Cold War Conversations

Cold War Conversations

Recording the stories of the Cold War before they are lost...... Show More

Episodes

September 25, 2020 53 min

This is part 2 of our chat with Jack Barsky who spent ten years as an undercover KGB agent in the United States.

He is the longest surviving known member of the KGB illegals programme that operated during the Cold War.

In this episode we talk about his first days in the US, his mission and how he managed build his cover enabling him to live and work as a US citizen. He honestly and candidly talks about the impact his secret life had ...

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September 18, 2020 63 min

If you’ve seen the TV drama series, “The Americans” you’ll be fascinated by this episode. Albrecht Dittrich was an East German graduate student and a true believer in the Communist cause when he was recruited by the KGB in 1970. He spent ten years as an undercover KGB agent in the United States.

He is the longest surviving known member of the KGB illegals programme that operated during the Cold War.

In this episode we talk about his ...

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September 11, 2020 83 min

This is the 2nd episode with Trevor Barnes, the author of “Dead Doubles, a new book on the Portland Spy Ring, one of the most infamous espionage cases of the Cold War.

The story continues with the dramatic arrest of three of the KGB spies outside the Old Vic theatre in London and the discovery of   the amazing espionage career of the Krogers, the innocent-looking couple in suburbia…

We also talk about the revelation that the Portland...

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September 4, 2020 48 min

In this episode we talk with Trevor Barnes, the author of “Dead Doubles, a new book on the Portland Spy Ring, one of the most infamous espionage cases of the Cold War.

In 1960 it was discovered that crucial secrets from the world-leading submarine research base at Portland in Dorset were being stolen by a British man and his mistress. The couple were tailed by MI5 'watchers' to a covert meeting with a Canadian businessman, G...

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This is the 2nd part of our conversation with Major General Sir Robert Corbett, KCVO, CB who was the last Commandant of the British Sector in Berlin.

We join as I ask what were the British Army’s plans in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion of West Berlin.  

We also talk about the momentous night of 9th November 1989 and a fascinating tale of a situation, which if handled differently could have sent the history of that night in a ver...

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Major General Sir Robert Corbett, KCVO, CB was the last Commandant of the British Sector in Berlin.

We start his story with the description of his first experience of Berlin as a young Army officer commanding a military train across East Germany into West Berlin just weeks after the Berlin Wall had been built. 

We also talk about his subsequent Army career including his interview with British Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe and his e...

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August 14, 2020 75 min

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 insightful and emotional conversation that captures her experiences of life in Communist Czechoslov...

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August 7, 2020 61 min

Werner Stiller’s spectacular defection to the West in 1979 inflicted one of the Cold War’s most serious blows to the Stasi.

At the time he was working as a case officer for the Main Directorate for Reconnaissance, the Stasi’s foreign intelligence division, where he was in charge of scientific espionage in the West.

We speak with Stiller’s son Andy, who although he was 11 months old at the time of his father’s defection met his father...

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Tim Phillips travelled the route of the former Iron Curtain from deep inside the arctic circle to the meeting point in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey. On his journey, he explored both the surviving traces of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall.

The people he meets bear vivid witness to a time of change. There are some who now look on the Cold War with nostalgia and affection, but many more who still despise it unable to forgive the...

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Vashi Nedomanský is the son of Czechoslovak former legendary ice hockey forward Václav Nedomanský aka “Big Ned”  who is best known as the first ice hockey player to defect to North America to play. 

We hear a dramatic true story that combines sports, politics, espionage, corruption, and life-changing events that played out on a global stage.

Among the stories we hear are the vivid descriptions of the 1969 Ice Hockey World Championshi...

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Robert Perschmann describes himself as an anti-Cold War activist.

His political views started to form while serving in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War period where he saw first hand the toll on the US military and the racism prevalent in the American South. 

An interview with a Soviet journalist which was broadcast on PBS radio (the US equivalent of the BBC) was the catalyst for an almost one-man campaign to reduce tensions b...

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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 the two Germanys in 1989. 

During her time in Rostock, Susan got in trouble with the authorities over bulletin board known as ‘The Wall...

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July 3, 2020 57 min

Hans de Vreij is a Dutch journalist who has worked in Berlin , Brussels, Geneva and Prague.

Whilst working at the United Nations in Geneva Hans was the subject of attempted recruitment by the KGB to develop an ‘agent of influence’ to disseminate Soviet points of view.

In addition, they analysed the ‘targeted journalist’ in terms of possible blackmail: ‘kompromat‘ (compromising material). This especially held true for journalists who ...

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How can we go beyond the films, books, and photos to learn more about the Cold War?  Films are certainly evocative and certainly inform but how can we go beyond that and immerse ourselves to see what it felt like to be there. The two technologies of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality may allow us to do this.

Robin Hardenberg is a Berlin-based filmmaker who has developed ’The Berlin Wall App’ which uses Augmented Reality to bring ...

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June 19, 2020 68 min

Bill was a US Army Intelligence Analyst. In 1986 he was assigned to Order of Battle Branch, Soviet Section where for three years he studied the Warsaw Pact armies working closely with the US Military Liaison Mission (USMLM) in Berlin which led to a transfer there in November 1989

Stationed in Potsdam he became an Order of Battle Analyst and participated in a handful of collection tours with the USMLM as the “back seater”.  

He tells ...

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We talk again to Mark Brayne who 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 with his wife.

We hear the challenges of being a journalist in what was effectively a war zone without the risk assessment...

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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 his interviewees we talk about the Dalai Lama, Lech Walesa as well the ordinary people of the Warsaw Pact countries.

If you are enjoying the podcast please leave a written...

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May 29, 2020 41 min

In Britain and the Bomb Bill Nuttall considers Britain's national journey from Empire to Europe and the transition of British nuclear weapons from the Royal Air Force to the Royal Navy.

If you are enjoying the podcast please leave a written reviews in Apple podcasts or share us on social media. By telling your friends you can really help the podcast grow.

It costs money and time to produce this podcast so I’m asking listeners to ...

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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 and Soviet-era dissident.

East Berlin was his first solo posting for Reuters, where he and his wife Jutta both sang...

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Scott was a Pershing 2 nuclear missile Fire Control Officer which meant he was responsible for the launch of the missile. Aged 23 he was made platoon commander and responsible for 3 of these deadly weapons. 

The Pershing II was a mobile, intermediate-range ballistic missile deployed by the U.S. Army at American bases in West Germany beginning in 1983. It was aimed at targets in the western Soviet Union. Each Pershing II carried a si...

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