In February 1946, officials in Washington asked the U.S. embassy in Moscow why the Soviet government was failing to cooperate with American plans for the postwar international order. On the receiving end was George Kennan, a career foreign service officer who had risen to be the second-ranking American official in Moscow. Kennan replied with an extraordinary 5,300-word cable later dubbed the “long telegram.”
As football returns to living rooms across the United States, it’s worth remembering that the sport has an international appeal for many who have spent time in this country. Fifty years ago, one such foreign fan led a revolution from Tanzania.
by Matthew Tribbe This month marks the forty-fifth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. To understand Apollo’s place in history, it might be helpful to go back forty-four rather than forty-five years, to the very first anniversary of the event in 1970. That July, several newspapers conducted informal surveys that revealed large majorities of […]
by Charley Binkow How does a nation fight a war of ideas? When the battlefield is popular opinion, how does a state arm itself? In 1949, the United States found its answer. Their weapon: the airwaves. The CIA launched Radio Free Europe in 1949 with the hopes of encouraging Eastern Europeans to defect from the […]
by Charley Binkow With Russian troops on the ground in Crimea, Ukraine, it’s tempting to see parallels with Soviet invasions of the past. As the unique and pressing situation in the Ukraine develops, can historians look to history for guidance? Central European University’s Open Society Archives gives us a window into a similar invasion in Hungary […]
My mother, Rae Straw, and her friend Pam had an odd assignment in 1979 for two travel agents from Houston: selling the Soviet Union to American tourists. For travel agents, such familiarization or “FAM” trips were a regular occurrence, but going to the Soviet Union during the preparations for the 1980 Moscow Olympics was a unique experience.
Last week scholars from around the world gathered at the UT Institute for Historical Studies for a conference on Chinese diaspora and the Cold War. The conference was organized by UT historian Madeline Hsu and her colleagues in Hong Kong and the US. You can read a summary of the research they presented here.
In the months following his resounding electoral triumph over Barry Goldwater in November 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson made momentous decisions to escalate U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. Most consequentially, he ordered the bombing of North Vietnam: first retaliatory strikes following a National Liberation Front attack on the U.S.
Before 1948, the Cold War was largely confined to Europe and the Middle East, areas that both U.S. and Soviet leaders considered vital to their nations’ core foreign policy objectives after the Second World War. By 1950, however, the Cold War had spread to Asia.
Historians won’t be giving up their visits to archives or their days picking notebooks and letters out of boxes any time soon. But the path to those boxes has changed dramatically as institutions and history enthusiasts have been digitalizing and posting their treasures online.