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Cold War Panel

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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 11:02 AM

I have been a history teacher (students aged 11 to 18) for 25 years. I have been interested in the subject of the Cold War since the Cuban Missile Crisis took place in 1962. Like many people I thought the Cold War was just about to get very hot.

I am the author of the Cold War website. As well as 160 biographies there are 74 articles on subjects such as the Atomic Bomb, Berlin Wall, Bay of Pigs, Comintern, Cuban Missile Crisis, Domino Theory, Federal Republic of Germany, German Democratic Republic, Hallstein Doctrine, Hungarian Uprising, Korean War, Marshall Aid, McCarthyism, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Nuclear Arms Race, Ostpolitik, Perestroika, Prague Spring, Solidarnosc, Schuman Plan, Truman Doctrine, U-2 Crisis, Vietnam War and the Warsaw Pact.


#2 Nathaniel Weyl

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 11:32 AM

As a student at Columbia, I became one of the youth leaders of the Socialist Party. After a year at the London School of Economics, returned to USA and shifted to the Communist Party. In 1933, given a medium level policy job in a New Deal agency. Sucked into a so-called nuclear cell of government officials supposedly destined to rise rapidly, I found secret membership in this cell while a US official duplicitous, and resolved my personal problem by resigning from government. (The cell at the time I left it merely read propaganda and talked; later its members would be drawn into espionage and one of them, Alger Hiss, would go to prison for perjury). Years of newspaper reporting and writing, mainly in Latin America, followed.

In 1939, Hitler and Stalin signed a pact that would precipitate World War 2. I left the Communist Party and rejoined the US Government to head Latin American research for Federal Reserve Board, later to serve in Board of Economic Warfare, then 2 years in a combat infantry division, then work on US grants and loans to the postwar world. Resigned from government for a second time around 1947 because the questionnaires in the Truman loyalty program would have unearthed my red past and forced me to engage in the distasteful task of testifying against former CP associates.

From 1947 on I wrote books and articles and earned a living from investments. I shifted from the Democratic to the Republican Party. My interest in Cuba made me write a book, Red Star Over Cuba, which blamed Castro's rise to power in part on covert State Department support of his cause, engineered by a clique of officials whose loyalties seemed questionable. Since the book sold about a quarter of a million copies, including Spanish, Portuguese and German language editions, it brought me into the world of Cuban anti-Castro exiles.

My attitude toward JFK was largely shaped by his Latin American policies and was highly critical. I agreed with my Cuban friends that the US Government had a moral obligation toward the force of Cuban volunteers that invaded Cuba and sought to liberate the island, that it had pledged them military support. JFK's last minute decision to abort the planned air strike that the small invading force needed for survival and/or orderly withdrawal and to leave people we had sent into battle stranded was dishonorable and unworthy of the United States. After the debacle of the invasion, which we now know would probably have failed anyhow, JFK's people advanced the slogan "Fidelismo without Fidel", in short an endorsement of the dictator's domestic policies. At the same time, the White House was pushing its Alliance for Progress, which sought to impose some US social measures on Latin countries which did not want them, and which helped cause a massive flight of domestic capital from the area and encouraged left-wing upheavals in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. I felt that Kennedy was a great charmer and master of rhetoric, but that unsound ideas proliferated like rabbits in the brains of those people who made policy decisions on Latin America for him. The tragedy of his assassination made such negative judgments seem petty and trivial.

Last year I published by autobiography, Encounters With Communism.

#3 Mike Toliver

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 03:36 PM

I don't know if one could consider me an "expert" on the Cold War. My expertise is in an area where the Cold War was hot - Vietnam. However, the two are linked; Vietnam wouldn't have happened without the Cold War. My dad worked on the Atomic Bomb in WWII - I grew up with pictures of the Trinity test on the wall of our den.

I spent 13 months in 'Nam as a radioman in an infantry battalion. Came back and went to college just as Kent State and Jackson State (nobody ever mentions Jackson State - why?) happened. Spent a lot of time trying to figure out how we got into Vietnam and why it was so difficult to leave - basically why 58,000 U.S. and maybe a million and a half Vietnamese had to die to produce a result that could have been obtained in 1945. Much of the answer to that question involves the Cold War.

Edited by miketol, 22 July 2004 - 03:40 PM.

