45 – An East German Army Officer at the 40th anniversary parade of the GDR

 

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In this episode we welcome back Torsten Belger a former East German Army Officer.

Torsten was part of the 40th Anniversary Parade of the GDR which unknown to him at the time would be its last. He tells of the training for the parade and his meeting with Yasser Arafat, the Head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Torsten also shares how he heard about the unrest sweeping the country and his introduction to anti-riot training.

The episode ends with Torsten telling about his gradual realisation that the country he had known his whole life was gradually falling apart.

Before we start I’d like to thank all our Patreon who donate monthly to support the podcast further and get access to some exclusive extras. Monthly donations can be as small as $1 or a quid or a rouble and every donation helps keep us broadcasting and expanding the show.

Just  go to our web site at coldwarconversations.com and click on the “support the Podcast” menu option.

Now back to today’s episode.

We start with Torsten telling us about the month leading up to the parade.

We welcome back Torsten Belger

 

Links

43 – Highlights of 2018 – A whistle stop tour

 

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Welcome to the Cold War Conversations History Podcast 2018 roundup and thank you to all our listeners and guests who’ve stuck with us and made the podcast what it is.

If your old or new to the podcast I hope this episode will make you dip into episodes you might have missed or you thought are not your cup of tea..

I’d like to especially thanks those listeners that have left such positive reviews on Itunes and have contributed financially via Patreon or as one off donations. If you haven’t left a review yet, just head over coldwarconversations.com and click on the “support the podcast” menu option.

If you’d like to support us with a few quid, dollars, or roubles click on the support the podcast menu option as well  at coldwarconversations.com.

It’s been quite a year for me. I started this project in March 2018 and had no idea where it would go and have been astounded by the response and range of guests we have had on. 

I have been privileged to speak to the son of a former Soviet Premier, I’ve sat chatting over coffee in the kitchen of a former NVA officer in Liverpool, and boarded a Soviet submarine in Kent. Now that would make quite a bucket list on its own!

Anyway you don’t want to listen to my ramblings, here’s the whistle stop tour of Cold War Conversations 2018 – enjoy!

 

 

44 – Chasing Bears Part 1 – RAF intercepts of Soviet aircraft

 

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Nick Anderson is a former RAF Phantom jet fighter pilot. We discuss flying in the Cold War and in detail how the RAF would have responded to a nuclear attack. We also talk about how QRA (Quick Reaction Alert)  worked and hear details of a number of missions Nick flew intercepting the Soviet  Tupolev Tu-95 codenamed “The Bear” by NATO.

Before we start the episode I wanted to thanks everyone who is supporting the podcast financially via Patreon and one off donations. including our latest supporters William Wallace, Peter Ryan, George Foster and  James Chilcott.

Now some of you may not realise that this podcast is a one man band and the podcast is financed out of my own pocket. When I started this in March 2018 I had no idea how popular this was going to be and have been astonished by the interest, your feedback and the generosity of my guests in allowing me to share their stories.

However, that popularity does increase the costs of putting the podcast out and if all our listeners just paid a dollar, a pound or a euro a month I’d be able to do far more. Now you may wonder what this Patreon is I keep banging on about. Well it makes it dead easy to support the podcast. Just visit Patreon.com/coldwarpod, choose your level of support and then I receive that amount monthly. In addition you will get access to previews, and other exclusive extras that don’t make it into the free version of the show.   Just  click here to help support the show 

Now back to today’s episode. We start out by describing the Phantom itself, and it’s difference from the US version.

We welcome Nick Anderson

Images provided By Nick

 

 

 

 

42 – Gillian – A US Student visiting the GDR

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Gillian Cox visited the GDR as a student in October 1989 just before the Wall came down.

In this episode you will hear her eyewitness of account of what she saw in East Germany on the cusp of it’s destruction.


Before we start the episode I wanted to thanks everyone who is supporting the podcast financially via Patreon and one off donations. 

Now some of you may not realise that this podcast is a one man band and the podcast is financed out of my own pocket. When I started this in March 2018 I had no idea how popular this was going to be and have been astonished by the interest, your feedback and the generosity of my guests in allowing me to share their stories.

