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Books, Defectors, and Song — The Cuban Missile Crisis, as Seen from Moscow

The Soviet Union, in Churchill’s famous words, was a “riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”; as such it made it extremely difficult for outsiders – including foreign intelligence services — to separate fact from fiction. The United States had a range of sources to gather intel:  spies, bugs, publicly available information like brochures and […]

Keeping the Skies Open: Defending the Open Skies Treaty

The checkered history between Russia and the United States was arguably the most transformational relationship for world events in the second half of the twentieth century. The ideological struggle between communism and capitalism waged under the dark cloud of potential nuclear annihilation led to the development of several arms control agreements like the SALT (Strategic […]

Students & Educators

Welcome! Explore our rich collection of primary sources by America’s diplomats that can inspire and support a variety of projects. Before diving directly into research, take time to familiarize yourself with what we do.    “I had never thought of diplomats as a source until I met you. Thank you for opening my eyes to […]

National History Day Resources

Welcome! Explore our rich collection of primary sources by America’s diplomats that can inspire and support a variety of projects. Before diving directly into research, take time to familiarize yourself with what we do.    “I had never thought of diplomats as a source until I met you. Thank you for opening my eyes to […]

Negotiating the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT)

Due to rising concern about radioactive fallout from increasingly big nuclear tests underwater, in space, in the atmosphere and underground, as well as concern over the burgeoning arms race between NATO and Warsaw Pact countries, the US, UK, and USSR decided to negotiate a test-ban treaty. These concerns became more pronounced after the United States […]

Two Shades of Red: the Sino-Soviet Split

After the 1949 defeat of the Chinese Nationalists at the hands of Mao Zedong’s People’s Liberation Army, the newly-proclaimed People’s Republic of China (PRC) established friendly relations with the Soviet Union. The fact that the Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union shared a Marxist-Leninist ideology kept the two countries […]

Stop the MADness — Arms Control and Disarmament

The end of World War II ushered in an era of intense arms competition between the Soviet Union and the United States. Both sides produced nuclear armaments and other weapons of mass destruction at increasing rates as the bipolar world order evolved, finally achieving a state known as “mutually assured destruction” or MAD. President Eisenhower […]