#145 – The Black Hand

While the Jews were trying to get close to Mussolini, the Arabs modelled themselves after Hitler. The Husseinis, led by Amin al-Husseini, aka Hajj Amin, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in 1935 set up the Palestinian Arab Party which had its own youth corp, al-Futuwwa, similar to the Hitler Youth and was even officially called the “Nazi Scouts”.

#144 – The 1929 Riots

In the early 1920s, violence between Muslims and the Jews continued to escalate. Because they didn’t trust the British to defend their interests, the newly formed (and illegal) Jewish self-defense organization, the Haganah, was formed.  Churchill came to visit Palestine – and made things worse.  Without a doubt, the British military continued to favor the Arabs. General Sir Walter Congreve, commander of British forces in the Middle East, said in October 1921: “In the case of Palestine [the sympathies of the Army] are rather obviously with the Arabs,… the victim[s] of the unjust policy forced upon them by the British Government.”

#143 – Fascist Jews

In the early 1920s, violence between Muslims and the Jews continued to escalate. Because they didn’t trust the British to defend their interests, the newly formed (and illegal) Jewish self-defense organization, the Haganah, was formed.  Churchill came to visit Palestine – and made things worse.  Without a doubt, the British military continued to favor the Arabs. General Sir Walter Congreve, commander of British forces in the Middle East, said in October 1921: “In the case of Palestine [the sympathies of the Army] are rather obviously with the Arabs,… the victim[s] of the unjust policy forced upon them by the British Government.”

#142 – The Unjust Policy

In the early 1920s, violence between Muslims and the Jews continued to escalate. Because they didn’t trust the British to defend their interests, the newly formed (and illegal) Jewish self-defense organization, the Haganah, was formed.  Churchill came to visit Palestine – and made things worse.  Without a doubt, the British military continued to favor the Arabs. General Sir Walter Congreve, commander of British forces in the Middle East, said in October 1921: “In the case of Palestine [the sympathies of the Army] are rather obviously with the Arabs,… the victim[s] of the unjust policy forced upon them by the British Government.”

#141 – Dirty Idle Wasters

When the British finally captured the Middle East from the Ottomans in October 1918, under the command of General Edmund Allenby, with the support of TE Lawrence and his Sharifians, Hussein and Faisal, the British immediately tried to walk back on the Sykes-Picot agreement.  They figured they did all the hard work, so fuck the French. 

#140 – The Rothschilds And Zionism

The Rothschilds And Zionism – The Balfour Declaration took the form of a letter, dated November 2, 1917, from the foreign secretary to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild, a British banker and zoologist, who headed Britain’s Zionist Federation.

#139 – The Balfour Declaration

Things in Palestine really started to heat up in 1908 – the year of The Young Turk Revolution. It was around this time that the violence between the Jews and the Arabs started to escalate beyond what was mostly localised troubles over property rights. And it took on a nationalist feel. The Jews started to arm themselves. The governor of Jerusalem, Azmi Bey, wrote: “We are not xenophobes; we welcome all strangers. We are not anti-Semites; we value the economic superiority of the Jews. But no nation, no government could open its arms to groups … aiming to take Palestine from us.”

In 1915, Britain and France sat down to work out who was going to control what in the Middle East after the war – what became known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement. By 1917, when the Allies were bogged down on the Western Front, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration. They hoped it would bring the American Jews to their cause, would help bring the United States into the war and keep Russia involved – and would stop the Jews from allying themselves with Ze Germans.

#138 – Intervening In Foreign Elections

Americans were SHOCKED to discover that Russia had interfered in their 2016 Presidential elections. How dare they interfere with the democratic process of a sovereign nation! Of course, those same Americans probably have no idea that their own country has, according to the research done by my guest today, done the same thing over 80 times since the end of WWII.

Today I interview Dov H. Levin Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Hong Kong about his research on what he calls his Partisan Electoral Intervention by the Great Powers dataset (PEIG). It shows how many times the USA and USSR/Russia intervened in foreign elections in the years 1946 – 2000.

