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Profs and Pints DC presents: “Uncovering the Cold War,” a look at discovered truths about the decades-long superpower conflict and what they tell us about its potential return, with James Hershberg, professor of history and international affairs at George Washington University and former director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Cold War International History Project.
Russia’ invasion of Ukraine and resulting tensions with the United States and NATO have aroused fear of revival of the Cold War. But what, exactly, does that mean?
Although the Cold War dominated world politics and attention for more than four decades after World War II, much of what transpired during that prolonged conflict –especially at the highest classified level, in the espionage realm, and on the communist side–was unknown at the time to most residents of the nations involved. It took the opening of long-shuttered communist archives after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the CIA’s subsequent release of records from that period to bring hidden truths and concealed events of that conflict to light.
Come learn what the investigations of such records has revealed and tell us about our current period of international tension from Dr. James Hershberg, who has been at the forefront of efforts to uncover the hidden history of the Cold War, a post-World War II period of nuclear standoff, ideological rivalry, and regional and revolutionary conflicts often fought by proxies for the superpowers involved.
What Dr. Hershberg has learned in the course of his research might be more relevant now than ever. After all, Russian President Vladmir Putin has lamented the collapse of the U.S.S.R has “a genuine tragedy” and “the greatest political catastrophe” of the last century, suggesting that the expansionist Russia of recent years might not be done flexing its muscle. His actions, and NATO’s response, raise a question: Is a new Cold War in the offing?
In addition to digging through the Cold War era archives around the world (communist, non-communist, and nonaligned), Dr. Hershberg has interviewed Fidel Castro and other key players from the era. He has written books and articles presenting new evidence on the atomic bomb and the nuclear arms race, the Vietnam War’s secret diplomacy, the frightening brinkmanship of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Sino-Soviet split, and more. He’s distinctly qualified to discuss the nuclear superpower rivalry’s origins, crises, sudden, dramatic, and unexpected demise, and its rebirth.
He’ll take questions and tell you anything you have ever wanted to know about the Cold War, from beginning to end, but were afraid to ask. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in. Bring proof of vaccination as it may be required in response to local infection rates. The Bier Baron will be requiring event attendees to purchase a minimum of two items, which can be food or beverages, including soft drinks.)
(Image: A still from a 1951 instructional film for schoolchildren on atomic blast survival produced in co-operation with the Federal Civil Defense Administration and in consultation with the National Education Association.)