Cold War

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.