Cold War Conversations

Informações:

Synopsis

In conversation with those that experienced the Cold War and those who are fascinated.

Episodes

  • A Czechoslovak family's escape to Austria (188)

    16/07/2021 Duration: 59min

    We continue Drea Hahn’s story with her family’s escape to Austria and the realities of being a refugee.  In 1986, under the pretext of a “ski trip” to Yugoslavia Drea’s family escaped to Austria. We hear about the sadness of being unable to tell anyone they were leaving and how her relatives were summoned to the police station to be detained for questioning. They didn’t communicate with anyone at “home” until 1989 or 1990 because it was too dangerous.Once, in Austria, there was no certainty that that Drea’s family wouldn’t be handed back to Czechoslovakia as Austria was neutral and the government was keen to stay on good terms with their neighbours.Drea’s family were in Austria for about 2 years living in a single room with a shared bathroom.  We hear from her about the challenges of life as a child refugee in rural Austria.In 1988 permission was granted to emigrate to the US and we hear of their elation when they arrive.Extra info, photos and videos are here https://coldwarconversations.com/episode188If you

  • Drea - A Czechoslovak childhood (187)

    09/07/2021 Duration: 50min

    Drea Hahn was born in Czechoslovakia in 1980 in Teplice. Her mother was a secretary and her father was an engineer but refused to join the communist party and this was a source of tension in Drea’s family. She was partly raised by her grandparents and her grandmother shared stories about growing up in “the Protectorate”, the name given to the area of Czechoslovakia occupied by the Germans in World War 2. Drea tells of a typical Czech childhood – her school friends,  fond memories of school trips, and summers at their chata (country house).A more sinister side of life was getting in trouble for being a chatty kid and being cautioned with the phrase “walls have ears”.Extra info, and videos are here https://coldwarconversations.com/episode187/If you are enjoying the podcast please leave a written review in Apple podcasts or share us on social media. By telling your friends you can really help us grow the number of listeners.Now I need help to continue to track down these unknown stories of the Cold war and ensur

  • An evening with Kim Philby (186)

    06/07/2021 Duration: 56min

    Ben Brown is the writer of A Splinter of Ice, a play that portrays the meeting in Moscow in 1987 of one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century, Graham Greene and his old MI6 boss, Kim Philby, one of Britain's most notorious spies... and a traitor. Graham Greene never divulged any details of the meeting and Ben’s play imagines what might have been. We discuss the play, as well as how Philby and Greene’s lives intertwined. It’s a story of two men catching up on old times, but with a new world order breaking around them how much did the writer of The Third Man know about Philby's secret life as a spy? Did Philby betray his friend as well as his country..?CWC listeners can get discounted £12 tickets to see the play online here using promo code PODCAST12 https://originaltheatreonline.com/productions/20/a-splinter-of-ice A trailer and other videos are available in our episode notes here www.coldwarconversations.com/episode186/If you have listened this far, I know you are enjoying the podcasts so I’

  • Behind enemy lines in East Germany with a US Military Liaison Mission driver Part 2 (185)

    02/07/2021 Duration: 45min

    We return to the 2nd part of Tom Favia’s story with the US Military Liaison Mission which the Soviet Union permitted to operate in East Germany, ostensibly for monitoring and furthering better relationships between the Soviet and Western occupation forces. The British & French also had missions as did the Soviets in West Germany.  Part 1 is here https://coldwarconversations.com/episode183/As you would expect there are some incredible incidents that Tom shares with us including one with a drunk Soviet Major who tries to defect. Tom was with USMLM when the Wall opened in Nov 1989 and describes the uncertainty of the time with Soviet soldiers selling parts of tanks and munitions. If you have listened this far, I know you are enjoying the podcasts so I’m asking for donations to support my work and enable me to continue producing the podcast. If you become a monthly supporter, you will get the sought after CWC coaster as a thank you and bask in the warm glow of knowing you are helping to preserve Cold War hist