#137 – The Ultimate Goal

Quite soon after the first Zionist emigration to Palestine, tensions between the Jews and the Muslims started to erupt in small scale violence. Zionist settler Ahad Ha’Am wrote that the other Zionist colonists “behave towards the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, trespass without justification, beat them shamefully without sufficient cause and then boast about it.” Another early settler, Vladimir Dubnow, wrote in October 1882: “The ultimate goal … is, in time, to take over the Land of Israel and to restore to the Jews the political independence they have been deprived of for these two thousand years.… The Jews will yet arise and, arms in hand (if need be), declare that they are the masters of their ancient homeland.” And the first violence erupted at the very first Zionist colony, Petach Tikva. It wasn’t based on religious or political or racial differences – it was over land. Villagers who had worked the land had it taken away from them. They saw it as Russian colonialism.

#136 – British Interests

One fascinating witness of early zionism is Sir Ronald Storrs, who, in 1917 became, in his own words “the first military governor of Jerusalem since Pontius Pilate”. In 1940 he wrote a terrific little book, “Lawrence of Arabia, Zionism and Palestine.” This episode explain the roles of Chaim Weizmann, Herbert Samuel and World War I on Britain’s support for the zionist agenda in Palestine. The British were eager to get the Jews to help them defeat the Germans and Ottomans. They also hoped that supporting the zionist agenda would help them secure war loans from the United States – and bring the US into the war. They also hoped that putting a bunch of grateful Jews under a British protectorate in Palestine would help them secure the eastern approach to the Suez Canal, the jugular vein of British commerce.

#135 – Baksheesh

By 1881, on the eve of the start of the Zionist Jewish influx, Palestine’s population was 457,000—about 400,000 of them Muslims, 13,000–20,000 Jews, and 42,000 Christians (mostly Greek Orthodox). In addition, there were several thousand more Jews who were permanent residents of Palestine but not Ottoman citizens. The overwhelming majority of the population was Arab, about 70 percent rural. Most of the Jews and Christians lived in Jerusalem.

But then foreign Jews started buying land in Palestine. When the first Jews started to arrive from Russia, the governor of Jerusalem was ordered to bar Russian, Rumanian, and Bulgarian Jews from landing in Jaffa and Haifa. The following year he was instructed to stop the sale of state lands to Jews, even if they were Ottoman citizens. But they kept coming anyway.

Many of the Zionists had been lead to believe the land was mostly empty. Many people believe that still today. Of the Palestinians, many Zionists believed they were “primitive, dishonest, fatalistic, lazy, savage”. The Zionist leader Moshe Smilansky, in 1914 wrote:
“We must not forget that we are dealing here with a semi-savage people….”

The cause of the Zionists was supported by certain Western leaders, especially those who were Christian Zionists. Christian Zionists believe that the gathering of the Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus.

 

#134 – Zionism

The idea of Jews returning to Palestine had been around since they were evicted by the Romans, but in a modern sense it really started to take shape in the late 19th century after the pogroms in Russia. On this podcast we talk about the vision some of the early proponents of Zionism had, including Leo Pinsker, Moses Hess, and Theodor Herzl.

#133 – The Creation Of Israel

Although you may not think of Israel as part of the Cold War paradigm, it’s played such a huge role in American foreign policy, and we have to cover it. It’s also played, and continues to play, a huge role in the story of oil, which is, of course, a huge part of the...

#132 – A LAND WAR IN ASIA

Kim's "invasion" of the South gave the US the pretext they needed to ramp up military spending via NSC-68 and to support Rhee directly and indirectly by committing one of the classic blunders: never get involved in a land war in Asia. Admiral Forrest Sherman, Chief of...

#131 – THE UN v NORTH KOREA

WWII had created a strong US economy, mostly for military spending coming out of the public treasury. Lots of industrialists made a fortune during that period. And it was going away after the war. In the aftermath of World War II, US armed forces had not merely been...

#130 – The China Lobby

Americans were told that the invasion by North Korea was a total surprise. It was positioned as another Pearl Harbour. But this isn’t exactly true. They must have known it was coming and when it was coming. They just chose to ignore it. Why? Who stood to benefit from...

#129 – Who Started The War?

In the South, despite claims of "freedom", the US administration shut down the KPR, the ‘Korean People’s Republic’, a popular political party lead by Yo Un-hyung, and closed down the most prominent Seoul newspaper that was sympathetic to the KPR. Meanwhile the free...

