Teenager Mathias Rust tested Soviet air defenses on May 28, 1987
The Cold War was still in full force in 1987, when West German teenager Mathias Rust decided he was going to help us all just get along. Not only did he escape a death and fail to start World War III, but his stunt actually smoothed the way for an eventual easing of global tensions. Rust, 19, was determined to prove that the "evil empire" really wasn't all that evil and that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was truthful in his desire to end the Cold War. His plan: Violate the most heavily defended airspace in the world, get to Moscow in one piece, and show the world the softer side of the Soviets.
U.S. and Soviet spooks studied paranormal powers during the Cold War
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is well known for pushing the limits of science and technology to give the U.S. military an edge. Less well known is the agency's Cold War-era probe into how paranormal phenomena might be used by the U.S. to get information about the former Soviet Union. Working with think D.C. tank RAND Corporation, DARPA found out that paranormal research by the Soviets focused on physical science and engineering, whereas American counterparts tended to be psychologists exploring the human mind. A 1973 study "Paranormal Phenomena" concludes that "the U.S. has failed to ... advance our understanding of paranormal phenomena."
US planned nerve gas attack on Australian troops in the 1960s
The U.S. planned to gas Australian troops in experiments with two of the most lethal nerve gases ever formulated. Top secret files have revealed that even as the world was outlawing chemical weapons at the height of the Cold War, Washington sought Canberra's permission to test sarin and VX gas in remote Queensland. The documents reveal that American military scientists wanted to bomb and spray 200 "mainly Australian" troops with the deadly nerve agents in the 1960s. The request was rejected by PM Harold Holt, at the time when the two nations were involved in Vietnam War and in plans for war against China were drawn up.
A Brief History of the Cold War - Chronology of key Cold War events
1947: The Truman Doctrine: The US offers assistance to countries threatened by communism. US Secretary of State George C. Marshall reveals a huge aid program for the reconstruction of WWII-torn Europe (Marshall Plan). 1948: The Communists take power in Czechoslovakia. 1948: The Soviet blockade of West Berlin begins on June 24. Supplies are transported to the city by the Americans in the Berlin Air Bridge action. On May 12, 1949, Stalin ends the blockade. 1949: On August 29, the Soviets blow up their first atomic bomb. After winning the civil war, the Communist Party under Mao Zedong sets up the People's Republic of China.
Collecting Cold War era military aircraft cockpits
Ask most people what they would anticipate to find on a farm and even those with vivid imaginations are not to say "military aircraft cockpits". But these Cold War relics have taken over part of Roy Jarman's farmyard. There is a cockpit from a Vulcan bomber and another from a Harrier jump jet. There are other planes too, and his obsession extends further to military vehicles, with a troop carrier and a jeep. His collection of 8 cockpits, flying suits, military vehicles and other militaria from the Cold War represents half a century of military build-up between the US and the Soviet Union.
Cold War photographer Burt Glinn dies at 82
Burt Glinn, a photographer and former president of the Magnum photo agency, died aged 82. He was one of the first Americans to join Magnum, the group of photographers that included Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson. A spontaneous photographer, he covered some of the greatest events of the cold war. On New Year`s Eve 1958, he flew to Cuba to see Fidel Castro's weeklong trek across the island to take power in Havana. In 1959, late to a photo shoot, he took his best-known photo, an unconventional one of the Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev showing the back of his head as he stares up at the Lincoln Memorial.
Unknown Waters: Voyage beneath the ice pack to map the Siberian continental shelf
"Unknown Waters" tells the 1970 voyage of submarine Queenfish on a pioneering dive beneath the ice pack to map the Siberian continental shelf. The U.S. did so as part of a secret effort to prepare for Arctic submarine operations and to win any military clash with the Soviet Union. The Queenfish, under the command of Captain Alfred S. McLaren, mapped thousands of miles of uncharted sea floor. It often had to maneuver between shallow bottoms and ice keels extending down from the surface over 100 feet. The Queenfish at one point became stuck in a dead end. "I still dream about it every other week," said McLaren.
