Cold War: Stories from the Big Freeze

Cold War: Stories from the Big Freeze

United Kingdom

Bridget Kendall presents an oral history of the early Cold War. Using interviews collected by the BBC for this series, Bridget traces the crucial turning points of the early Cold War.

Episodes

The Cuban Missile Crisis  

In 1962 the world came closer to nuclear war than ever before or since, as the United States and the Soviet Union confronted each other over the presence of Soviet missiles on the island of Cuba. In a series tracing decisive moments in the early years of the Cold War, Bridget Kendall hears the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the words of four people who were there. Featuring Ciro Bianchi, Frances Glasspool-Matlock, John Guerrasio and Sergei Khrushchev. Readings by John Guerrasio Producer: Martin Williams.

The Berlin Wall Crisis  

As part of her series tracing the crucial turning-points of the early Cold War, Bridget Kendall tells the story of the crisis that led up to the building of the Berlin Wall. By 1961, so many were fleeing communist East Germany that the country was in crisis. So the government built the Berlin Wall to stop them. Would-be escapees were regularly gunned down. Bridget hears the stories of three people who successfully fled East Berlin - one before the Wall went up, two who pulled it off even with the Wall in place. And she finds out why they wanted to leave East Germany in the first place. With: Leslie Colitt, Gisela Nicolaisen, Joachim Rudolph Producers: Phil Tinline and Sabine Schereck.

The Congo Coup  

In a series tracing decisive moments in the early years of the Cold War, Bridget Kendall hears the story of the independence struggle in the Congo in the words of people who were there. Featuring Jacques Brassinne, Onadikondo Wung'a Lomami and Georges Nzongola-Ntaalaja Producer: Martin Williams.

The Hungarian Revolution  

In October 1956, Hungarians marched peacefully in support of reform. Within hours, the protests had become a revolution. Soviet tanks were sent in, but when they withdrew Hungarians appeared to have triumphed - until the tanks came back. Bridget hears the stories of two students and a young journalist. All three were in the street outside the national radio station when the conflict with the secret police turned the protests into a revolution. And she hears what happened when one of them took up a gun. With Peter Pallai, Matyas Sarkozi, Sandor Vaci Producer: Phil Tinline.

Khrushchev's Thaw  

In a series exploring decisive moments in the early years of the Cold War, Bridget Kendall brings to life the personal recollections of those who were there when the death of Stalin in 1953 dramatically changed life in Soviet Russia and ushered in a brief political thaw in the decades long dictatorship of Soviet Communism. Featuring Vladimir Ashkenazy, Tatiana Baeva, Sergei Khrushchev, Vladlen Loginov and Alexei Shipovalnikov. Producer: Martin Williams.

The Iran Coup  

In a series tracing the decisive moments in the early years of the Cold War, Bridget Kendall hears from three people who witnessed the fall of Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. Featuring Farhad Diba, Stephen Langlie and Homa Sarshar Producer: Martin Williams.

The East German Uprising  

On June 17 1953, East German workers went on strike and demanded free elections. Within hours, Moscow ordered its tanks to crush the rebellion. Bridget hears the story of that day, as experienced by a teenage boy, a young worker, a trainee lawyer, an English military driver - and a girl who was looking forward to her seventh birthday party. With Hardy Firl, George Flint, Carla Ottmann, Joachim Rudolph, Alfred Wegewitz Producers: Phil Tinline and Sabine Schereck.

The H-Bomb  

In a series tracing the decisive moments in the early years of the Cold War, Bridget Kendall tells the story of the development of the hydrogen bomb. Featuring Kenneth Ford, Sergei Khrushchev and Matashichi Oishi. Readings by Sadao Ueda. Producer: Martin Williams.

McCarthyism  

As part of her series tracing the crucial turning-points of the early Cold War, Bridget Kendall explores the personal impact of the McCarthyite Red Scare in the America of the 1950s. As she finds, the Cold War fear of 'Reds' was driven not just by the spectre of Stalin's Soviet Union but by the communist revolution to America's west, across the Pacific. As angry voices asked 'Who Lost China?', people with strong associations with China became objects of suspicion - particularly if they were left-wing intellectuals. Investigation and long years of hearings followed. All this had huge, lasting impact on these people - and on their children. And Bridget hears too from the daughter of a civil rights activist and communist, who went 'underground' for five years, when she was a young child, before the case against him finally fell away. With Kathryn Jackson, David Lattimore, Sian Shaw. Producer: Phil Tinline.