#128 – Kim Il Sung

Meanwhile in the North, the Soviets chose Kim Il Sung to be their hand-picked President. Unlike Rhee, who had spent most of the last 35 years of Japanese occupation chilling in Hawaii, Kim had spent his life fighting the Japanese occupation, first as a guerrilla, then...

#127 – Syngman Rhee

In the early hours of June 25, 1950, North Korean forces attacked across the 38th parallel that divided the country into a pro-Western regime in the south and a pro-Soviet regime in the north. It officially kicked off the first major conflict of the Cold War. The...

#126 – The Berlin Airlift

As part of their plan to re-build Germany, the USA secretly released a new currency, the Deutsche Mark, printed in New York, to replace the old Reichsmark. Frustrated at how the US, UK and France were re-building their zones of Germany without first reaching an...

#125 – The Berlin Blockade

The fault of the Berlin Blockade is often laid at the feet of Stalin. But the truth is a little more complicated. By 1948, the situation in Germany was still messy. The Four Powers (USA, USSR, UK, France) in control of Germany couldn't agree on a path forwards. Russia...

#124 – Freedom Under God

In 1951, the American Congregational minister James Fifield and his team of geniuses came up with a brilliant idea. To mark the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, they proposed to hold a massive series of events devoted to the theme...

#123 – The Apostle to Millionaires

After Father Coughlin was shut down, another anti-Communist Christian leader rose in his place - James Fifield aka "The Apostle to Millionaires", aka "St. Paul of the Prosperous" aka "the Thirteenth Apostle of Big Business". Unlike Father Coughlin, Fifield was happy...

#122 – Father Charles Coughlin

Today we talk more about Christians who opposed the New Deal. In the 30s there was a guy called Father Charles Coughlin, a Canadian-American Roman Catholic priest based near Detroit. Commonly known as “the radio priest", he was one of the first political leaders to...

#121 – Truman’s Hysteria

In 1950 Harry Truman complained about a “great wave of hysteria” sweeping the nation - the Red Scare. He should know. He was really largely responsible for creating it. Between the launching of his "loyalty program" in March 1947 and it's finish in December 1952, some...

#120 – The Trials Of Harry Bridges

In his "New Deal", FDR brought back the ideals of the "Social Gospel", a 19th century Christian reform movement, to justify the creation of the modern welfare state. For a while, at least, some American Christian leaders were big fans of socialism. However, starting...

#119 – Red Scare Part 5

Manufacturers and the media also used the Dies Committee to silence their critics. Any attempt to criticise the behaviour of industrialists was called "socialism". Along with communist witch hunts, another tactic industrialists used to protect themselves against the...

#118 – Red Scare Part 4

The Red Scare continues. In 1939, Martin Dies Jr claimed that the Justice Department was investigating 2,850 known communists in government and that FDR had ordered a purge of all those named. But it was all a disinformation campaign launched by Hoover. The President...

#117 – Red Scare Part 3

As Red Fever grew in the United States in the 1930s, Herbert Hoover asked J. Edgar Hoover to help him blame the Bonus March of 1932 on the Communists.  In August 1936, FDR invited JEH to the White House to discuss “subversive activities”. Hoover told him the...

#116 – Red Scare Part 2

In April 1919, US authorities discovered a plot for mailing 36 bombs to prominent members of the U.S. political and economic establishment. One of those was Attorney General Alexander Mitchell Palmer. He decided it was the work of Russian Communists, so he ordered the...

#115 – Red Scare Part 1

The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was created in 1938 to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having Communist ties. HUAC is best...

#114 Operation Lea

Finally, on Oct 7, 1947, the French made their offensive into the Viet Bac region: Operation Léa - aka Princess Leia. So-called because it was a smart, feisty, brave diplomat and warrior of a plan. But because he had less troops than he wanted, Valluy scaled down his...

#113 Toxic Nuts

Ho wonders aloud to a journalist why the Vietnamese were not being given the same opportunity as the Philippines, who had just been given their independence from the US, or India, which had just won its independence from the UK. All the Americans seem to care about is...

#112 Keyser HO-ze

Ho and his team disappear into the jungle north of Hanoi. The French think they have won. George Marshall dithers. HOW TO LISTEN If you're already a subscriber, you can listen to the full show in the player below or subscribe through iTunes or any podcast player. If...