However, that popularity does increase the costs of putting the podcast out and if all our listeners just paid a dollar, a pound or a euro a month I’d be able to do far more. Now you may wonder what this Patreon is I keep banging on about. Well it makes it dead easy to support the podcast. Just visit Patreon.com/coldwarpod, chose your level of support and then I receive that amount monthly. In addition you will get access to previews, and other exclusive extras that don’t make it into the free version of the show.   Just  click here to help support the show 

Now back to today’s episode. We start with Gillian describing her interest in the Cold War and how she ended up in the GDR.

We welcome Gillian Cox

 

 

 

 

 

 

40 – A British Journalist in East Berlin

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Today we have a joint operation where myself and Shane Whaley from the GDR Radio Podcast and Spybrary podcast speak with Peter Millar. Peter is an award winning journalist who was named Foreign Correspondent of the Year for his reporting on the dying days of the Cold War.  

Now, I’m sure you’d like some exclusive extras including previews of future episodes, as well as content that didn’t make the final cut. 

Just head over to coldwarconversations.com and click on the “Support the podcast” menu option. Thank you very much to those listeners who are already supporting us.

I’d also like to thank our latest reviewers in Itunes  JamieNYC, Neil Gussman and Mac East 2nd Floor Studios for their  five star reviews. Please do add reviews In Itunes otherwise know as Apple Podcasts as  it really helps to spread the word and get guests.

Back to today’s episode. Peter’s book “The Berlin Wall: My Part in its Downfall” is described as “a witty, wry, elegiac account of his time as a Reuters and Sunday Times correspondent in Berlin throughout most of the 1980s’ ” by The Spectator and the Sunday Times described it as” part autobiography, part history primer and part Fleet Street gossip column … Millar cast aside the old chestnuts and set about reporting on the reality of life under communism. In bare Stalinist apartments, at hollow party events and over cool glasses of Volker the gravedigger-cum-hippie, the Stasi seductress “Helga the Honeypot”, Kurtl the accordion player whose father had been killed at Stalingrad, and the petty smuggler Manne who has been separated from his parents by the Wall …

We welcome Peter Millar.

Links

 

Peter’s book – 1989 The Berlin Wall, My Part in its Downfall

Peter’s Alternative history of a UK under Soviet rule. 

The Metzer Eck Bar

Peter’s web site 

 

 

39 – East German Army Officer Training

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Today we speak with Torsten Belger who trained as an Artillery Officer in the East German Army. Torsten also runs Germandotmilitaria which is a web site selling various items of East German militaria and civilian items too. It’s well worth a visit

Adam Spink – you know who you are. Adam Spink is our latest Patreon, part of an increasing band of loyal supporters of the podast who are getting exclusive extras including previews of future episodes, as well as content that didn’t make the final cut. Available for  as little as  a monthly donation of a euro, a dollar or a quid (larger amounts and other currencies are accepted too).

Just head over to coldwarconversations.com and click on the “Support the podcast” menu option. Thank you very much to those listeners who are already supporting us.

I’d also like to thank out latest reviewer in Itunes MacjacB for another five star review. Please do add reviews to your podcast providers site, it helps to spread the word.

Now back to today’s episode. Torsten tells us in fascinating detail  about his schooling, and how he ended up on the officer training course.  

Spoiler alert, this episode does end on a cliffhanger… we welcome Torsten Belger.

 

Links

41 – Defending the Fulda Gap

 

 

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Today we talk again with Neil Gussman who was an M60A1 tank commander in West Germany tasked with defending the Fulda Gap which was a key likely Warsaw Pact attack route. We talk about his rushed initial deployment where he faced Warsaw Pact tanks across the border, details of various exercises he was in and how the US troops interacted with the West German population.

Before we start I’d like to thank our latest supporters William Wallace, Eric Schultz and James Chilcott as well as all our other Patreons who are supporting the show and getting exclusive content too.  If you’d like to join this exclusive band just go to coldwarconversations.com/support.

Join the discussion on facebook here.  

 

Support the Podcast and get access to exclusive extra content  Available on our Patreon page here

37 – Antje – The Girl Behind The Wall

 


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Today we’re talking to Antje Arnold, author of “The Girl Behind The Wall” which tells the story of a girl growing up in East Germany in the 1980s.

Now keep your finger away from the fast forward button for a minute. Hopefully some of you may noticed the improvement in sound quality on some of the recent episodes and this is directly resulting from the support we get from our Patreons where we have invested in some new microphones.

