Cold War Events

The AIDS Conspiracy: KGB and Stasi Disinformation

October 28, 2014 // 3:00pm5:00pm
History and Public Policy Program
In the second half of the 1980s, the KGB conducted an international disinformation campaign accusing the U.S. of having artificially constructed the virus that causes AIDS at the Pentagon’s laboratory for biological warfare in Fort Detrick, Maryland. On the basis of his research with scholar Christopher Nehring in the archives of the former communist secret police in Bulgaria, Germany, and the Czech Republic, Douglas Selvage will present new details about the disinformation campaign and the key supporting role played by the KGB’s “fraternal organ,” the East German Ministry of State Security or Stasi.

Sino-Soviet Relations and the Dilemmas of Socialist Bloc Cooperation: Czechoslovaks in Shanghai, 1956-57

October 27, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
In contrast to traditional approaches to Sino-Soviet relations that focus on ideological conflict and the role of powerful personalities such as Chairman Mao and Nikita Khrushchev, Austin Jersild draws on the experiences of advisers in China in the 1950s to place the Sino-Soviet alliance and split within the broader history of socialist bloc cooperation and the Cold War competition with the United States.

Empowering Revolution: America, Poland, and the Moderates who Ended the Cold War

October 20, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
Based on significant new international research, Domber reassesses the nature of Western influence on the end of the Cold War, highlighting where Soviet reforms created space for change in Eastern Europe and rejecting claims of any direct U.S. responsibility for the collapse of Communism.
Photo: Wenceslas Square, 17 November, 1989
Webcast

Promoting Free Media: Informing the 1989 Velvet Revolution and the Challenge Today

October 16, 2014 // 2:00pm6:00pm
History and Public Policy Program
Czechs and Slovaks regained their freedom in November 1989 through non-violent protests in Prague, Bratislava, and other towns of then Czechoslovakia. Their Velvet Revolution climaxed a decade of renewed civic challenges to a repressive Communist regime that began with Charter 77 dissidents including Vaclav Havel and accelerated after 1986. Twenty five years after the Velvet Revolution, Europe today is whole and free, but democracy and prerequisite independent media are on the decline in much of the former Soviet Union and elsewhere. RFE/RL, now operating from Prague, VOA, Radio Free Asia, Middle East Broadcasting Network, and Radio Marti, all publicly funded by the U.S. Congress, work to redress the information deficit.

Film Screening: "Liberty Train, Next Stop Freedom"

October 10, 2014 // 3:00pm6:00pm
History and Public Policy Program
"Liberty Train, Next Stop Freedom" portrays the dramatic events surrounding the mass occupation of the West German embassy in Prague by East German refugees seeking permission to leave for the West. Negotiations between East and West Germany in late September 1989 led to their release and their travel by special trains from Prague to West Germany via the GDR on a chilly night at the end of September. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with two Germans who grew up and experienced the revolutionary changes of 1989-90 in East Germany.

"The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union"

October 03, 2014 // 10:00am11:30am
Kennan Institute
Serhii Plokhii presented his latest book, "The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union." Using recently declassified documents and original interviews, Plokhii examines the events leading up to the collapse of the Soviet Union. He reveals that it was largely inter-republic disunity and not American influence that led to the surprising dissolution of one of the world's two superpowers. Plokhii provides new insight into the events leading up to 1991, which continue to reverberate to the present day.

Art Exhibit: "From War to Victory: Poland 1939-1989"

October 01, 2014 // 9:00amOctober 10, 2014 // 5:00pm
History and Public Policy Program
“From War to Victory: Poland 1939-1989” features exhibitions from the Institute of National Remembrance that tell the history of Poland from the Second World War through the end of the Cold War. This exhibit will be on display in the Memorial Hallway of the Woodrow Wilson Center from 1 October-10 October, is open to the public and admission is free.
Webcast

Eastern Europe’s Most Difficult Transition: Public Health and Demographic Policy, Two Decades after the Cold War

September 23, 2014 // 9:00am11:00am
Global Europe Program
Dr. Murray Feshbach was one of the first scholars to point out the devastating political and socio-economic effects of state communism’s failure to seriously address decaying public health and environmental conditions. His pioneering work remains relevant. More than two decades after the close of the Cold War, many health and demographic indicators in the former Warsaw-Pact states (including Russia) remain surprisingly inferior to those of the neighboring states of Western and Southern Europe.

Lessons of Iran-Contra: Behind the Scenes of Ronald Reagan's Iran Gambit, 1985-86

September 22, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
Based on intensive research into once-classified records, as well as interviews and other accounts from Americans, Iranians and Israelis, Malcolm Byrne will revisit the Reagan administration’s controversial initiative toward Iran in 1985-1986. What was its real purpose? Who were the Iranians involved and what did they want? What was Israel’s role? What are the long-term lessons and impact of the operation?

From Free Europe to Free Poland: Free Europe Committee in the Cold War

September 05, 2014 // 9:00amSeptember 06, 2014 // 6:00pm
Cold War International History Project
A symposium and workshop, to be held in Gdansk in September 2014, will assemble senior and junior European and American scholars working on Western policy toward Eastern Europe during the Cold War, individual Free Europe Committee projects, and reactions and countermeasures of the Communist regimes. The Gdansk meeting will aim to catalog and synthesize existing research and stimulate additional collaborative scholarship on the impact of a major Cold War instrument of American soft power.

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