commander in Chief US Airforce Europe as “his eyes and ears to the East.”

We welcome Michael K Ferris

Links to videos we talked about:

Counterpoint TV Series set at Templehof Airfield

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__PftXbeNWI

Documentary on Stasi Spy Jeffrey Carney

https://www.facebook.com/kevin.s.sweeney/videos/10208878757341371/

Video of the remains of Marienfelde Monitoring Post

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=818IBwSsM5Y

The Same Sky – TV Series

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtGSu-DJtPU

Berlin Enclaves

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bqtY2PtEyU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8zZ6kx2EbE

The Legend of Rita (fictional drama film of Baader Meinhof terrorist crossing to the GDR)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkNk6Uzuedo

Reagan at Checkpoint Charlie 1982

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr-4QaBabDw

Berlin Historical Maps

http://histomapberlin.de/histomap/en/index.html

Game Set and Match

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3cDtZ4zSsw

Music

Talking Heads

https://youtu.be/JccW-mLdNe0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVHNwBbkSj4

Books

Amazon UK  – Looking Down the Corridors: Allied Aerial Espionage over East Germany and Berlin, 1945-1990

Amazon US

https://amzn.to/2IjtF1N

(small affiliate fee from these book links helps pay for Podcast hosting charges)

Facebook discussion group-

Facebook Group

Twitter

https://twitter.com/ColdWarPod