  • Ethel Rosenberg (184)

    25/06/2021 Duration: 58min

    Ethel Rosenberg is a controversial figure and generates polarising views varying from an innocent mother caught up in Cold War hysteria to a willing and ruthless accomplice to her husband’s Cold War espionage betraying secrets to the Soviets.Anne Sebba’s new book “Ethel Rosenberg – A Cold War tragedy” (“An American tragedy” in the US) provides a more nuanced view of Ethel that is not just about innocence and guilt but of a talented singer and mother of two children, betrayed by her family and the American judicial system. Aged 37, in 1953 she becomes the first woman in American history to be executed for a crime other than murder.Whatever your views about Ethel Rosenberg this episode will detail more of who Ethel was and how the American judicial system was manipulated to ensure her conviction. Anne’s book is available on these links.UK listeners  https://amzn.to/3wGZD1zUS listeners https://amzn.to/2TObJraIf you’ve listened this far, I know you are enjoying the podcasts so I’m asking for a small monthly donat

  • Behind enemy lines in East Germany with a US Military Liaison Mission driver Part 1 (183)

    18/06/2021 Duration: 01h02min

    Tom Favia served with the USMLM, The US Military Liaison Mission which the Soviet Union permitted to operate in East Germany at the end of World War 2 for the purposes of monitoring and furthering better relationships between the Soviet and Western occupation forces. The British & French also had missions in East Germany and the Soviets has theirs in West Germany.  Tom tells the amazing story of his recruitment from being an art student to being deployed “behind enemy lines” in East Germany. He also describes his earlier career on the Inner German border and then  we move to his USMLM career. We hear about his driver training, planning procedures and the process for exiting West Berlin as well as details of the vehicles including the “James Bond switches”. If you’ve listened this far, I know you are enjoying the podcasts so I’m asking for small monthly donation to support my work and allow me to continue producing the podcast. As a monthly supporter you will get the sought after CWC coaster as a thank you

  • Ralph - A prisoner in an East German jail (182)

    11/06/2021 Duration: 01h03min

    This is the third and final part of Ralph Hänel’s story of his life in East Germany.In this episode, we hear his time in the Stasi prison in Cottbus which with its dark red brick façade was often referred to as the ‘Red Misery’.It’s a chilling insight into Stasi prison conditions and the brutality that the political prisoners endured from the other inmates and the guards.We also hear about Ralph’s eventual release and of some strange experiences he has in reunited GermanyAgain I am honoured and humbled that Ralph shared this story with us. I could really use your support to help me to continue the produce the podcast. A small monthly donation entitles you to the sought after CWC coaster as a thank you and you bask in the warm glow of knowing you are helping to preserve Cold War history. Just go to https://coldwarconversations.com/donate/If a financial contribution is not your cup of tea, you can still help us by leaving written reviews wherever you listen to us and sharing us on social media. It really helps

  • Ralph - Arrested and interrogated by the Stasi (181)

    04/06/2021 Duration: 01h59s

    In this second part of Ralph Hänel’s story of his life in East Germany.We hear of Ralph’s arrest by the Stasi and subsequent interrogation for 10 months.  Ralph describes in some detail the arrest and his early days of imprisonment. He also details the techniques used to try and make him break and the pressure the Stasi also put on his mother.  It’s an incredible insight into the workings of the Stasi from someone who was there and I am honoured that Ralph shared this story with us. We also hear about his court case and in the following episode we hear about his time in the Stasi prison in Cottbus which with its dark red brick façade was often referred to as the ‘Red Misery’.  I could really use your support to continue the podcast. A simple monthly donation via Patreon, plus as a monthly supporter you will get the sought after CWC coaster as a thank you and bask in the warm glow of knowing you are helping to preserve Cold War history. Just go to https://coldwarconversations.com/donate/If a financial contribu

