Trial until 30 March: Cold War Eastern Europe, Module 1: 1953-1960

Colleagues in the Social Science Library have arranged trial access to Cold War Eastern Europe, Module 1: 1953-1960. The trial ends 30 March 2018. It can be accessed via SOLO or OxLIP+. Please note that documents cannot be downloaded during the trial. Documents from other modules are not accessible either.

This resource provides access to over 6,800 primary source files sourced entirely from the political departments of the U.K. Foreign Office responsible for dealing with and reporting on the Soviet Union and the socialist states of Eastern Europe during the Cold War. The files provide a uniquely comprehensive, English-language history of post-Stalinist Eastern Europe.

The sources are all in English.

Module I covers the years 1953 to 1960, and consists of files selected from The National Archives series FO 371 (Foreign Office: Political Departments: General Correspondence from 1906-1966) which contains the files of the Foreign Office’s Northern, Southern, Central, and Western Departments pertaining to each of the socialist states of Eastern Europe. Every file relevant to the region from 1953 to 1960 – a total of nearly 7,000 files – is included in this resource, with the exception of any files retained by the government.

In addition, the full run of FO 371 Russia Committee files dating back to 1946 – totalling 41 files –  have been included. These complete the set of FO 371 Russia Committee meeting minutes and reports dating up to 1957, and provide context to Britain’s Soviet policy in the early Cold War.

Key events featured in the files of Module I include:

  • The East German Uprising of 1953
  • Founding of the Warsaw Pact
  • The Poznań Uprising in Poland
  • The Hungarian Revolution
  • Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech”
  • The onset of the Sino-Soviet Split
  • The U2 spy-plane incident

The Foreign Office, along with their embassies and consulates throughout the region, were interested in every aspect of the political, economic, cultural, social, and dissident life behind the Iron Curtain. They consequently reported on a hugely diverse range of issues, from state leadership to protest movements; agricultural output to international trade agreements; scientific progress to minority populations; religion to sporting events; and state-run media to popular culture. They also provided reports, and in some cases eye-witness accounts, on key milestones of the Cold War, such as the Hungarian Revolution and Khrushchev’s ‘Secret Speech’.

With coverage of every country in Eastern Europe, the resource enables comparative study of trends across the region, or in-depth analysis of individual countries. The countries featured in this resource are:

  • Albania
  • Bulgaria
  • Czechoslovakia
  • East Germany and Berlin
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Soviet Union
  • Yugoslavia

‘Northern (N): Soviet Union (Ns). Reviews of Developments in the Soviet Union since Stalin’s Death: Elections to Supreme Soviet; Comments on Election Speeches; Reports on Political Events and Meetings of the Supreme Soviet; Quarterly Reports on Soviet Policy’, in FO371: Foreign Office: Political Departments: General Correspondence from 1906-1966 (Foreign Office). [Cold War Eastern Europe, accessed 15 Feb 2018.]

The files also bear annotations relating to the administration and registry of the files which, in themselves, are hugely interesting.

You can search and browse the collections, which use tagging by country, theme, document type, language, etc. If you have a FO reference you can use it to locate specific known documents.

Please send any feedback to angelina.gibson@bodleian.ox.ac.uk by 30 March 2018.

New: The Cold War: Global Perspectives on East-West Tensions, 1945-1991

Cold War - Readex - frontpageThanks to colleagues in the Social Science Library, modern historians now have access to The Cold War: Global Perspectives on East-West Tensions, 1945-1991.

This resource is a digital archive of international primary source documents on the Cold War, spanning five decades, and will be of interest to anyone researching 20th-century global studies.

Cold War - Readex - screenshot

The sources seem to be a selection of FBIS (Foreign Broadcast Information Service Daily Reports) documents, i.e. these are CIA monitored, recorded, and translated coverage of the Cold War in foreign media and government publications. They covers newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts, television broadcasts, books, government reports, and more.

If you are looking for similar English-language Cold War sources, you might also be interested in…

Trial until 4 May: Cold War: Global Perspectives on East-West Tensions, 1945-1991

I am pleased to report that colleagues in the SSL have organised a trial of Readex’s Cold War: Global Perspectives on East-West Tensions, 1945-1991.

Cold War - Readex - frontpage This resource is a digital archive of international primary source documents on the Cold War, spanning five decades, and will be of interest to anyone researching 20th-century global studies.

Cold War - Readex - screenshot

The sources seem to be a selection of FBIS (Foreign Broadcast Information Service Daily Reports) documents, i.e. these are CIA monitored, recorded, and translated coverage of the Cold War in foreign media and government publications. They covers newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts, television broadcasts, books, government reports, and more.

The trial ends on 4 May. Please send any feedback to angelina.gibson@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Related resources in Oxford:

New: Journal of Cold War Studies now available online

Oxford users now have full electronic access to Journal of Cold War Studies [ISSN 1520-3972], vol 1 (1), 1999 to current issues. Access is currently via OU eJournals and soon also via SOLO.

Journal of Cold War Studies coverEdited by Mark Kramer, “the Journal of Cold War Studies features peer-reviewed articles based on archival research in the former Communist world and in Western countries. Articles in the journal draw on declassified materials and new memoirs to illuminate and raise questions about numerous historical and theoretical concerns: theories of decision-making, deterrence, bureaucratic politics, institutional formation, bargaining, diplomacy, foreign policy conduct, and international relations.

Using the latest evidence, the authors subject these theories, and others, to rigorous empirical analysis. The journal also includes an extensive section of reviews of new books pertaining to the Cold War and international politics.

The journal is published by the MIT Press for the Harvard Project on Cold War Studies.” MIT Press Journals.

Related links

  • Cold War History [ISSN 1468-2745] is also available electronically.
  • Cold War: Voices of Confrontation and Conciliation. See previous blog post on this database of sources.

New database: Cold War: Voices of Confrontation and Conciliation

Oxford users now have access to Cold War: Voices of Confrontation and Conciliation. The collection of oral history is relevant to those studying post-1945 history, military and diplomatic history, international relations, and conflict & conciliation.

Cold War: Voices of Confrontation and Conciliation (via Archives Unbound)

Source Library: Private Collection of Jim Thebaut (6,000 pages)
For almost fifty years, the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in the Cold War. This global stalemate emerged after both nations had been allies against Hitler during World War II. This collection of oral histories from the “behind-the-scenes” decision and policy makers helps research a wide range of questions surrounding this long period of political and military tension.

Covers c 1950s-1990s

List of interviewees include: Georgy Arbatov, Valentin Berezhkov, Robert Gates, Henry Kissinger, Robert McNamara, and many others.

Related sources:

Declassified Documents Reference System

Provides online access to over 500,000 pages of previously classified government documents. Covering major international events from the Cold War to the Vietnam War and beyond, this single source enables users to locate key information underpinning studies in international relations, American studies, United States foreign and domestic policy studies, journalism and more.

Digital National Security Archive

A comprehensive collection of significant primary documents central to U.S. foreign and military policy since 1945. Over 60,000 of the most important, declassified documents – totaling more than 450,000 pages – are included in the database. Many are published now for the first time. Includes Henry Kissinger telephone recordings.