Do you know why the world came to the brink of nuclear war?

Two words – ‘Cold War’.

The Cold War was international affairs for the second half of the 20th Century. Nuclear weapons testing, civil wars in all corners of the globe and the race foreconomic dominance were all key spheres of the Cold War, although they werejust a few elements of a very complex global puzzle. More so than the greatbattles between Carthage and Rome in Ancient times or the Napoleonic Wars, the Cold War defined our world. But, there was one key difference between the Cold War and earlier major wars. Due to advances in technology and communications, the Cold War touched most countries on earth.

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This introduction to the early years of the Cold War is the debut book from George Levrier-Jones. He tells the story of the great clash between the Communist Soviet Union and thecapitalist USA. George’s fast-paced, concise writing style will allow you to quickly learn about the key events of the Cold War, and to find out how the world came to the cusp of nuclear annihilation.

Get the Book on Amazon

The topics in the book include:

  • The origins of the Cold War and why the USSR and USA emerged from World War 2 as super-powers
  • How the Soviet Union and the USA quickly went from war-time allies 
  • to enemies
  • The key changes in post-war Europe
  • The Berlin blockade and the building of the Berlin Wall
  • Events in East Asia - the Chinese Civil War and why the Korean War became integral to the Cold War
  • Nuclear weapons development
  • Uprisings and revolutions in Eastern Europe in the 1950s, including the Hungarian revolution
  • The most dangerous event of the early Cold War years, the Cuban Missile Crisis

The approximately 80-page book is the perfect complement to the Cold War History audio series that is available as part of the ‘History in 28-minutes’ podcasts.

Hello All!

John F Kennedy, a man who surely needs no introduction, is the last person we look at in this series of Cold War People.

Episode 7 - JFK.jpg

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We shall be looking at one of the most iconic of US presidents, a sometimes controversial figure who inspired hope in so many. He also died in the most tragic of circumstances.

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See you soon for our series on the Spanish Civil War.

George Levrier-Jones

AuthorGeorge Levrier-Jones
Episode 6 - Khrushchev.jpg


Nikita Khrushchev was the leader of the Soviet Union for nearly a decade in the years after Stalin’s death.

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Khrushchev played a major role in some of the most important Cold War events during his time in power in the 1950s and 1960s. The key years of the nuclear arms race, the building of the Berlin wall, and the Cuban Missile Crisis all happened during his time as Soviet leader. But, he had a bloody and intriguing past before then.

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See you next time,

George Levrier-Jones

(Above image courtesy of Keizers)

Hello All,

In the latest episode of Cold War People we look at an important and controversial figure, and the leader of East Germany for decades after World War 2. Walter Ulbricht.

Episode 4 - Ulbricht.jpg

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He was closely involved in the events that led to the building of the Berlin Wall, and was the dominant figure in East German life throughout the 1950s and 1960s. He became an important and influential Communist not just in East Germany, but also the wider Communist world.

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George Levrier-Jones

PS - the next episode is on Dwight Eisenhower..

AuthorGeorge Levrier-Jones

European revolutions, episode 6 of's series on the Cold War.

Episode 6 - Berlin Wall 1.png

We’re going to pick up on the story of many countries in a Continent that had become divided by an Iron Curtain. The Continent had the USA’s most important and strongest allies, and was the area of many of the USSR’s key allies. It was of course Europe. We left the story of Europe with one of the most dramatic events of the Cold War - the Berlin blockade. This time, we will be back in Berlin for another shocking event.

And previously we also saw another very topical event for this episode – how the Soviets were invited to East Germany to end an internal uprising against the government. Something more brutal was to happen very soon..

Happy listening from the team at!

George Levrier-Jones

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AuthorGeorge Levrier-Jones

In the northern reaches of our world, summer is well under way. So what better way to enjoy it than to read a bumper edition of your favorite history magazine, History is Now? The new issue features a wide range of articles, including the tragic story of Mary Todd, the wife of Abraham Lincoln.

The new issue of History is Now magazine is out now.

To find out more, take up a free trial of the magazine for up to 2 months and download your free copy of our interactive digital magazine for iPad, iPhone and Android today!

Click here for information on the iPad/iPhone | Click here for information on Android


Here is what our editor has to say…

It has arrived! Summer is here and to celebrate we have a bumper issue for you that features a wide variety of amazing events and topics in history. Perfect while you’re on the beach.

