The US vs the USSR.

From 1945 until 1991, the world’s two superpowers played a dangerous game of nuclear brinkmanship that very nearly brought human civilisation to an end. How did it start? Why did it start? How did it end? Did it end? These are the questions we are exploring in detail. 

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Cold War #246 – Reza Shah (Operation Ajax part IV)

Cold War #245 – The Strangling of Persia (Operation Ajax part III)

Iran’s first attempt at democracy ended when the British and the Russians decided amongst themselves to divide up Iran in 1907 and supported the new Shah’s desire to crush the parliament. But the Iranians fought on, exiled the Shah and replaced him with his 11 year old son. Then they hired an American banker to clean up corruption. The British and Russians didn’t like that, so they had him thrown out as well.

Cold War #246 – Reza Shah (Operation Ajax part IV)

Cold War #244 – Operation Ajax (II)

The Shah continued selling the family jewels to the British and Russians, including the entire Iranian tobacco industry. He was eventually assassinated and replaced by his son, who had learned nothing. In 1901 he sold William Knox D’Arcy the entire Iranian oil industry. This shaped all of subsequent Iranian history.

Cold War #246 – Reza Shah (Operation Ajax part IV)

Cold War #243 – Operation Ajax (I)

In this episode, we delve into the history of Iran, focusing on the US’s role in ending democratic rule in 1953 and installing Mohammad Reza Shah’s dictatorship, a fact well-known in Iran but only admitted by the US in the 90s. This event led to the Islamic Revolution of 1979, headed by Ayatollah Khomeini, and fueled anti-Western sentiments across the Middle East. We discuss the significant figure of Mohammad Mossadegh, and the history of Iran under the Qajar shahs, the stagnation and foreign exploitation during this period, and the controversial Reuter concession of 1872, which was a significant surrender of Iran’s industrial resources to foreign control, but was quickly cancelled due to widespread opposition.

Cold War #246 – Reza Shah (Operation Ajax part IV)

Cold War #242 – Psychological Warfare

The trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and the concept of psychological warfare. The Rosenberg trial, which began in March 1951, was a sensational case involving accusations of espionage for the Soviet Union. The couple, tried alongside fellow Communist Morton Sobell, were defended by Manny and Alexander Bloch. The trial involved key testimonies, including that of David Greenglass, Ethel’s brother, who admitted to passing on atomic information. The Rosenbergs were found guilty and sentenced to death. The trial was heavily influenced by the ongoing Cold War tension and the fear of Communist threat.

We also discuss the creation of the Psychological Strategy Board (PSB), designed to coordinate Cold War psychological warfare and propaganda. The PSB worked on creating a narrative to justify prosecuting the Rosenbergs, though this narrative faced opposition. The PSB was later dissolved and its functions transferred to other organizations. The use of psychological operations continues today, conducted by the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the United States Agency for Global Media.

Finally, the we explore the ‘spiral of silence’ theory by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, a concept explaining how individuals often conform to majority opinion due to fear of isolation. This concept is particularly relevant in the context of mass communication and public opinion.

Welcome To The Cold War Podcast!

This show is different from most other history podcasts in the following ways.

1. There are TWO OF US. This is a conversation, not a lecture.

2. It’s LONG FORM. Which means we will take hundreds of episodes to tell a story. If you want a quick overview, this is not the show for you!

3. It’s NSFW. While we take the history very seriously, we also know that learning is more effective when you’re having fun. Sometimes (okay, quite often) “having fun” for us translates as bad language and dirty jokes. Let’s face it – this history is violent and sexy. This is NOT a child-friendly show, nor is it safe for work.

4. We CHARGE MONEY for the latest episodes. We do this for a living and put a lot of time and effort into making our content. So you can listen to the first couple of years worth of episodes for free, but the more recent episodes (produced this year) require a paid subscription. Feel free to listen to the free ones and then, if you like them, register to listen to the rest.

Learn more about the show and hosts.



Listen Now!

The first couple of hundred episodes of the show are available for free. That’s a taste-tester of a couple of hundred hours. If you listen to those and decide you want to hear more, than please register to listen to all of the premium episodes.

You can check out our free episodes on Apple and Google devices by clicking the links below

(or searching for them in the app of your choice).

Or go here to listen in your browser.

You can also find one of our miniseries (where we focus on a particular topic for multiple episodes).



★★★★★ in Apple Podcasts by Kingstonnnnnn from the United Kingdom on September 15, 2022 

I clicked on this podcast out of curiosity. I was interested in learning about Israel and fell into a giant hole. I previously listened to The Caesar, Alexander and renaissance podcasts, so, I was familiar with Ray and Cam’s format. However, how these two can make history so fun and exciting Is an art form, I was not even remotely interested in the Cold War but thanks to these two, I will now need to find books about Oppenheimer, Stalin, the atomic bomb and operation Alsos. You guys make me curious and make me question the way I view things. Keep up the good work.
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History, mockery and occasional drinking

★★★★★ in Apple Podcasts by kristinsg from Norway on September 30, 2019

These folks actually make history podcasts worth listening to. A great mixture of good historical analysis and phrases like “took a dump on the whole agreement” or having “testicular fortitude”. Love it. And love the fact that they are looking at things from several sides, not the usual “the Soviets were evil and hated freedom, but America won the war and saved the day”.


★★★★★ in Apple Podcasts by Renato.uwu from United States of America on October 5, 2019

This is my favorite History podcast. I love the dynamic and structure of the episodes. My favorite episodes so far have been the mini Fidel Castro bio and the Philippines one. They were both incredible and I also really liked the episodes on the Cambridge 5. The whole show has been very eye opening and I really appreciate the comedy as well as the work Cam puts into the show and the ocasional looks into the future provided by Ray. My one small critique is that I think they’ve taken to long to outline WWII (which is not my favorite thing to study) but I’ve managed to stick with it and am very happy I did because I’ve learned a lot that was never mentioned in school. Even so I can’t wait till I get to the end of WWII hopefully by the end of the week. Thank you very much Cam and Ray for being my teachers and for the free student subscription it means a lot 🙂 <3 !

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