  • Checkmate in Berlin: The Cold War Showdown that Shaped the Modern World (180)

    28/05/2021 Duration: 01h09min

    We speak with author Giles Milton about his new book Checkmate in Berlin: The Cold War Showdown that Shaped the Modern World.In 1945 at the end of World War 2 the Soviet Red Army captured Berlin.  For the next four years, a handful of charismatic but flawed individuals – British, American and Soviet – fought an intensely personal battle over the future of Germany, Europe and the entire free world.Checkmate in Berlin tells this exhilarating, high-stakes tale of grit, skullduggery, and raw power. From the high politics of Yalta to the desperate scramble to break the Soviet stranglehold of Berlin with the greatest aerial operation in history, this is the epic story of the first battle of the Cold War and how it shaped the modern world.Now, I could really use your support to continue the podcast. A simple monthly donation via Patreon, will get you the sought after CWC coaster as a thank you and you’ll bask in the warm glow of knowing you are helping to preserve Cold War history.Just go to https://coldwarconversat

  • Bonus - The state funeral of Josef Stalin (179)

    25/05/2021 Duration: 42min

    This episode is sponsored by MUBI, a curated streaming service with an ever-changing collection of hand-picked cinema. From new directors to award-winners. From everywhere on earth. Beautiful, interesting, incredible films — with a new one added every single day.Right now on MUBI, you can watch STATE FUNERAL, an astonishing archival vision of the Soviet Union in the days after Joseph Stalin’s death. The film is followed by a Q&A with director Sergei Loznitsa in conversation with Pietro Marcello (Martin Eden). Our listeners can stream this (and much more) with thirty days free at mubi.com/coldwar.James Chilcott, Peter Ryan and I had exclusive access to a preview version and in today’s episode we discuss our thoughts on the film.State funeral is streaming exclusively on MUBI from May 21 and on MUBI, the film is followed by an exclusive Q&A with director Sergei Loznitsa in conversation with Pietro Marcello (director of Martin Eden)Our listeners can watch this film (and much more) with thirty days free at

  • Spy who was left out in the Cold: The Secret History of Agent Goleniewski (178)

    21/05/2021 Duration: 01h27min

    We speak with author Tim Tate about his new book the Spy who was left out in the Cold: The Secret History of Agent GoleniewskiMichal Goleniewski remains one of the most important, yet least known and most misunderstood spies of the Cold War. Even his death is shrouded in mystery and he has been written out of the history of Cold War espionage - until now.Tim Tate draws on a wealth of previously unpublished primary source documents to tell the dramatic true story of the best spy the west ever lost - of how Goleniewski exposed hundreds of KGB agents operating undercover in the West; from George Blake and the 'Portland Spy Ring', to a senior Swedish Air Force and NATO officer and a traitor inside the Israeli government. The information he produced devastated intelligence services on both sides of the Iron Curtain.I could really use your support to continue the podcast. A simple monthly donation via Patreon, will as a monthly supporter get you the sought after CWC coaster as a thank you and bask in the

  • Ralph - DJing and Kung Fu in East Germany (177)

    14/05/2021 Duration: 01h26min

    Ralph Hänel tells some unique, strange and funny short stories about childhood and youth in East Germany. We talk about the experiences of his parents in the closing stages of World War 2, his schooling, and how he became a DJ, winning a trip to the Soviet Union.Ralph is a great raconteur with virtually endless stories about his life in East Germany. Hear how he saw Fidel Castro, met the first German astronaut in space and had a girlfriend, whose father was in the people’s police or was it the Stasi...?Ralph had a passion for martial arts, but in East Germany that wasn’t easy to pursue. Listen as Ralph tells how he found secret clubs and smuggled books into the country. However, his interest in martial arts brought him under suspicion and don’t miss subsequent episodes where Ralph’s life takes a turn for the worst when he is arrested by the Stasi and sentenced to 3 and half years in prison.I could really use your support to continue the podcast. A small monthly donation via Patreon is ideal, plus you will get