#4 Doug Horne

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Posted 28 July 2004 - 10:42 PM

I worked on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) for the last 3 of its 4 years of existence, from August 1995 to September 1998 (when the ARRB shut down). I served as an Analyst on the Military Records team for all three years; I headed the team (and was given the inflated title "Chief Analyst for Military Records") for its last year-and-a-half, which was "crunch time," as far as getting Cuba and Vietnam documents declassified. I prepared inventories with editorial comments, or "User Guides," for both the key Vietnam records and the key Cuba records that the ARRB deposited in the National Archives. (Steve Tilley, in charge of administering the National Archives' JFK Records Collection, should be able to provide these documents upon request. They are located in my personal working papers, which are on file at the Archives.) We were able to locate and stimulate the release of many more Cuba documents than Vietnam documents, although we had important finds in both areas. Our Cuba records provided some real bombshell material on proposed "pretexts" (in both 1962 and 1963) for U.S. full-scale invasions of Cuba; on "dirty tricks," and sabotage, against the Castro regime; and we actually declassified several versions or iterations of full-scale miltary OPLANS (i.e., contingency plans) for invasions of Cuba dating from 1962 through early 1964. Collectively, these Cuba records document how much the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other Cold War hawks in government (both civilian and military) wanted to implement a full-scale conventional military invasion of Cuba during the 2 years or so following the Bay of Pigs fiasco...something JFK never did. Our principal Vietnam record, the minutes of the 8th SECDEF Conference on Vietnam (May 1963), confirmed once and for all that JFK actually gave orders for, and was implementing, a withdrawl from Vietnam through his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara.

#5 Walt Brown

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 07:31 AM

I was a former special agent of the Justice Department. I am a longtime researcher of the Warren Commission and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I am the editor of JFK/Deep Politics and the author of several books on the subject including: The People V. Lee Harvey Oswald (1992), Treachery in Dallas (1995), Referenced Index Guide to the Warren Commission (1995), JFK Assassination Quizbook (1995) and the The Warren Omission (1996).

My most ambitious project was The Global Index to the JFK Assassination, a CD-ROM of 2400 pages, which indexed not just the WC, but also the HSCA, and 100+ of the best known JFK books. There are 17,185 names and over 4 million references, and it is cross-referenced by 175 categories; so if you cannot remember the name of a particular Secret Service agent (or 174 other possible categories), you look through the alphabetic listing of the hundreds of SS agents listed, find the name, and then go to that listing in the Index.

#6 Daniel Marvin

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 07:19 PM

Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Marvin, U.S. Army Special Forces (Retired)
Born in Detroit, Michigan on 10 October 1933

I was an Army “Mustang,” first enlisting in June 1952 as a recruit and I later held the rank of Sergeant First Class. I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers and went on to retire as a Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel. A fully qualified Special Forces Officer (Green Beret), Master Parachutist and Combat Infantryman, I am experienced in covert operations: a veteran of eight combat campaigns in the Korean and Vietnam Wars and was thrice decorated for heroism. More significantly I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour on 29 January 1984 and since that day I have fearlessly crusaded for truth and justice with the goal of fighting evil that dwells in certain agencies or personnel in our government.

I was schooled in unconventional warfare and learned the fundamentals of guerrilla warfare, special demolitions, underwater demolitions, assassination and terrorism techniques, civic action and psychological warfare operations from veteran Green Beret, CIA and US Navy SEAL Team instructors. In 1964 I volunteered to organize and command a covert operations team of eight Green Beret volunteers; the first Green Berets to be prepared to employ the man-portable atomic demolition device (SADM) with an explosive force equivalent to ten tons of TNT. Our contingency mission was to blow the hydroelectric plant at the ASWAN High Dam in Egypt, under construction at the time by the USSR . That same year Green Beret Master Sergeant Joseph Hill and I were involved in a bizarre series of interactions with the leadership of the Boston Mafia, giving us personal insight into the unique alliance that existed between the CIA, the Mob and the U.S. Army’s Special Forces when their unique talents were needed to conduct extremely critical covert operations, including assassinations and sabotage.

In the Vietnam War I commanded Green Beret Team A-424 in An Phu, South Vietnam from 27 December 1965 through 2 August 1966, leading the first combat actions against enemy forces inside their Cambodian safe-havens. These sanctuaries had been provided our enemies by then President Lyndon B. Johnson. My A Team also conducted counterinsurgency, direct combat, civic action and psychological warfare operations throughout the district of An Phu. Fighting alongside our courageous South Vietnamese Buddhist Hoa Hao “Irregular fighters” they secured and held fifty kilometers of common border with Cambodia and were continually victorious against a numerically superior and better equipped enemy. I considered the Hoa Hao irregulars the most courageous and most motivated foreign fighting men I ever knew.

