Eva – A Czechoslovak childhood

Born in Communist Czechoslovakia, Eva Caletkova has written an honest and unflinching account of her childhood in Bratislava. Eva’s parents were Catholics, and the communist regime began to persecute the Catholic Church right from the start in 1948. They had to hide their faith from anyone outside of their home. Eva provides us with an … Read more

An American teaching English in East Germany

  Susan Morrison is Professor of English at Texas State University.  In the late 1980’s she taught in Rostock in the former GDR and then lived in West Berlin but frequently crossed back into the East to teach and meet friends.  In this episode we talk to her about her experiences and her impression of … Read more

Reporting the 1989 Romanian Revolution

      Mark Brayne worked as a Reuters & BBC journalist during the Cold War. This time we are in Romania in December 1989 where riots, street violence and murder in several cities over the course of roughly a week led the Romanian leader Nicolae Ceaușescu to flee the capital city on 22 December … Read more

A British Journalist under Stasi Surveillance

      In this episode we talk to Mark Brayne again in a wide ranging chat about his career as a Reuters & BBC journalist including details of his Stasi file, his time in the Soviet Union, Hungary & Poland as well as the perils of editing analogue tape in a non-digital age. Among … Read more

Czechoslovak hockey star defects to Canada

  Vashi Nedomanský is the son of Czech former legendary ice hockey forward Václav Nedomanský aka “Big Ned”  who is best known as the first hockey player to defect to North America to play. Vashi provides us with vivid descriptions of the 1969 Ice Hockey World Championships where the Czech National Team faced  the Soviet … Read more

A UK Journalist in the Soviet Union & the GDR

    Mark Brayne studied in Moscow 71-72, travelling the country with fellow UK students and spending silly amounts of time in the bathhouses with salted fish and very poor quality beer. He returned in 1974-75 as Reuters trainee journalist where he became very close to Andrei Sakharov, the father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb … Read more

Gorbachev, Reagan, and Thatcher, and the End of the Cold War

    The Cold War got colder in the early 1980s and the relationship between the two military superpowers, the USA and the Soviet Union, each of whom had the capacity to annihilate the other, was tense. By the end of the decade, East-West relations had been utterly transformed, with most of the dividing lines … Read more

Alan – Working in the GDR & The USSR

  Welcome to Cold War Conversations – if you’re new here, you’ve come the right place to listen to firsthand Cold War history accounts. Do make sure you subscribe in your podcast app so you don’t miss out on future episodes. Alan Baker worked and studied in the GDR and the USSR from the 1970s … Read more

Boarding Soviet ships with the Danish Navy

Lieutenant Commander Jørgen Brandsborg joined the Danish Navy in the 1980s. He met the Soviets up close and personal while serving in the North Atlantic where the Danish Navy acted as a coast guard when on patrol around the Faroe Islands, which meant boarding Soviet vessels for inspection. He also tells of Danish Navy training, … Read more