Events

The AIDS Conspiracy: KGB and Stasi Disinformation

October 28, 2014 // 3:00pm5:00pm
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
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
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
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
"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.

A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida

October 06, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
N. D. B. Connolly explores the history of real estate development and political power by offering an unprecedented look at the complexities of property ownership during the early and mid-twentieth century.

The Kennan Diaries

October 03, 2014 // 3:00pm5:00pm
The Kennan Diaries reveals the personal life and the political, philosophical, and spiritual concerns of America’s most noted diplomat and foreign policy strategist, George F. Kennan. Edited by historian Frank Costigliola, The Kennan Diaries is a landmark work of profound intellectual and emotional power.

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

October 01, 2014 // 9:00amOctober 10, 2014 // 5:00pm
“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.

International Affairs and Transnational Relations

September 29, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Acclaimed Harvard historian Akira Iriye will reflect on the study of history today, examining recent historiographic trends and phenomena like “motion,” “interconnectedness,” and “hybridity” in an effort to move away from a Euro-centric approach.

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

September 22, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
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?

Pages

Experts & Staff

  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • James Person // Deputy Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • Pieter Biersteker // Editorial Assistant
  • Laura Deal // Catalog Specialist
  • Charles Kraus // Program Assistant
  • Evan Pikulski // Program Assistant
  • Roy O. Kim // Program Assistant