  • Irish Army peacekeeping in the Lebanon (176)

    07/05/2021 Duration: 55min

    Adrian Jones was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Irish Army in 1983. As a 23 year old officer he served in the United Nations Peacekeeping Force UNIFIL in Southern Lebanon from 1987 to 1988.The Irish battalion consisted of 580 personnel which were rotated every six months, plus almost 100 others in UNIFIL headquarters and the Force Mobile Reserve. In all, 30,000 Irish soldiers served in Lebanon over 23 years.The Irish troops in Lebanon were initially intended to supervise the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces from the area after an invasion in 1978 and to prevent fighting between the Palestine Liberation Organization forces and Israel, however beginning in 1985, the Israeli army scaled back its numbers, remaining only in support of the South Lebanon Army in Southern Lebanon which was fighting the newly established Iranian proxy spinoff of the Amal movement – the Arab Shia Hezbollah.We hear about Irish officer training, the position of Irish neutrality during the Cold War. Among many subjects Adrian

  • Codename Hero - Soviet double agent Oleg Penkovsky (175)

    30/04/2021 Duration: 48min

    In August 1960, a Soviet colonel called Oleg Penkovsky contacted the West to offer to work as a 'soldier warrior for the free world.  MI6 and the CIA ran Penkovsky jointly, in an operation that ran through the showdown over Berlin and the Cuban Missile Crisis.He provided crucial intelligence, including photographs of rocket manuals that helped Kennedy end the Cuba crisis and avert a war. Codenamed HERO, Penkovsky is widely seen as the most important spy of the Cold War, and the CIA-MI6 operation, run as the world stood on the brink of nuclear destruction.We speak with Jeremy Duns, the author of Dead Drop also called Codename Hero in the US which investigates exactly how did the Russians detect Penkovsky, and why did they let him continue his contact with his handlers for months afterwards? Described as thrilling, evocative and hugely controversial, the book blows apart the myths surrounding one of the Cold War's greatest spy operations.Extra info, book details and videos are here https://coldwarconv

  • Korean war veteran & prisoner of war (174)

    23/04/2021 Duration: 01h22min

    70 years ago today would have been the middle of a desperate battle by outnumbered British forces at the battle of the Imjin River in Korea. The Korean War was among the most destructive conflicts of the modern era, and one of the few times when the Cold War turned hot. There were approximately 3 million war fatalities and a larger proportional civilian death toll than World War II or the Vietnam War.Tommy Clough is one of the last survivors of the battle of the Imjin River and was just 19 when the Gloucestershire Regiment were cut off from their brigade by more than 10,000 Chinese troops in 1951. Outnumbered and surrounded, they dug in on a hilltop for three days, repelling attack after attack until their ammunition ran out. The battle of the Imjin River was one of the most famous of the Korean War.We hear in detail Tommy’s experiences in the days up to the battle, as well as the desperate fighting to hold off the Chinese army as food, water and ammunition ran out. Inevitably the Gloucestershire Regiment was

  • A journalist in apartheid South Africa (173)

    16/04/2021 Duration: 51min

    John Matisonn is a South African journalist who  grew up in the suburbs in Johannesburg. In 1979 he was sentenced to jail for refusing to reveal his news sources.Matisonn describes life as a journalist in apartheid South Africa as well as his meetings with some of the key South African personalities of that period. He met with several South African Prime leaders including John Vorster, PW Botha and FW de Klerk who eventually oversaw the end of white majority rule. Also included are details of several meetings Matisonn had with Nelson Mandela the first black President of South Africa.We also hear about Soviet training for African National Congress leaders and the South African nuclear weapons programme.Now I could really use your support to help me to continue to produce these podcasts. A monthly donation of $4, £3 or €3 via Patreon will really and you will get the sought after CWC coaster as a thank you and bask in the warm glow of knowing you are helping to preserve Cold War history.Just go to https://coldwa

