Search Results for cold war

The Felix Bloch Affair: An Unsolved Case of Cold War Espionage

In 1989, French counterintelligence agents watched Felix Bloch as he dined in Paris with known Soviet spy “Pierre Bart.” Bloch placed a black bag under the table, which he left behind as he exited the restaurant. Felix Bloch, former Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, was one of the highest ranking Foreign Service […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
60 Minutes in Central America: The Politicization of Development During the Cold War

Complex geopolitical realities, poor leadership, and economic dysfunction characterized the Cold War in Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. USAID (United States Agency for International Development) played a crucial role in strengthening the political and economic institutions of these countries. Its ability to work and achieve success in Cold War conditions was nothing short of extraordinary. […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
“Not Treated as Beyond the Pale:” Cold War Nuclear Options to Respond to a Soviet Bloc Invasion

The mid-nineteen seventies are often considered a time of détente (the easing of tensions) between the United States and the Soviet Union. Arms control treaties and agreements were signed limiting the kinds of weapons of mass destruction that could be used in war. For the first time in many years, the possibility of global nuclear […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
Cold War Cover Stories: The U-2 Incident

On May 1, 1960, at the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union brought down an American U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers.  The U.S. government’s first reaction was to construct a believable cover story to conceal its program of high-altitude surveillance missions over the Soviet Union. Powers began his flight from […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
Soft Power in a Cold War: Challenges of Reaching out to the Soviets

The “Iron Curtain” was a term used to denote the efforts of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to block its citizens from contact with the West. It persisted from the end of World War II until the end of the Cold War. Throughout those decades, the U.S. endeavored to breach the Curtain and reach […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Foreign Service, Public Diplomacy, Russia/Soviet Union Tagged , |
“The Cold War Was Truly Over” — The 1986 Reykjavik Summit

After the 1985 Geneva Summit, where President Ronald Reagan and leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, met for the first time, the Reykjavik Summit, held on October 11-12, 1986, presented an opportunity to try to reach an agreement between the two sides on arms control. While Gorbachev wanted to ban all ballistic missiles and limit the talks […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Human Rights, Military, Russia/Soviet Union Tagged , , , , |
George Kennan — Containment and the Cold War

George Frost Kennan was, and still remains, a very controversial and legendary figure in American diplomatic history. As a historian, political scientist, and diplomat, Kennan focused most of his career on Russian culture and history. Widely regarded as one of the most brilliant diplomats of his day, he was collegial with his staff and, despite […]

 Taking the Chill off the Cold War: The First Reagan-Gorbachev Summit

The Geneva Summit of 1985 was the first meeting between President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev to talk about the arms race, particularly the Strategic Defense Initiative, and to establish personal relations between the leaders of the world’s superpowers.  Held November 19, 1985 at a chateau owned by the Aga Khan, the first meeting went over […]

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Frenemies: Warm Encounters with Cold War Soviets

Just because the war between the two superpowers was cold didn’t mean that relations between U.S. and Soviet diplomats had to be frosty. While there were certainly some testy times, U.S. diplomats report that their relationships with Soviets were sometimes warm, funny, and congenial — especially if the Soviet officer was trying to convince them […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Espionage, Humorous, Russia/Soviet Union Tagged , |
Returning the Crown of Saint Stephen to post-Cold War Hungary

For centuries, it was the national symbol of a nation. For decades, it was kept in Fort Knox for safekeeping. The Crown of Saint Stephen dates back to the year 1000, when Stephen, a devout Christian and the patron saint of Hungary, became King and Pope Sylvester II gave him the crown as a gift. From […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Europe, Human Rights, Public Diplomacy, Russia/Soviet Union Tagged , , |