Now you might be thinking what is this Patreon. It’s an easy way for you to support the podcast with a monthly donation of as little as a euro, a dollar or a quid  (larger amounts and other currencies are accepted too, but no Ost Marks). I’d like to thank personally  our latest supporters via Patreon. These are Dom Thorrington, Jakob Rud Bernhardt and Nick Packham  who are are helping us monthly for as little as a euro, a dollar or a quid  (larger amounts and other currencies are accepted too, but no Ost Marks). If you’d like to help keep us broadcasting and get some extras then just click here

Back to today’s epsiode. Antje’s book is from a child’s point-of-view, rather than the typical espionage stories or documentaries that portray people trying to escape socialism. The book provides a very different insight into the holidays, vacation and everyday life of a family; stories that are often left out when describing East German life.

In our conversation you will not find historical data, but you’ll travel back in time to relive the childhood memories alongside the girl behind the wall. 

We welcome Antje Arnold. 

Buy The Girl Behind the Wall here.

A press interview with Antje.

Support the Podcast and get access to exclusive extra content 

Available on our Patreon page here

36 – Totally East: Life in East Germany Photo Exhibition

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Today we visit the Totally East: Life in East Germany Photography Exhibition.

Run-down façades, punks and ordinary workers: This exhibition shows the works of Harald Hauswald, who documented everyday life in the GDR.

Now I know this is the point you fast forward, but before we start I’d like to thank our latest financial supporters via Patreon. These are  John Smaha, Jim Jordan, and Wayne Sherwood. They are really helping support the podcast by donating money and get access to some exclusive extras.  These donations can be as small as $1 or a quid and every donation helps keep us broadcasting and expanding the show. Just  click here 

So back to today’s episode. I walk through the exhibition with Dr Richard Millington who you will remember from our episode on the 1953 East German Uprising.  Richard has brought the exhibition to Chester and as we walk round we discuss the photos and have a wide ranging conversation about life in East Germany.

After our chat there’s some interviews with exhibition visitors who reminisce about the GDR and comment on the exhibition. We also chat with a couple of Cold War Conversations Podcast listeners who came along too.

I hope you enjoy! 

 

Buy the exhibition guide book.

The exhibition in pdf format

The Wartburg Trabant IFA Club in the UK

Grant’s Books.

BERLIN: Caught in the Mousetrap

BERLIN: Reaping the Whirlwind

 

 

 

34 – Samy – The Life of a West Berliner

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Welcome to Episode 34 of Cold War Conversations – I do hope you are enjoying the content.

Please leave reviews on itunes, or alternative podcast platforms and share us on social media. It helps raise the profile and helps us get new guests.

Today ee talk with Samy who as a native West Berliner describes growing up in the city during the 1970s and 80s.


He describes in detail the difference between West Berlin and West Germany, including its position as a “special political entity”, how the death penalty in West Berlin was only abolished in 1989 and how as a child he was obsessed with Spy movies, spy books, and Cold War activities.

Before we go further I’d like to thank all our Patreons who donate monthly to support the podcast further and get access to some exclusive extras. Luke Wooller is our latest Patreaon who pay as little as a $1 or a £1 a month to help keep us broadcasting and expanding the show.

Just click here.

Ok so back to today’s episode – Samy also talks about the battle between the East and West German Sandmännchen resulting in victory for the East.


Samy joined the Red Cross post Cold War but discovered some interesting remnants of preparedness in case of another Berlin blockade including some top secret locations.


I’m sure you will enjoy his account and I am delighted to welcome Samy to Cold War Conversations.

Samy’s recommended Films for a taste of West & East Berlin.
 

 

 

 
 
West Music:
 
 
 
East Music:
 

 

 

 

In 1988, a group of young people occupy the Lenné Triangle, a plot of land that lies right by the Wall, in an attempt to stop a motorway being built there. Although the site is in West Berlin, it is actually the property of East Berlin. The occupation makes a tourist attraction of what was once just a wasteland.

Not long after the young people arrive, the Lenné Triangle is handed back to the West and several hundred police officers begin clearing the site. They fire teargas and use water cannons, and the squatters retaliate by throwing paving stones. A lot of the protestors manage to flee across the Wall to East Berlin, where they are given breakfast and later allowed to take the U-Bahn back to the West.