The Cold War Vault

The Cold War Vault

Tales from the most dangerous decades in history.

Episodes

January 20, 2022 75 min

In this series we'll break down the greatest films of the Cold War and see each phase of a conflict through the lens of the movies. The first episode is "escalation." What do films have to say about the period leading up to the war? What lessons can be learned about the fears of the public and the intentions of the filmmakers? This is episode 1 of a four part series. 

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We start with whales and end with aliens on this episode of the Cold War Vault. By exploring geophysicist Maurice Ewing's contributions to the national defense in submarine warfare, we will go on a journey that takes us to the darkest depths, to Roswell, New Mexico, and on to other unsolved mysteries of the skies and the seas.

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September 28, 2021 37 min

John McEuen was a founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and in 1977 was invited on a musical tour of the Soviet Union. On this episode, John McEuen recounts some stories about the tour and thoughts on what the Soviet Union was like in those days.

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August 17, 2021 49 min

Recently uncovered documents reveal how close the 1958 Taiwan Crisis came to going nuclear. Important context to have in the current world.

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An interview with author Ann Hagedorn about an early Cold War espionage ring and the American-born spy who escaped to the Soviet Union--but only after stealing secrets from the Manhattan Project. Sleeper Agent by Ann Hagedorn was released on 20 July 2021. ?

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In this episode we'll look at the most serious mishaps at NORAD during the most tense days of the War Scare years and compare the very similar crisis faced by Stansilav Petrov in the Soviet Union in 1983. 

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April 17, 2021 34 min

A techno-thriller, exploring the technological background of many of the nuclear near misses and close calls of the Cold War. Inferior computer systems and common sense battled it out for the survival of human kind. 

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January 16, 2021 34 min

Could it have been that the most dangerous year of the Great War Scare wasn't 1983 with Able Archer, but 1984, when the danger receded into the mechanisms of the Soviet intelligence apparatus? Yes it could. For nearly a full year, the Soviet Union continued to operate on the assumption that the United States was going to launch a surprise attack. And the U.S. didn't seem to have a clue.

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December 17, 2020 45 min

In part three of the 1983 series, we go deeper into what Exercise Able Archer actually was and why it scared the Soviet Union. After all this, was the war scare real? Recently released documents answer the question. 

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The second part of the series on the Great War Scare goes into even more incidents and accidents that heightened tensions in advance of the events of Autumn Forge 1983. Reagan's rhetoric, the Star Wars Program, Operation RYaN, and the shootdown of KAL 007 all play a role in setting the stage for the real drama...and the real danger.

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October 22, 2020 36 min

We explore the 1981-83 nuclear war scare, what caused it, and what almost set the missiles flying during the Able Archer 83 exercise. This episode offers some background, and an introduction to Operation RYaN, the Soviet effort to predict a U.S. first strike. Very dangerous days. This time on the Vault. 

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September 21, 2020 50 min

The stories we tell about ourselves are all fiction. Especially when you are the god-king of a cult of personality. Doing research on a few interesting stories, these outrageous characters needed a little narrative. These aren't all, of course, just a few little tales I wanted to tell. Papa Doc Duvalier, the infamous Turkmenbashi, and the changing Cult of Kim.

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Doomtown. Ah, my home address. This time, we look at the rise and fall of civil defense in the United States, with all of the virtual nuclear wars at the center. From irradiating cans of peaches to tens of millions of Americans evacuating the cities, the civil defense project truly was a lesson in imagined disaster. 

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In Part 1 of this series, the Vault looks at early attempts by the U.S. federal government to save itself in the face of nuclear war. What started out as a hopeful scheme was eventually abandoned when the Soviet weapons technology outpaced the ability of the government to survive. 

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In this episode we discover Moscow’s “Summer of Love” of 1957, when Khrushchev, 30 years ahead of his time, attempted a social and cultural “opening.” Nothing embodied this more than the Sixth Festival of Youth and Students, a cultural and political free for all that descended on Moscow for two weeks in July and August and forever changed the sociopolitical landscape of the Soviet Union, no matter how hard later leaders tried to su...

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June 15, 2020 26 min

On this current events episode, we look at all of the ins, outs, ups, and downs of the Korean Balloon Crisis of June 2020 and speculate about the potential reasons for such an overreaction to what has been happening regularly since at least 2004. Something strange is afoot!

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May 30, 2020 37 min

When the Soviet ambassador started looking for a new embassy, he couldn't have known it would take decades. This episode looks at the various games each side played as the United States and the Soviet Union built new embassies, spying on each other in wild ways...all the while.

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A current events episode. How does a global crisis reveal even more clearly the new Cold War with Communist China? Let's explore it together, shall we? I'm going to take heat for this episode. So please support the show. 

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April 20, 2020 48 min

Not Quite "Science and the CIA," but definitely a sequel to those last couple of episodes, this show deals with a subproject of MKULTRA called "Magic Manual." Long thought to just be a myth in the walls of the CIA, the "Magic Manual" written by famed magician John Mulholland for the MKULTRA program finally surfaced in an unrelated archive. This episode will look at how the CIA put the tricks of stage magic t...

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March 11, 2020 51 min

In this very special episode, we'll look at the very real world examples of times that biological weapons have slipped the grip of their government handlers and posed a risk to all humankind.

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