  • Yuri Gagarin - The first human in space (172)

    09/04/2021 Duration: 01h13min

    9.07 a.m., April 12, 1961. A top-secret rocket site in the USSR. A young Russian sits inside a tiny capsule on top of the Soviet Union’s most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile and blasts into the skies. His name is Yuri Gagarin. And he is about to make history. We speak with Stephen Walker author of “Beyond” a new book that tells the thrilling story behind that epic flight on its sixtieth anniversary. Drawing on extensive original research and the vivid testimonies of eyewitnesses, many of whom have never spoken before, Stephen unpacks secrets that were hidden for decades and takes you into the drama of one of humanity's greatest adventures. Now I thought I knew Gagarins’s story, but discovered so much more after reading this book. The episode just scratches the surface and there is so much more in the book itself, Stephen and I could have talked for hours. This podcast wouldn’t exist without the generous support of our Patreons If you are enjoying the podcast, and want to continue to hear it p

  • Confrontation at the Stößensee (171)

    02/04/2021 Duration: 43min

    In April 1966, a state-of-the-art Soviet aircraft, the Yak-28P crashed into the British Sector of West Berlin. This intelligence gift to the Allied forces resulted in a tense confrontation with the Soviet forcesWe speak with historian Bernd von Kostka of the Allied Museum in Berlin-Dahlem who has researched this story for his upcoming book Capital of Spies: Intelligence agencies in Berlin during the Cold War which he co-authors with Sven Felix Kellerhoff.The book will be published in October in the US and in December 2021 in GB.This podcast wouldn’t exist without the generous support of our Patreons so if you are enjoying the podcast, you can show your support via a small (or large) monthly donation. Plus you will get the sought after CWC coaster as a thank you and bask in the warm glow of knowing you are helping to preserve Cold War history. Just go to https://coldwarconversations.com/donate/If a financial contribution is not your cup of tea, you can still help us by leaving written reviews wherever you list

  • A 22 year old Briton working in East Germany (170)

    27/03/2021 Duration: 01h02min

    We speak with Chris Summers who as a 22 year old was sent by his employers to East Germany in a Ford Escort to install British factory machinery. He provides us with interesting insights into life in the provinces of the GDR. Long term listeners of the podcast will recognise one of Chris’s colleagues was Tim, husband of Antje who was our guest in episode 82 “A Cold War Romance” available here https://coldwarconversations.com/episode82/Chris was also sent to Poland, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia where he tells what he saw and experienced in the latter half of the 1980s.    If you can spare it I’m asking listeners to contribute at least $3 USD per month to help keep us on the air (larger amounts are welcome too) plus you can get a sought after CWC coaster as a monthly financial supporter of the podcast and you bask in the warm glow of knowing you helping preserve Cold War history.Just go to https://coldwarconversations.com/donate/I am delighted to welcome Chris Summers  to our Cold War convers

  • Bonus - Soviet Tours (169)

    24/03/2021 Duration: 39min

    Soviet Tours is a Berlin-based tour operator focussed on off-the-beaten-path destinations across the globe. Their core area, as the name suggests, lies mainly in and around the former USSR. From the mystic forests of Central Siberia to the austere peaks of the High Caucasus, from the scorching deserts of the Soviet Stans to the windswept steppes of Southern Russia. We talk with the founder of Soviet Tours Gianluca Pardelli. He is a Berlin-based photojournalist, adventurer and travel author who is fascinated by that enigmatic country that was once known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  If you are enjoying the podcast, you can show your support via a monthly donation of $4, £3 or €3 via Patreon, plus you will get the sought after CWC coaster as a thank you and bask in the warm glow of knowing you are helping to preserve Cold War history. Just go to https://coldwarconversations.com/donate/If a financial contribution is not your cup of tea, then you can still help us by leaving written reviews whereve

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