#111 – The War Begins

After the Haiphong incident, Ho started preparing Hanoi for an attack.  First, he made a public speech appealing to the French to withdraw their troops. They ignored him. “If those gooks want a fight, they’ll get it,” declared French General Valluy. Ho, Giap...

#110 – Domino Theory

Vietnam. 1947. The U.S. Consul in Saigon, Charles Reed, is the first American official to use the term "domino theory". He's talking about what will happen in Cambodia and Laos if Cochin China falls to the VietMinh, who he wrongly concludes are taking orders from...

#109 – The Haiphong Incident

Vietnam. Late 1946. The gears of war are turning. One President commits suicide. Another continues to fight for a peaceful settlement. A new government is formed. Then the French army in Indochina decides to take matters into its own hands. They seize a Chinese junk...

#108 – The First Indochina War (Part V)

Ho Chi Minh goes to Paris for the big sit down with the new French government. But right from the start, things do not go as planned. Meanwhile, the United States are doing their best to ignore the situation. And Ho finally gives in and admits publicly that this is...

#107 – The First Indochina War (Part IV)

Ho Chi Minh agrees to go to Paris for a second round of talks with the French about the independence of Vietnam. But just before he is due to leave, the French High Commissioner in Vietnam screws him over. And then, the next day, the French government collapses. Ho...

#106 – Andrew Roberts, Churchill

Andrew Roberts has a huge new biography out on England's favourite son, Winston Churchill, and he was nice enough to come on the show to answer a few of our questions about the man. You may remember Andrew talked to Cameron and David about his Napoleon biography a few...

#105 – The First Indochina War (Part III)

In Hanoi, a new provisional coalition government was established on January 1, 1946. Ho Chi Minh was to be named president and Nguyen Hai Than from the nationalist VNQDD party as vice president. The Vietminh and the Chinese controlled the north. The French controlled...

#104 – The First Indochina War (Part II)

Peter Dewey was the first of nearly 60,000 Americans to be killed in Vietnam. Truman sells out the Vietnamese to keep De Gaulle happy. And the French arrive back in their old colony. Here's a picture of the seahorse for reference. HOW TO LISTEN If you're already a...

#103 – The First Indochina War (Part I)

After Ho Chi Minh declared the independence of Vietnam in September 1945, the British and Chinese troops arrived in Saigon and Hanoi to disarm the Japanese and prepare the return of the French - and the shooting begins. Some scholars thing that *this* was the...

#102 – Ho Chi Minh VI

* As they grew stronger, Giáp's forces took more territory and captured more towns * And then on 15 August they heard that the Japanese Emperor had declared his country's unconditional surrender to the allies. * Unfortunately for Ho and Giap, the U.S. had a new...

#101 – Ho Chi Minh V

* Ho believed the army’s job was largely going to be propaganda until the conditions were right for war. * But he also decided that for propaganda purposes, they had to win a military victory within a month of being established, so on 25 December 1944 Giáp led...

#100 – Ho Chi Minh IV

* Welcome to #100! * And we are still talking about 1944! * When we finished last time, Ho Chi Minh was making his way to the Red River Delta. * The Japanese have chased the French out of Vietnam and didn’t bother to protect the northern regions. * So Ho and the ICP...

#99 – Ho Chi Minh III

* On December 7 1941, Japan’s main carrier force, seeking to destroy the American fleet and thereby purchase time to complete its southward expansion, struck Pearl Harbour. * And the world celebrated. * As De Gaulle said “that’s it, the war’s over." * He was totally...

#98 – Ho Chi Minh II

* Ho’s speech to the French socialist congress in 1920 was 12 minutes long and delivered without notes. * It got some applause but that was about it. * He realised that French socialists were more worried about affairs at home than they were about colonialism in a...

#97 – Ho Chi Minh I

In 1919 a 29 year old Vietnamese man wrote a list of demands for political rights for his people to present to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference. Nobody paid him any attention. His name was Nguyen Ai Quoc. He devoted the rest of his life to...

#96 – Marshall Plan III

* America’s approach to providing financial aid wasn’t popular with some of their allies either. * Ernest Bevin, the British Foreign Secretary, resented American dollar diplomacy, in particular the linking of desperately needed financial assistance to London’s...

#95 – Marshall Plan II

* Something that Marshall mentions only briefly in his speech is the effect that would have on the US economy. (around the 7’20" mark) * Europe’s economy might have been destroyed after the war, but America’s wasn’t looking too bulletproof, partly BECAUSE the European...