We start with a fascinating look at the life of Mary Todd, Abraham Lincoln’s wife. She suffered great loss and in many ways her life was like a Greek Tragedy. We’re then going to keep the magazine’s international focus and look at a very personal memoir from somebody who visited Berlin in the days after the Berlin Wall fell down in 1989. The article features a history of the Berlin Wall too. After that, we have the tale of the travelling executioner. Sound odd? Well it is an intriguing tale of how the state of Mississippi executed people in the 1940s and 1950s, with an even more intriguing executioner.

The focus then remains on American history with an article about the death of Mormon Saint Joseph Smith in 1844, followed by a look at the history of the naming of the US Civil War. There were a variety of debates until very recently around the name for the conflict that this article considers. The Civil War plays a part in the article after that too as we take a rather unique look at slavery in the Northern states of America.

Moving on, we arrive to a conflict between Pancho Villa of Mexico and the American Army, specifically General Pershing’s Punitive Expedition of 1916. To complement that piece, we include a podcast on World War II hero Dwight D. Eisenhower. The penultimate article considers how European and American fur-traders interacted with third gender Indigenous people in the Pacific Northwest region. This well-researched article is certainly thought provoking. And finally, in our photo-essay, we take a personal look at how the Vikings have influenced a modern-day woodcarver.

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With all of that, I’m sure that you will enjoy this month’s History is Now magazine.

Click on one of the links below to enjoy the magazine today for free…

Click here for information on the iPad/iPhone | Click here for information on the Android


George Levrier-Jones

“How can you have a war without a war?”, a listener asked me a few months ago. “If the Cold War was a war, can’t any type of diplomatic activity against another country be called a cold war?”

“Touché”, I said, in part being polite and in part as they had a point.

The Cold War is a misnomer if ever there was one.

The battle for the world

The Cold War was probably the most intense, long-term battle that the world has ever known. Only, in ways different to other battles.

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This battle, this war, was between the USA and the USSR and lasted from the end of World War 2 until (about) 1991. The USA emerged from the ashes of World War 2 as the world’s supreme power, but the Soviet Union, although greatly weakened by that war, was the second most powerful. And these two powers had opposing systems – democracy and dictatorship, capitalism and Communism. This great difference is perhaps most famously (and most partisanly) summed up by Ronald Reagan, in his ‘Evil Empire’ speech in 1983:

“They preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth. They are the focus of evil in the modern world.... So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride, the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.”

On re-reading that, this led me to a different conclusion.

The term Cold War isn’t a misnomer – what made this Cold War different was its size, reach, and the ideological differences of the two countries that opposed each other. The two powers never came to direct blows, in large part due to the advent of nuclear weapons, but they did battle each other in all corners of the world on an unprecedented scale.

Do the Berlin Airlift, Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Wall, Vietnam War, Korean War, nuclear weapons, the SALT negotiations, the Renewed Cold War, and the Prague Spring ring any bells? The Communists and the US faced off against each other in all of these battles, but were ultimately able to avoid war, although equally able to avoid peace.

The Cold War was so much more than a war though. It also involved humor. Well, a bit.

But the Cold War wasn’t all serious

There were indeed some humorous incidents, like the time that Chinese leader Mao, met Soviet leader Khrushchev in the swimming pool, or the time that an 18-year-old German pilot, Mathias Rust, managed to evade Soviet defense systems and land a small aircraft in central Moscow.

But, the scariest and funniest (if you like really dark humor) events of the Cold War were the near nuclear misses. Nuclear weapons radar systems were not terribly advanced, shall we say, meaning that the super-powers came to the brink of launching weapons against each other on far too many occasions. We can and should learn something from all this, right?

Well, let’s hope modern world leaders have read up on their history. And that they think the term Cold War isn’t a misnomer. Better still (if rather cheekily), that they’ve listened to our podcasts..

Who was the greatest figure involved in the Cold War?

We may be asking the impossible here. There are so many choices for so many reasons, but do let us know what you think below!

George Levrier-Jones

This is the first in a regular series of (sometimes) humorous introductions to topics in history as part of the ‘117-second History’ blog. The Cold War History series of podcasts is available by clicking here. Episode 1 in that series is available below.

Hi All,

Our book sales have been going better than we could have imagined since we launched our free Cold War history book - thanks! If you still haven't downloaded it, hurry! It is only FREE until January 30th. The link is here:

Get the Book - Amazon US | Amazon UK

Cold War History - To the brink of nuclear destruction – From World War 2 to the Cuban Missile Crisis – Part 1: 1945-1962 (Required History)

I´d also like to thank our friends at who helped promote our book. That site has a range of free Kindle books with daily updates.

George Levrier-Jones

PS - only a few days until our new series of podcasts!