Operation Crossroads and the Bikini

In June of 1946 the US Navy tested two atomic bombs on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in order to test how well a navy would withstand an atomic attack – or were they projecting force to intimidate the USSR?  With 46,000 men involved and 90 surplus ships as …

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Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” Speech

…Or more accurately, the “Sinews of Peace” speech.  In 1946 Winston Churchill, along with President Truman, traveled to Westminster College in Fulton, MO to deliver a speech.  This speech came on the heels of George Kennan’s “Long Telegram” and basically served as a commitment from Great Britain to the idea …

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George Kennan and the Long Telegram

George Kennan was a real cold warrior – at least at the very beginnings of the Cold War.  His Long Telegram and “X Article”/”Sources of Soviet Conduct” were key documents of the period that greatly influenced thinking.   In this episode I talk a little bit about Kennan’s career and …

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On Guerrilla Warfare by Mao Zedong

This 1937 book is one of the most important philosophical works of the Cold War in my opinion because Mao Zedong breathed life into communism as an ideology by making it more recognizable to the third world – replace the bourgeoisie with the landlord and imperial occupiers and the urban …

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You and the Atom Bomb by George Orwell

Today we’re looking at an essay from October of 1945 by George Orwell called “You and the Atom Bomb”.  In this essay Orwell speculates on the future of the world and gets a few things right and is off target on a few other things, either way it’s good insight …

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The Division of Germany

Today we’re looking at the division of Germany immediately following WWII.  This is significant because, well, it will ultimately end up as the major fault line and focal point of the Cold War.  Germany will truly be where East meets West in the world going forward. In this episode we …

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Katyusha

The story of one of the most famous songs of Russia (and the world, really) is very similar to that of Alexander Nevsky.   This song is remarkably unpolitical, which leads us to ask if it’s a sign of things to come for the USSR – will they abandon revolutionary …

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Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Cold War

We’re right around the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki…and every year at this time the moral debate of whether or not it was ok to nuke Japan in order to (potentially) forego an invasion of mainland Japan and save hundreds of thousands of American lives. …

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Bretton Woods Conference and Agreement

As the war was winding down, members from all 44 allied nations met in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to discuss the postwar economic order.   Over the course of three weeks, they hammered out the details on creating the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the precursor to the World Bank (the …

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The Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project was a top secret collaboration between the US government and the civilian scientific community to take the theory of an atomic bomb into reality.   Spoiler alert – it worked.  This program was one of the most remarkable scientific achievements in history, especially considering it was pulled …

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