#94 – Marshall Plan I

* One of the greatest pieces of mythology to ever be produced in America is the “Marshall Plan”. * It’s right up there with the idea of glorifying the “Founding Fathers”, who were actually just tax dodgers who orchestrated a bloody coup. * It’s also of course one of...

#93 – The X Article

* The X Article. * George Kennan, the Soviet expert who wrote the Long Telegram, wrote another piece, but this time published publicly and anonymously, in July 1947, just after Truman’s “Truman Doctrine” speech. * The actual title of the article was "The Sources of...

#92 – The Truman Doctrine

* And so on March 12, 1947, before a joint session of Congress, President Truman articulated, for the first time, a comprehensive American foreign policy for the postwar world. * He did not mention the Soviet Union by name, or refer to the need to contain its power in...

#91 – The Baruch Plan

* So here we are in 1946. * The Truman administration has decided on a “containment” policy. * But who is going to contain the containers? * According to the Novikov telegram, the Soviets felt like they had to contain the US. * And the U.S. felt like they had to...

#90 – The Novikov Telegram.

* The last, and certainly most conspicuous, of the four events that transformed the political culture of Washington in 1946 was a speech given in early March by Winston Churchill at Westminster College in Truman's home state of Missouri. * Like Stalin's speech of four...

#89 – The “Long Telegram”

* Stalin’s speech in February 1946 wasn’t a declaration of war. * It wasn’t anything that couldn’t have been said in the past. * He issued no direct threats toward the United States, and emphasized above all else the security of the Soviet state and the communist...

#88 – Mine All Mine

* In October 1945, Navy Day 1945 in New York City, at the Commissioning of the aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman gave a speech. * Here’s a clip. * https://youtu.be/BjUz4BPWwbc?t=2m21s * FAKE TRUMAN ACCENT: “We don’t seek any more land - because...

#87 – The Aftermath Part 2

* The military had long declared that radiation dissipated quickly in the atomic cities and posed little threat to the soldiers. * A 1980 Defense Nuclear Agency report concluded, “Medical science believes multiple myeloma has a borderline relationship with exposure to...

#86 – The Aftermath Part 1

* TRUMAN ANNOUNCES THE BOMB https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN_UJJ9ObDs * On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb over the center of Hiroshima, killing at least 70,000 civilians instantly and perhaps 50,000 more in the days and months to follow. *...

#85 – The Decision Part 3

* Truman met often with Byrnes in the first few months of his Presidency. * But there are almost no records or notes of what they discussed. * And that was apparently Byrnes’ preference. * He was known as being paranoid about leaks. * a very devious politician *...

#84 – The Decision Part 2

* By June 18 events had progressed to the point where Admiral Leahy was able to note privately in his personal diary: * It is my opinion that at the present time a surrender of Japan can be arranged with terms that can be accepted by Japan and that will make fully...

#83 – The Decision Part 1

* On 15 August 1945, about a week after the bombing of Nagasaki, Truman tasked the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey to conduct a study on the effectiveness of the aerial attacks on Japan, both conventional and atomic. * Did they have an effect on the Japanese surrender?...

#82 – Alex Wellerstein

Our guest today is Alex Wellerstein, a self-described "historian of science, secrecy, and nuclear weapons". He's a Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Stevens Institute of Technology. He blogs here and is on Twitter here. He is also the creator of the...

#81 – GROUND ZERO

Kistiakowsky and his team armed the device shortly after 5am and retreated to the control bunker. Their final task was to switch on a string of lights on the ground that would serve as an ‘aiming point’. The air force wanted to know what the effect of the blast would...

#80 – The Plug & The Hole

Back to Alamogordo. The army leased a ranch in the middle of the Jornada del Muerto site and converted it into a military police station and field laboratory. They thoroughly vacuumed it to make a makeshift clean room and sealed its windows with black electrical tape....

#79 – Jeffrey Hogue

Today we have a special guest - Jeff Hogue from the "History of the Cold War" podcast. We invited Jeff on to chat about his thoughts on the bombing of Japan. HOW TO LISTEN If you're already a subscriber, you can listen to the full show in the player below or subscribe...