My small team of Green Berets gained the respect of the 64,000 Hoa Haos of An Phu District. With no civilian doctors or organized medical treatment facilities in place, my two team medics filled the gap, providing a wide range of medical and dental services to the local populace while helping to defend their homes, farms and fishing industry against thousands of Communist insurgents. Victory after victory attested to the valor of the Hoa Hao fighters and their families.

In June 1966, the CIA asked me to assassinate Cambodian Crown Prince Norodum Sihanouk, using my Hoa Hao Irregular fighters in an operation designed to make it appear to have been carried out by the North Vietnamese Communists. I initially accepted the mission but later aborted it when President Johnson failed to honor the quid pro quo wherein I demanded that Johnson deny the enemy their safe havens inside Cambodia and announce that fact publicly in the United States. Within 10 days of my aborting the mission and ordering the CIA agent out of my camp, my men and approximately 400 Hoa Haos were under siege and in danger of being attacked and annihilated by a heavily armed ARVN Regiment sent by the CIA in retribution of my actions. South Vietnamese Lieutenant General Quang Van Dang interceded, ordered the ARVN Regiment back to their home base, and flew into my An Phu Camp and told all os us that we no longer need fear reprisal. There would be no brother killing brother.

When my team departed An Phu on 2 August 1966 it was the most secure area in South Vietnam. My next foreign tour was with the 46th Special Forces in Lop Buri, Thailand where I commanded the Special Forces Logistical Operations Center which provided unconventional logistical support to all covert operations in that area of the world, except Vietnam. On arrival in Lop Buri, I put a halt to an illegal arms shipping operation and initiated an investigation which was proved that some 120 weapons had been illegally sent to the USA and may have been involved in the assassination plot that killed Dr. King. I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in May, 1973.

Among my most treasured awards is the Hoa Hao purple silk scarf that was presented to me by the Hoa Hao Central Committee when they named me an Honorary Hoa Hao, the only American to receive that special tribute. I now live in upstate New York where I write about my experiences as an unconventional warrior.

#7 Justin Q. Olmstead

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  • Interests:I am a history teacher currently working on my masters degree. I have also created an on-line American History course for my school district. While I currently teach about lthe US Constitution, American History and Middle Eastern Studies, I have always been very interested in the 1860's to 1990's time period in European history. I am also a member of the National Council for History Education. I own a small cattle ranch and coach soccer. In this respect I am a huge ManU and Reading fan but follow European Football as a general rule.

Posted 23 September 2004 - 06:58 PM

I teach American History at Winfield High School in Winfield KS, USA. I am currently working on my Masters degree in American History at Emporia State University, and am a member of the National Council for History Education.

Edited by Justin Q. Olmstead, 01 October 2004 - 07:16 PM.

#8 Florina Serbu

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Posted 24 September 2004 - 04:56 PM

My name is Florina Serbu. I have taught history for 24 years. Using IT in teaching History opened for me and me students a new perspective about "interesting teaching/learning". I had the chance to live in Romania during both social systems: totalitarian communism and the new democracy of the transition period. After 14 years I can sea how easy people forget what communism was for Romanian society and this scares me. I believe it is important that students from today grow up as informed adults.

#9 Janos Blasszauer

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 09:51 PM

I am János Blasszauer (39), a father of two, living in the provincial town of Nagykanizsa. I have been teaching English for ten years now. Currently, I am working at Batthyány Gimnázium (academic grammar school). I am the head of the English department. Since October 2001 I have been the pedagogical advisor for the Zala county Pedagogical Institute. Among many other tasks as e.g. the organisation of the county English language contest in different categories I give hands-on presentations for secondary school teachers and give advice to heads of schools with regard to ICT. I am the Hungarian advisor on the international advisory board of two European Schoolnet projects. One is the MyEurope project, the other one is the Spring Day in Europe project.

Edited by Janos Blasszauer, 14 October 2004 - 10:30 PM.