Those exposed to military chemical and biological warfare tests walk among us
Thousands of people who may have been exposed to chemical or biological agents during military tests remain unaccounted for, and the Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs have given up on tracking them down. Some tests were done as part of a weapons testing program "Project 112." In others, individuals were exposed to hazardous substances such as blister, nerve, and biological agents as well as LSD and PCP. The DOD had named 5,842 service members and 350 civilians as having been exposed during Project 112 alone. It is figured that tens of thousands may have been exposed over the last 60 years.
Over 100 Bulgarian ministers were spies for the country's secret police
Over 100 Bulgarian ministers, who came to power since the fall of communism, had served as agents of the secret police, a historical commission declared. Bulgaria has been among the last former Soviet bloc countries to deal with its communist past and in 2006 approved a law to reveal members of its Cold War spy agency, Darzhavna Sigurnost. Last year the commission said President Georgi Parvanov and over 100 deputies chosen to parliament since 1989 had been agents. Now the commission issued a list of 107 former agents. Some names, such as former PM Zhan Videnov, are on both lists, since he was a deputy before becoming a minister.
Cold War test victims got 3 million pounds
Former British servicemen who were guinea pigs in chemical weapons' trials during the Cold War won 3M pounds (8,000 pounds each) in compensation and an apology. The 360 surviving ex-military personnel were submitted to tests at the Porton Down chemical warfare facility. Defence minister Derek Twigg said it was a "full and final settlement." Offered bonuses such as extra leave, the servicemen were tested with nerve gases like Sarin and CS gas, thinking they were assisting find a cure for the common cold. Twigg said the tests "ensured that the UK had the defensive and deterrent capabilities required to respond to the threat of the use of chemical weapons".
An Overview Of America`s Involvement In The Vietnam Conflict
The American involvement in Vietnam in the period from 1961 through to 1968 was the culmination of a number of factors which allowed the U.S. to take part in one of its costliest, most tragic, and most unpopular wars in its entire history. The US' first involvement in the Indo-China region dates back as early as 1941 in WWII where it provided aid to the Vietminh. American activity increased in the 1950's, however, where Cold War politics and the "containment" policy as laid down in the Truman doctrine of 1947 dictated that America should help the French re-establish themselves in their colony of Vietnam, in light of the "loss" of China to communism.
Secret Fort Miles SOSUS base played a vital role in the Cold War
It was so secret and essential to the Cold War effort, the U.S. Navy did not reveal the highly classified SOSUS program until the early 1990s. Yet for decades, one of the SOSUS listening stations was based right under Cape Region residents` noses at Fort Miles. Some area residents knew the Naval Facility (NAVFAC) in Lewes, at what is now Cape Henlopen State Park, was a listening station, but they had no idea naval personnel were listening for Soviet submarines as the first line of defense against nuclear war. SOSUS, the U.S. Navy Sound Surveillance System, has been called one of the most impressive engineering feats of the early Cold War.
Secret Cold War-era doping programme run by communist state
Ota Zaremba won a gold medal in weightlifting at the 1980 Moscow Olympics and set several world records. These days, he can barely lift his body out of bed. The 49-year-old Zaremba says his health was ruined by steroids, which he and hundreds of other athletes in this former Communist country were given during the 1970s and 1980s. Worried that the masterminds of the doping programme remain in top sports positions, authorities here have begun investigating the vast system run by the totalitarian regime in the former Czechoslovakia.
Civil Defense insignia -- Cold War relic gets splashy redesign
The stark insignia of civil defense - a C and D forming a red circle in a white triangle on a blue disk - died after a long eclipse. It was 67 years old and lived in the mind's eye of anyone who remembers air-raid drills, fallout shelters and metal drums filled with what had to be the stalest biscuits in the world. Its demise was announced by the National Emergency Management Association. The CD insignia, which the association called "a relic from the Cold War," was eulogized by Richard Grefe.
Did Cold War Secrets Die in Bulgarian Suicide
In a cold war-style drama in one of the last places in Europe to tackle its Communist-era legacy, the sudden death of the man in charge of a key Bulgarian secret police archive that was about to be declassified has created an uproar. Bozhidar Doychev had served since 1991 as director of the National Intelligence Service archive, which is believed to contain info about the shooting of Pope John Paul II and the assassination of the Bulgarian dissident, Georgi I. Markov. Mr. Doychev was found dead at his desk Wednesday, shot in the head with his own pistol. Only on Friday did officials confirm the report, calling his death a probable suicide.
