Cold War

Cold War: Cuban Missile Crisis

Mark returns to a discussion of the Cold War and the origins of the conflict between superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union. He pays special attention to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. This was the two-week confrontation that kept the world on edge and in fear of escalating tensions that could lead to nuclear war. U.S. President John F. Kennedy was in a stand-off with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Kennedy’s goal: make Moscow remove nuclear-armed missiles from the island nation of Cuba.

Above photo: CIA reference photograph of Soviet medium-range ballistic missile (SS-4 in U.S. documents, R-12 in Soviet documents) in Red Square, Moscow.

President Kennedy signs Cuba quarantine proclamation

ST-459-10-62 23 October 1962 President Kennedy signs the Proclamation for Interdiction of the Delivery of Offensive Weapons to Cuba. White House, Oval Office. Photograph by Cecil Stoughton, White House, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

The Cold War in Europe with Steve Bourque

In continuing the Cold War Series, Steve Bourque joins Mark to discuss his experiences in the U.S. Army during those years. We get the perspectives of a young enlisted man stationed in western Europe during the Cold War. We also get to look at the situation from another vantage point—when he returned later as an intelligence officer. The tactical approach to keeping Europe safe and how American and NATO forces counter a threat from the Soviet Union during those uncertain times come to light in the discussion.

Photo: Steve Bourque on the Czechoslovakian border during the Cold War

About Steve Bourque

Steve Bourque, author of The Allied War Against France, is professor emeritus at the Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas. He served for twenty years in the U.S. Army in Germany and the Middle East. Dr. Bourque received his Ph.D. from Georgia State University. He has taught history at Cal State University and the School of Advanced Military Studies at the Command and General Staff College.

Soviet Naval Challenge in the Cold War : Part II with Reid Senter

Mark returns to the Cold War with Part II of the Soviet Naval challenge, this time covering surface operations. His guest is Reid Senter, a retired U.S. Navy Captain who served in the Mediterranean. They discuss various aspects of serving in an Amphibious Ready Group, facing the Soviet Navy whose main interest was protecting the “Motherland,” and the Walker treachery. Reid points out that Soviet ships were always “bristling” with extra arms and equipment, possibly needed because of questionable reliability. He also gives a tip of the hat to the professionalism and quality of the young men serving in today’s Navy.

Photo above: Reid Senter served aboard the USS Inchon, an amphibious assault ship of the Iwo Jima class.

Captain Reid Senter was commanding officer of the USS Reid (FFG-30), a guided missile frigate.

The Soviet Naval Challenge in the Cold War with John Lindstedt

Mark speaks with John Lindstedt, who was a junior officer serving aboard a nuclear submarine in the Cold War years. They discuss the qualifications and training involved, the constant readiness, and the differences between U.S. and Soviet vessels. They also highlight the ever-present threat of the Soviet Navy in the Mediterranean aided by the treachery of John Walker and his career of passing classified information to his masters in the Kremlin.

Photo: This is the Ben Franklin class submarine-nuclear that John was on, the USS Kamehameha SSBN-642. (King Kamehameha IV was King of Hawaii when the Civil War started and proclaimed Hawaii’s neutrality in August 1861.)

Kate Tietzen on Iraq: From Ancient to Modern Times

With the Middle East at the forefront of international news, Mark revisits his conversation with Kate Tietzen about Iraq, from ancient to modern times. They discuss the conflicts, sometime resolutions and the evolution of the country. Her in-country research delves into the many facets of the Iraqi people, the religious factions and the nation’s friends, foes and allies.

Photo: British Troops in Baghdad in June, 1941.

About Kate Tietzen

Kate Tietzen is a PhD candidate in Military History at Kanas State University. Her dissertation explores the Iraqi-Soviet relationship in the Cold War, analyzing this dynamic through the Iraqi point of view by using Ba’athist regime documents housed in the United States. She seeks to demonstrate the complexity of the Cold War in the Middle East, and to draw out the legacies of this relationship in the post-Cold War era.

As she noted in an article she wrote for the Hoover Institution, where she is a Silas Palmer Fellow:

“My dissertation analyzes the formation, development, and continuation of the Soviet-Iraqi military and diplomatic relationship. I argue this relationship was neither one-sided nor heavily in favor of the Soviets, but was rather fluid and dynamic, creating much frustration for the Soviets. In addition, the Cold War dynamic between the Soviets and the Iraqis did not cease with the fall of the U.S.S.R. in 1991; instead, the relationship was only renewed and even strengthened as the Americans assumed hegemonic status. With these Iraqi documents, this dissertation seeks to reveal how the political, diplomatic, and military conditions created in the Cold War did not simply cease after 1991. Therefore, the historical legacies and consequences of the Soviet-Iraqi military and diplomatic relationship can help inform scholars, policymakers, and contemporaries about the Middle East today.”

Kate received her B.A. in History and Political Science in 2012 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2014 she received her M.A in history from Clemson University under the guidance of Dr. Edwin Moïse. While her M.A. thesis examined the Falklands War 1982, in the fall of 2014 she pivoted towards the Middle East upon arrival at Kansas State University.

Admiral Gorshkov

Mark returns to the Cold War in this interview with Admiral Thomas Brooks about his co-written book, Admiral Gorshkov: The Man Who Challenged the U.S. NavyThey discuss the man who led the Soviet Union Navy for 30 years. He survived Stalin’s purges, fought the Nazis in WWII and engaged the American Navy in a tactical chess match until his retirement in 1985.

NOTE: In our discussion, Admiral Brooks makes reference to the naval officer, strategist and teacher, “Mahan.” Alfred Thayer Mahan (right) was perhaps the most influential Naval theorist of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In his published lectures, The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660–1783, he argued for the paramount importance of sea power in national historical supremacy.

Alfred Thayer Mahan

Alfred Thayer Mahan, 1840-1914

Cold War In The Middle East

Cold War studies often focus on events in Europe. However, the Cold War quietly and sometimes loudly raged in the Middle East. Numerous political, religious and ethnic factions struggled for power while the U.S. and the Soviet Union maneuvered to exert influence and control in the region—whether behind the scenes or overtly.

This week on History with Mark Bielski, Kate Tietzen returns to discuss the turmoil in the Middle East during the difficult years following WWII to the final days of the USSR. Mark first interviewed her for his podcast, “Iraq: Ancient Country, Modern Conflicts,” when they discussed the conflicts, sometime resolutions and the evolution of the country. Her in-country research delves into the many facets of the Iraqi people, the religious factions and the nation’s friends, foes and allies.

Photo: Saddam addresses state television, in January 2001

Saddam Hussein and Hafez al-Assad of Syria at an Arab Summit in Baghdad in November 1978

Saddam Hussein and Hafez al-Assad of Syria at an Arab Summit in Baghdad in November 1978. His son, the current ruler is behind to Saddam’s right.