#10 Juan Carlos

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  • Interests:Ph.D. in Philosophy (History and Geography), Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, 1994 <br />I am Head of Department of Geography and History in IES Parque de Lisboa, a secondary school in Alcorcón, Madrid.<br />Last years my interests have been focused on:<br />Using the internet and ICT in teaching late modern history<br />Participating and coordinating international collaborative projects in the EU (Comenius), in the US (Fulbright) and Japan (Japanese Foundation Study Tour).<br />Developing strategies for teaching history and geography through a foreign language (English) in a Spanish speaking context.

Posted 28 September 2004 - 09:50 AM

I am Head of History Department in a Secondary School in Alcorcón, near Madrid. I am mainly interested in history teaching on the internet and I have set up my own web site http://www.historiasiglo20.org/ which is focused on 20th century history. I am a member of Virtual School and I have been collaborating in different European projects (Comenius, Spring Day in Europe).

#11 Dalibor Svoboda

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 10:27 AM

I was born in January 1948 in a small town of Bohemia district in Czechoslovakia. Soon after did I together with my father and mother move to Brno in Mähren. After compulsory school I studied for four years at Agriculture Upper Secondary school then after taking exam in 1968 I moved to Prague for university studies. I left occupied Czechoslovakia for Sweden in November 1968. During the seventies I study for five years at University of Stockholm and at the same time making my living by doing different petty jobs. I start teaching History, Civics and Politics at the beginning of eighties at Fredrika Bremer Upper Secondary school situated in a suburb of Stockholm. During a couple of years in nineties I worked at Knowledge and Competence Foundation later also at National Education Agency in Stockholm.

#12 Vaughn Marlowe

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 06:26 PM

After serving in the United States Army during the Korean War, Vaughn Marlowe moved to the west coast and ran a bookstore in Venice. During this period he was a supporter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). The story of Marlowe’s relationship with Richard Case Nagell appears in Dick Russell’s book, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1992). He is currently a playwright. His produced plays include Doc Holliday and the Angel of Mercy.

#13 Vladimir Kalinin

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Posted 10 October 2004 - 07:59 AM

:) I was in the East Germany in this period of time (in the former Soviet troops in Germany as pilot of the USSR). We were "staying" not very far from the residence of Mr.Eric Honneker just to protect him in cooperation with Germans special forces. It was nice time for me, I never could imagine that such a giant as USSR could collapsed in one day.

I could say you frankly that when we were living in a different systems world was much more safe and perdictable (maybe I am wiong) but now anarchy everywhere and I feel that new wars are coming if our top politicians can't find solution and cooperation agaginst terror and could escape double standards as well. Because what is acceptable for one partner is not acceptable for other, I mean some of Chechen terrorist are living in UK, USA and they are political immigrants in these countries but in Russia they killed hundreds of people and are criminals.

Now our world is open for cooperation and collaboration but very selective one. I mean Belarus continue to live at iron curtain because of isolation in Europe, despite any riots or wars, or terrorist attacks and we are not even members of CE or EU but were founders of UN system after WW2. A lot of questions without clear answers for me at least.

#14 Douglas Hainline

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 06:58 AM

My name is Douglas Hainline and I am an American living in the UK, near Guildford.

I was raised up in Houston Texas in the 1950s, by liberal parents in a conservative city in conservative times. I became active in the Civil Rights movement as soon as the first sit-ins started in Houston, and was actively involved in it for the whole of the 60s, including doing voter registration work in the South during Freedom Summer (1964). My experiences led me to the conclusion that the problems with American society were far deeper than the denial of civil rights to Black people, and I became a Marxist early on. I was also very involved in the opposition to the war in Vietnam. I was a member of SDS and watched that organization self-destruct due to in-fighting.

When I graduated university in 1967 (Cornell, majoring in History) I was drafted, despite my professed support for the military victory of the other side. Trained as a combat infantryman, I deserted on the way to Vietnam and remained in hiding for 18 months. I eventually turned myself in and was tried and convicted of being Absent Without Leave, a lesser charge than desertion, resulting in a sentence of six months at hard labor. When I finished my sentence I was in the Army for a few more months, then thrown out with a Bad Conduct Discharge. I am barred from re-enlistment.

I came to Britain in 1976. I left my communist organization in 1980. I have since rethought my original political beliefs, which I do not, however, find entirely without value. I read a lot and try to approach each new problem and development with an open mind.

I hope to see the spread of liberal democracy throughout the world. I would like to live long enough [but probably will not] to see the first Muslim President of the United States. (And if she's gay it wouldn't bother me a bit.)

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