Events

Empowering Revolution: America, Poland, and the Moderates who Ended the Cold War

October 20, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Based on significant new international research, Domber reassesses the nature of Western influence on the end of the Cold War, highlighting where Soviet reforms created space for change in Eastern Europe and rejecting claims of any direct U.S. responsibility for the collapse of Communism.
Photo: Wenceslas Square, 17 November, 1989
Webcast

Promoting Free Media: Informing the 1989 Velvet Revolution and the Challenge Today

October 16, 2014 // 2:00pm6:00pm
Czechs and Slovaks regained their freedom in November 1989 through non-violent protests in Prague, Bratislava, and other towns of then Czechoslovakia. Their Velvet Revolution climaxed a decade of renewed civic challenges to a repressive Communist regime that began with Charter 77 dissidents including Vaclav Havel and accelerated after 1986. Twenty five years after the Velvet Revolution, Europe today is whole and free, but democracy and prerequisite independent media are on the decline in much of the former Soviet Union and elsewhere. RFE/RL, now operating from Prague, VOA, Radio Free Asia, Middle East Broadcasting Network, and Radio Marti, all publicly funded by the U.S. Congress, work to redress the information deficit.

Film Screening: "Liberty Train, Next Stop Freedom"

October 10, 2014 // 3:00pm6:00pm
"Liberty Train, Next Stop Freedom" portrays the dramatic events surrounding the mass occupation of the West German embassy in Prague by East German refugees seeking permission to leave for the West. Negotiations between East and West Germany in late September 1989 led to their release and their travel by special trains from Prague to West Germany via the GDR on a chilly night at the end of September. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with two Germans who grew up and experienced the revolutionary changes of 1989-90 in East Germany.

A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida

October 06, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
N. D. B. Connolly explores the history of real estate development and political power by offering an unprecedented look at the complexities of property ownership during the early and mid-twentieth century.

The Kennan Diaries

October 03, 2014 // 3:00pm5:00pm
The Kennan Diaries reveals the personal life and the political, philosophical, and spiritual concerns of America’s most noted diplomat and foreign policy strategist, George F. Kennan. Edited by historian Frank Costigliola, The Kennan Diaries is a landmark work of profound intellectual and emotional power.

Art Exhibit: "From War to Victory: Poland 1939-1989"

October 01, 2014 // 9:00amOctober 10, 2014 // 5:00pm
“From War to Victory: Poland 1939-1989” features exhibitions from the Institute of National Remembrance that tell the history of Poland from the Second World War through the end of the Cold War. This exhibit will be on display in the Memorial Hallway of the Woodrow Wilson Center from 1 October-10 October, is open to the public and admission is free.

International Affairs and Transnational Relations

September 29, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Acclaimed Harvard historian Akira Iriye will reflect on the study of history today, examining recent historiographic trends and phenomena like “motion,” “interconnectedness,” and “hybridity” in an effort to move away from a Euro-centric approach.

Lessons of Iran-Contra: Behind the Scenes of Ronald Reagan's Iran Gambit, 1985-86

September 22, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Based on intensive research into once-classified records, as well as interviews and other accounts from Americans, Iranians and Israelis, Malcolm Byrne will revisit the Reagan administration’s controversial initiative toward Iran in 1985-1986. What was its real purpose? Who were the Iranians involved and what did they want? What was Israel’s role? What are the long-term lessons and impact of the operation?

The Archive Thief: Zosa Szajkowski and the Salvaging of French Jewish History

September 15, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
In the aftermath of the Holocaust, Jewish historian Zosa Szajkowski stole tens of thousands of documents about Jews from French archives and sold them to libraries in the United States. To understand why he did it, Leff takes us into the “backstage” of the archives, and reveals the powerful ideological, economic and scientific forces that made Holocaust-era Jewish scholars care more deeply than ever before about preserving the remnants of their past.

The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book

September 08, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
In The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book, Peter Finn and Petra Couvée bring readers intimately close to the charming, passionate, and complex artist that was Boris Pasternak. First to obtain CIA files providing concrete proof of the agency’s involvement, the authors give us a literary thriller that takes us back to a fascinating period of the Cold War—to a time when literature had the power to stir the world.

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Experts & Staff

  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • James Person // Deputy Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • Pieter Biersteker // Editorial Assistant
  • Laura Deal // Catalog Specialist
  • Charles Kraus // Program Assistant
  • Evan Pikulski // Program Assistant
  • Roy O. Kim // Program Assistant