The Korean War  

As part of her series tracing the crucial turning-points of the early Cold War, Bridget Kendall revisits the Korean War. This was the moment the Cold War turned hot, and brought fears of a new global conflict. But in this programme Bridget focuses on the fate of Koreans driven from their homes and divided from other family members, often permanently. And she hears from two people who were rescued by a remarkable act of military compassion - the Heungnam Evacuation of December 1950. Tens of thousands of Korean refugees were allowed onto American, Japanese and South Korean ships and sailed to safety. As she hears, conditions on board were grim. But as the ships landed in Busan, in the days immediately before Christmas, the evacuation came to be known as the 'Christmas Miracle'. Nonetheless, the permanent division of families wrought by the war persists even today. With: Lee Hoo-ja, Sohn Dong-hun, Kim Taesung, Norman Deptula Producer: Phil Tinline.

The Fall of Shanghai  

In a series tracing the decisive moments in the early years of the Cold War, Bridget Kendall tells the story of the fall of Shanghai in 1949, a pivotal event which helped pave the way for the emergence of a new Communist power in Asia - the People's Republic of China. Featuring Eddy Hsia, Betty Barr Wang, George Barr Wang and Liliane Willens. Producer: Martin Williams.

The Berlin Blockade  

As part of her series tracing the crucial turning-points of the early Cold War, Bridget Kendall tells the story of the Berlin Blockade - with the help of three people who were lived under the Blockade for a year. In 1948, Stalin was alarmed and frustrated by moves by America, Britain and France to forge the Zones of Germany that they occupied into a new state - what would become West Germany. But the Western Allies had a weak point - Berlin was surrounded by the Soviet Occupation Zone, and within the city, Britain, America and France each ran a sector. So Stalin retaliated by placing the Western sectors under Blockade in a bid to drive the Western Allies from the city. Would the West help the stranded Berliners? How could it, without risking World War Three? Would it leave them to their fate - either starvation or Soviet occupation? Bridget Kendall hears from three young Berliners of the time about how the hungry city held its breath. And how the West scrambled to establish what had been thought impossible: an Airlift to feed well over two million people a day. And she explores how the eventual against-the-odds success of the Airlift had a consequence Stalin hadn't intended - driving the Western nations together into a more cohesive military bloc to oppose Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe. With: Jürgen Blask, Gisela Bilski, Gerhardt Bürger Producers: Phil Tinline and Sabine Schereck.

The 1948 Election in Italy  

In a series tracing the decisive moments in the early years of the Cold War, Bridget Kendall tells the story of the divisive 1948 general election in Italy. Featuring Giorgio Napolitano, Sergio Romano and Aldo Tortorella. Readings by George Rossi. Producer: Martin Williams.

The Czech Coup  

In a series tracing the decisive moments in the early years of the Cold War, Bridget Kendall tells the story of the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1948 - and hears from three people who lived through it. At the beginning of 1948 Czechoslovakia had been the only parliamentary democracy left in East Europe. But within a couple of months it was part of the Soviet bloc. Not through the invasion of Soviet tanks -that would come later, in 1968 - but through the actions of local Communists, with the influence of the Soviet Union looming in the shadows. Featuring Karel Janovicky, John Palka and Sylva Simsova. Music: Variations on the Theme of Brigadier H. Smith by Karel Janovicky Producer: Martin Williams.

The Greek Civil War  

In a series tracing the decisive moments in the early years of the Cold War, Bridget Kendall tells the story of the Greek Civil War - and hears from three people who were caught up in it. In 1944 Greece was liberated from Nazi occupation. But the German retreat left a vacuum and instead of peace the devastated country descended into civil war. The Greek civil war grew out of a left- right split in Greek society. But it also marked a shift - from the Allies' war against Nazi fascism to a fight to stop a Communist takeover: the prelude, in other words, to the long battle between East and West over the decades to come, about who would control Europe. Featuring John Clarke MBE, Zozo Petropoulos and Nicholas Rizopolous. Readings by Mia Soteriou. Producer: Martin Williams.

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