When the Soviet Union nearly blinked - Hungarian uprising in 1956
The 1956 Hungarian uprising was a key moment in the Cold War, showing both the aspirations of the peoples of Eastern Europe but also the will of the Soviet Union not to lose its grip. It also showed the limits of Western power. Despite a desire to "roll back" the Soviet Empire, Dwight D. Eisenhower did not help the Hungarians, in order to avoid the risk of war. And it coincided with another crisis, Suez, the effect of which on Soviet actions has always intrigued historians. Secret documents that have emerged since the end of the Cold War show that the Soviet intervention was not the cut-and-dried decision that it appeared at the time.
Rebel who led group that assassinated ex-dictator Somoza dies
A leftist guerrilla who led the group that assassinated Nicaraguan ex-dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1980 died in Argentina at age 65. Enrique Gorriaran Merlo, once one of Latin America's most wanted men during the Cold War conflicts of the 1970s and 1980s, had recently embraced democracy and announced he would run for president of Argentina. In interviews, Gorriaran described how his group plotted Somoza's assassination in a bar in Nicaragua, shadowed the exiled ex-dictator for weeks in Paraguay, and gunned him down in his Mercedes on September 17, 1980.
Armed resistance to Franco - Underground guerilla armed
Very little has been written about the scale of the armed struggle against Franco following the Spanish civil war. It was and still is known to few. Silence has been drawn over the fighters, for a variety of reasons. According to Franco's Civil Guard Lieutenant-General Camilo Alonso Vega - who was in charge of the anti-guerrilla campaign for 12 years - banditry (the term the Francoists used to describe the guerrilla activity) was of "great significance" in Spain, in that it "disrupted communications, demoralised folk, wrecked our economy, shattered our unity and discredited us in the eyes of the outside world".
Noam Chomsky explains The Cold War 1940-1989
Noam Chomsky explains the nature of the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union before its collapse in 1989. Despite much pretence, national security has not been a major concern of US. The historical record reveals this clearly. Few serious analysts took issue with George Kennan's position that "it is not Russian military power which is threatening us, it is Russian political power" or with President Eisenhower's consistent view that the Russians intended no military conquest of Western Europe. US dismissed possibilities for peaceful resolution of the Cold War conflict, which would have left the "political threat" intact.
The Hungarian Revolution against the Communist dictatorship
When the Soviet Army swept into Eastern Europe towards the end of the Second World War, they did not liberate peasants. In 1956 a general strike was declared against the Communist dictatorship, and workers' councils sprung up across Hungary. Budapest prison was captured and all the political prisoners were released. The people soon heard all the stories of terrible conditions, of torture that had been inflicted. Fighting between the insurgents and the Russian Army increased in intensity. In cities the workers armed themselves and fraternised with the troops, but were crushed by Soviet tanks.
New military organization planned in Japan around 1950 (Article no longer available from the original source)
Former senior Imperial Japanese Army officers planned to establish a new military organization in Japan after the country lost WWII, U.S. documents showed. They came up with the idea on their own around 1950 with the consent of the General Headquarters of the Allied Forces, but U.S. leaders and then Japanese PM rejected it. Former Lt. Gen. Torashiro Kawabe and others thought up the plan to form a new Japanese army and having former Gen. Kazushige Ugaki as commander in chief. In 1951, Japan's underground government decided to make Ugaki the commander in chief and Kawabe the chief of staff of the force Kawabe had proposed, says the memo.
The Eagle has... broken -- Seen UFO
The first men on the Moon had to use a pen to fix a broken switch on their lunar module and return home to Earth. According to the documentary "Apollo 11: The Untold Story", the US was so eager to beat the Soviet Union to putting a man on the Moon, it launched its historic 1969 mission before it was completely prepared. Richard Nixon even prepared an address to the nation announcing the deaths of Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins. Aldrin revealed how the astronauts saw an unidentified flying object during the flight as well, adding that Nasa covered it up for thirty years.