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Cold War Conversations

History Podcasts

Listen to those that experienced the Cold War and those who are fascinated. Featuring many untold stories of the military and civilian experience never recorded before.

Listen to those that experienced the Cold War and those who are fascinated. Featuring many untold stories of the military and civilian experience never recorded before.


Manchester, United Kingdom


Listen to those that experienced the Cold War and those who are fascinated. Featuring many untold stories of the military and civilian experience never recorded before.








The KGB tried to recruit me (129)

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 later might find themselves in an important position,...


Experiencing the Cold War via virtual reality (128)

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 the drama of the division of Berlin to those who are able to...


US Army Intelligence Analyst (127)

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 of the little know history of USMLM during this period and...


Reporting the 1989 Romanian Revolution (126)

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 assessments and protective gear of the present day. If you are enjoying...


A British Journalist under Stasi Surveillance (125)

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 reviews in Apple podcasts or share us on social media. By...


Britain & The Bomb (124)

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 contribute $3 USD per month to help keep us on the air...


A UK Journalist in the Soviet Union & GDR (123)

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 in the East Berlin Cathedral choir for four years,...


A 23 year old nuclear missile commander (122)

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 single, variable-yield thermonuclear warhead with an explosive...


The Last Days of East Germany (121)

Michael Paterson first visited East Germany just after the fall of the Berlin Wall and provides a vivid account of its subsequent decline and fall during the move to reunification with West Germany. Michael is a military historian, author, researcher and illustrator. He began his career with the military magazine 'Battlefields Review' as a writer and illustrator, before working in the printed books department at the Imperial War Museum, London. Michael has lectured frequently on military...


Alan - Working in the GDR and the Soviet Union (119)

Alan Baker worked and studied in the GDR and the USSR from the 1970s through to the end of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the Russian Federation as we know it today. In Moscow, Alan had the opportunity to live and study in the well-known Moscow State University as well as the opportunity to attend the 54th anniversary of the Russian Revolution Parade in 1971 in Moscow. In addition, Alan was awarded a Peace Scholarship to study in Leipzig at the Karl-Marx-Universität and worked for...


Warsaw Bureau Chief for Time Magazine 1981-83 (118)

Richard Hornik was the Warsaw Bureau Chief for Time Magazine from 1981-1983. He carried out numerous interviews with Solidarity Free Trade Union leader Lech Wałęsa including his last interview before martial law was declared in December 1981. He shares the stories of 1980s Poland as well as the interviews he carried out with the Solidarity leadership and the leaders of Communist Poland. If you are enjoying the show please leave a written reviews in Apple podcasts or share us on social...


Special Forces Berlin - Clandestine Cold War Operations of the US Army's Elite, 1956-1990 (120)

James Stejskal served for 23 years with US Special Forces, including two tours in Berlin. Special Forces Berlin was a small detachment of 100 highly trained soldiers who, should hostilities break out, were to wreak havoc behind Warsaw Pact lines. The US government only acknowledged its existence in 2014 and John has written an incredible story of how these unsung heroes would have fought and died on what was effectively a one way mission. If you are enjoying the podcast please leave a...


The Human Factor: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Thatcher, and the End of the Cold War (117)

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 -including the division of Europe- removed. We are here with Archie Brown, Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of the British Academy, and an International...


Boarding Soviet Ships with the Danish Navy (116)

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, Denmark’s position within NATO, as well as their defence plans, should the Cold War have turned hot. If you’re new here, you’ve come the right place to listen to...


Taking A Holiday in Cold War Albania (115)

In early 1989 attention being paid to Albania in England by the English media because the England football team had recently travelled to Tirana for a World Cup qualifying game. Looking for somewhere unusual to holiday Mike Innes went on 10 day tour to Albania. Arriving by air he travelled by coach, staying in the hotels which catered to foreigners and favoured party members. If you are enjoying the podcast please leave a written reviews in Apple podcasts or share us on social media. By...


Life as a British Soldier in West Berlin (114)

Anthony enlisted in the British Army in 1987 and after 9 months he was posted to West Berlin. He tells the story of life as a Private in Berlin from the drinking (and the fighting) to the urban warfare training in Ruhleben & Dough Boy City. We also hear of the reality of knowing that should the Cold War have turned hot his life expectancy would have been in hours. It’s also a tale of tragedy and the forgotten casualties of the Cold War where injury and death could come even in peacetime....


Railway Encounters in Eastern Europe (113)

Charlie Flowers was 18 in 1988. He travelled by train across a divided Eastern Europe that was starting to show signs of the changes that manifested themselves in 1989. He shares stories of the interesting encounters he had along the way. Now I’d like to thank some of our recent 5 star reviewers in Apple podcasts. Qwertykevboy, Fizzlepop202, simmovic, Dais28, Tim of Townsville and especially Marrdave who said “This is easily the best historical podcast out there…” I’m not sure I agree, but...


Nuclear War in the UK (112)

For almost five decades, the United Kingdom made plans for a nuclear attack that never came. To help their citizens, civil servants and armed forces prepared those in power a variety of booklets, posters, and how-to guides. Taras Young is a researcher & writer who has produced a book Nuclear War in the UK detailing much of this Cold War ephemera such as the infamous Protect and Survive guide, as well as fascinating lesser-known materials prepared for the United Kingdom Warning and...


Serving in the British Army Intelligence Corps during the 1960s & 70s (111)

Harry served as a soldier in the Intelligence Corps in Germany in the 1960s and 1970s. His role was that of an Intelligence and Security Operator, focused on the identification of foreign and other malign activities which might undermine the effectiveness of the UK's military presence in the country. Accordingly, he had the experience of a range of security investigations and close liaison with the West German civil and military security authorities. Now I’m sure you are enjoying your...


Bonus - Dr Strangelove Film Screening in a Nuclear Bunker (110)

Today is a short bonus episode I recorded at the weekend while at a film showing of Dr Strangelove in a former UK Regional Seat of Government Bunker in Cheshire... The Hack Green Bunker is my local Cold War museum and a kind financial supporter of the podcast too so if you are ever in the Cheshire area of the UK I highly recommend a visit. 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...