#78 – Alamogordo

On 6 June, Stimson again briefed Truman on S-1. * The briefing summarized the consensus of the Interim Committee, set up as an advisory group on atomic research. * It’s job was the advise on the proper use of atomic weapons in wartime and to develop a position for the...

#77 – Bombing Japan

* Which brings us to April 1945. * Only weeks before Germany surrendered on May 7, FDR dies. * And Truman takes over as POTUS. * He knew nothing of the Manhattan Project or the atomic bomb. * He was briefed on it immediately by Sec of War Stimson. * By the time Truman...

#76 – Operation Alsos

Of course, while the bomb was being designed, they had to figure out how they were going to deliver it. And WHO was going to deliver it. Way back in March 1944, the US Army Air Force, with William Sterling "Deak” Parsons and his team at Los Alamos, developed two bomb...

#75 – The Beer Can Experiment

* President Roosevelt authorized the Manhattan Project to go full steam 26 days after Fermi’s success, on 28 December 1942 * The U.S. would end up spending $2 billion on it. (about $22 billion in 2018 dollars) * Do you know why it cost so much? * 130,000 people * When...

#74 – Benn Steil & The Marshall Plan

Benn Steil is an American economist, author of a great new book on "The Marshall Plan", and senior fellow and director of international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. HOW TO LISTEN If you're already a subscriber, you can listen to the full show in the...

#73 – k

* Fission involved breaking apart the nuclei of heavy elements like uranium or plutonium. * Fusion involves forcing the nuclei of lighter elements, like hydrogen or deuterium, together. * And deuterium, which is basically heavy hydrogen, is far easier to get your...

#72 – The Manhattan Project

* President Roosevelt responded to Einstein’s letter by setting up the Advisory Committee on Uranium under Lyman J. Briggs, director of the National Bureau of Standards. * Side note: his daughter Isabel would eventually marry Clarence Myers and go on to generate the...

#71 – The World Set Free

* In 1913, H. G. Wells wrote a book called The World Set Free * The novel begins: "The history of mankind is the history of the attainment of external power. Man is the tool-using, fire-making animal. . . . Always down a lengthening record, save for a set-back ever...

#70 – No Military Justification

* The Potsdam declaration on Japan was tricky. * It was drafted while Churchill was still PM. * In fact it was probably one of the last things he did as PM. * But it was signed by Attlee. * Stalin had to be involved, but he couldn’t sign it because the U.S.S.R. was...

#69 – The Atomic Bomb

* Episode 69. * Ray’s favourite number. * Have you actually had one yet, Ray? * Sister in law? * Truman had given his final approval to the plan to invade Kyushu, the southern most island of Japan, just two weeks before leaving for Potsdam. * A Russian invasion of...

#68 – Two And A Half Men

Well the election result shocked everyone.  And the rest of the contingent at Potsdam weren’t very happy about it either.  We might think that the Soviets would be please to be dealing with a British government made up of socialists.  But that wasn’t the case.  Stalin...

#67 Clement Atlee

Attlee was Churchill’s lame duck deputy PM.  In fact he was the first Deputy PM the UK ever had.  I didn’t realise this, but in the UK the role of the Deputy PM isn’t like you’d expect, like it is in Australia or like the Vice-President in the USA.  The Deputy PM...

#66 – Potsdam Begins

Stalin arrived in Potsdam a day late. Claimed he had a small heart attack. Might have been a ruse. It gave the others a day to take a tour of Berlin on July 16 and see the destruction first hand. During the first week of the conference, everyone was jubilant, having...

#65 – Michael Neiberg

Prof Michael Neiberg is Chair of War Studies and Professor of History, Department of National Security and Strategy, US Army War College. He has also written a number of excellent books on the First World War  - as well as the book we are talking about today -...

#64 – Towards Potsdam

After a string of fuckups, Truman starts listening to other people, like Joseph Davies, the US Ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1937-38, one of the guys he had ignored before his first meeting with Molotov. They decide a new meeting of the Big Three is needed - and...

#63 – The Old One-Two

Truman listens to certain people who tell him he should get tough with the Russians. At his first meeting with Molotov, the Soviet Foreign Minister said “I have never been talked to like that in my life." “Carry out your agreements and you won’t get talked to like...

#62 – Truman

Harry S. Truman. Farmer. Soldier. Failed businessman. Given his political career by a mobbed-up bootlegger. Became President through fate. Adopted John Wayne persona to try to look tough. HOW TO LISTEN If you're already a subscriber, you can listen to the full show in...

