In an unstable world, how do you know who your friends and enemies are?

You don’t.


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 for economic dominance were all key spheres of the Cold War, although they were just a few elements of a very complex global puzzle. More so than the great battles 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 middle years of the Cold War tells the story of the great clash between the Communist Soviet Union and the capitalist USA. It considers events in an intriguing age for international relations. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, there were calls to avert the risk of another nuclear near-miss, and this did lead to an improvement in the super-power relationship; however, underneath this improvement, there remained great tension. To further complicate the situation, China and Europe both became increasingly powerful and assertive. In the world of the 1960s and 1970s, it was hard to know who to trust and who to fear.

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The topics in the book include:

  • The Vietnam War and its impact on the Cold War
  • Decolonization and the opportunities that arose from it for the super-powers
  • The growing power of Western Europe and a major change in Czechoslovakia
  • The historic changes in the relationship between Mao Zedong’s China and the super-powers
  • The super-powers as friends? Détente, Richard Nixon, and Leonid Brezhnev
  • The major nuclear agreements and the arms race
  • How serious tensions emerged once more

The approximately 90-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.


Do you know who the second longest serving Soviet leader was?

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Leonid Brezhnev was the dominant force in Soviet politics during the middle period of the Cold War and led his country at the same time as Nixon, our previous Cold War People subject. We have previously seen the rise and fall of detente during Brezhnev’s years in power, and how in the 1970s, under Brezhnev’s watch, the USSR became more involved in military endeavors in other countries. Today, we will see the wider changes he undertook in Soviet society, and reflect on his economic legacy, something that would be key as the 1980s wore on.

rss feed | iTunes | Cold War page | Other listening options

Hope you enjoy!

George Levrier-Jones



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