Tag: Cold War History

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This is a brief segment from the wonderful documentary. https://youtu.be/FcYoUD4qens I love the idea of people running to the phones at the intermission and telling their friends to come hear this genius. The hall was less than half full at the beginning of the concert and was packed after intermission. The whole program is well worth […]

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‘Winning Armageddon’ Offers New Insights into the Cold War

 

The United States won the Cold War, a victory so complete its main adversary, the Soviet Union, vanished, replaced by a collection of independent nations. The foundation of that American victory was the security provided by the Strategic Air Command.

“Winning Armageddon: Curtis LeMay and Strategic Air Command, 1948–1957,” by Trevor Albertson, tells how that foundation was built.

LeMay took charge of the Strategic Air Command in 1948. It was then an organization unable to achieve its mission — protecting the United States by deterring attacks from the Soviet heartland. LeMay left SAC in 1957. It had become a world-spanning unit with outstanding discipline and readiness.

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The Soviet Union was renowned for its ability to penetrate Western intelligence services during the Cold War. Less known are Western intelligence agencies penetrating the Soviet Union’s services. The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War, by Ben Macintyre, relates one penetration, perhaps the most spectacular. It tells of Oleg […]

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To the Moon! 50th Anniversary Year Starts

 

This is the 50th anniversary of Americans reaching the Moon, fulfilling President Kennedy’s challenge, to reach the Moon and safely return, before the end of the 1960s. The first man set foot on the Moon, 20 July 1969. This week marks the beginning of the methodical series of Apollo missions that led up to Apollo 11.

On 11 October 1968, Apollo 7 lifted off from Kennedy Space Center, carrying a full crew, to simulate the crew going to the moon. The lunar module was not yet ready for live testing, so that component was not included. The three-man crew was Walter M. Schirra, Jr., commander, Donn F. Eisele, command module pilot, and Walter Cunningham, lunar module pilot.

Apollo 7 was the first American manned mission since the catastrophe of Apollo 1, where the crew ( Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee) had been burnt to death, trapped in their capsule on the launchpad, when a fire raged out of control in a 100% oxygen atmosphere. Apollo 7 took off with a nitrogen-oxygen cabin atmosphere, to prevent another catastrophic fire.

35 Years Ago: Russians shoot down KAL 007, all lives lost

 

Thirty-five years ago, on September 1, 1983, Russian jet fighters shot down a Boeing 747 operated by Korean Airlines. KAL flight 007, even the flight number invites conspiracy theories! The facts are that the plane went down in the Sea of Japan with all 269 passengers and crew lost, the aircraft fatally damaged by two short-range air-to-air missiles. This was a dreadful mishap at the height of the Cold War, the civilian aircraft being mistaken for the smaller RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, and it also showed how far Russia would go to defend its territorial integrity from overflights.

RAF operated RC-135; Russians were tracking USAF RC-135s in the area.

Two blogs provide good accounts, with illustrations, of how the Korean Airlines plane got so dangerously off course, and the sequence of Russian air defense responses, ending in fighter pilots watching the crippled aircraft spiral into the sea.