#61 – FDR Dead

Then, on April 12, 1945, FDR died, aged only 63. HOW TO LISTEN If you're already a subscriber, you can listen to the full show in the player below or subscribe through iTunes or any podcast player. If you haven't heard any of the series and want to know if you'll like...

#60 – In Like Flynn

FDR sends one of his inner circle, Edward Flynn, a staunch Catholic, to meet the Pope to try to keep the peace between him and Stalin. Stalin meanwhile revived caesaropapism, the old tradition dating back to Constantine, making himself head of the Russian Orthodox...

#59 – Stalin Versus The Pope

Stalin crushes the Ukrainian Catholic Church, partly because socialists believe religion is the opium of the masses, and partly because the Pope, Pius XII, had done a deal with Hitler and was a virulent anti-Communist. HOW TO LISTEN If you're already a subscriber, you...

#58 – Operation Sunrise

March 8, 1945. Allen Dulles, the Bern station chief of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (a forerunner of the CIA), met in secret with Obergruppenführer Karl Wolff, the former head of Heinrich Himmler’s secretariat, who in the last years of the war became the...

#57 – Alger Hiss

On February 13, 1945, U.S. Secretary of State Stettinius and his staff were invited to a reception hosted by Vyshinsky in the commissariat’s guesthouse in Moscow. Little did the Americans know that one member of their staff was a Soviet spy. HOW TO LISTEN If you're...

#56 – Dracula

What does Dracula have to do with the Cold War? The next issue to drive a wedge between the Big Three was the government of Romania. HOW TO LISTEN If you're already a subscriber, you can listen to the full show in the player below or subscribe through iTunes or any...

#55 – Cold As Ice

Our first post-Yalta episode! Churchill and Roosevelt go home and give big speeches about how well Yalta went and how the Big Three really get each other. And then it all fell apart. HOW TO LISTEN If you're already a subscriber, you can listen to the full show in the...

#54 – Nyet

The last day of Yalta! We're out, baby! Churchill fell asleep in the middle of an important debate and then woke up ranting about the wrong things. Iran wants everyone to leave their oil alone but no-one cares. Stalin wanted access to the Black Sea Straits. And Frank...

#53 – Declaration of Liberated Europe

Just when I thought I was out... they pulled me back in! To Yalta! Before the Big Three left Yalta, they signed a document that promised to allow the people of Europe "to create democratic institutions of their own choice". Of course, at the time, the British were...

#52 – German Reparations Part II

As the Yalta conference comes to a close, the question of German reparations is settled on, but it’s obvious that Stalin still doesn’t trust the other two. And the feeling is mutual. HOW TO LISTEN If you're already a subscriber, you can listen to the full show in the...

#51 – German Reparations

Stalin goes hard on the issue of German reparations but meets with pushback from Churchill, while Roosevelt can't seem to make up his mind. HOW TO LISTEN If you're already a subscriber, you can listen to the full show in the player below or subscribe through iTunes or...

#50 – Summary Execution

So after they agreed on Poland, the rest of the February 9 plenary session is spent talking about Germany.  Specifically - what to do with the Nazi big dogs.  Previously secret British War Cabinet papers released on 1 January 2006 have shown that Churchill had been...

#49 – Prof. Serhii Plokhii, Harvard

We have a very special guest. Professor Serhii Plokhii is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard University, where he also serves as the director of the Ukrainian Research Institute. He’s the author of quite a few award-winning books...

#48 – Settling The Polish Question

Day 9 at Yalta! The official, famous photographs are taken, and someone worries that he's going to be sent to the Gulag as a result. And the Polish question is finally settled to everyone's relief. They can almost go home. Oh and there was no raping. HOW TO LISTEN If...

#47 – The Rapist

Someone else was at the dinner on February 8, Day 4, at Koreiz villa - Lavrentii Beria the head of the dreaded People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs - a known womanizer and rapist. HOW TO LISTEN If you're already a subscriber, you can listen to the full show in...

#46 – The Big Threesome

At the end of a long day full of hard bargaining, The Big Three could still relax in one another’s company. In this episode we discuss the most important dinner of the conference. HOW TO LISTEN If you're already a subscriber, you can listen to the full show in the...