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History: The Cold War


Primary Sources

Don't forget to use the online World Book Encyclopedia and EBSCO Databases on the Student Portal!



The Universal Declaration of Human Rights



 The Russians Discover a Spy Tunnel in Berlin, 1956
"What a filthy trick!" A declassified CIA report describes an audacious incident of espionage during the Cold War.

 The Hungarian Revolution, 1956
"I have been the witness today of one of the great events of history." The citizens of Budapest attempt to break the chains of Soviet occupation.


Ending the Cold War

SPLASH resources


Video : Cold War Games

Video clip synopsis – The 1956 Melbourne Olympics took place at the height of the Cold War. Tensions between the USSR and the USA threatened to derail the Games.

Australians in peace and war: World War II, the Cold War and the 'forgotten 50s' : Teacher Resource

Sites2See : This resource is a web page containing links to websites, video and other resources about the Korean War including Australia's role in that conflict. Links to background information about the United Nations and the Cold War are also provided.


Petrov Affair

This collection of digital curriculum resources focuses on the defections of Russian spies and Embassy officials Vladimir and Evdokia Petrov in 1954. It is organised in four categories - Vladimir Petrov's defection announced; scenes at Sydney airport; ensuring the Petrovs' safety in Australia; and the key political players in the Petrov affair. The collection contains photographs and documents but its highlight is Cinesound newsreel footage of the unfolding events. 

'Petrov sensation', 1954 - part 1 of 6

Transcript of commentary

Federal Parliament House, Canberra, is the scene of a world sensation. In the House of Representatives the Prime Minister announced that Vladimir Petrov, Third Secretary of the Russian Embassy, has approached Australian security men and sought asylum. This had been granted. The news of a spy ring which might involve Australian nationals shocked the nation.

Mr Menzies would make no comment, other than his statement in the house.


Look on Clickview for the following :

Reds : 1947-1953

  • Inside the CIA
  • The Cold War : 1945-1950
  • The Wall : 1958-1963
  • The Wall Comes Down : 1989
  • Spies : 1944-1994



The fall of the Iron Curtain - Google Blog

The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University has developed multimedia case studies, primary resources and learning materials related to the revolutions that signalled the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe in 1989. Countries featured include Poland, Hungary and Romania

Anti-communism in Australia

The web sites below contain information about Australia's response to the threat of communism both in Asia after WWII and in Australia.

The cold war: the space race

USA vs USSR Fight! The Cold War


The following videos may be accessed through Clickview :

Selling Ideologies - Cold War Propaganda

The Cold War in Europe and Asia

Cold War The Wall

  • Cold war : comrades 1917-1945
  • Cold War : conclusions 1989-1991
  • Cold war : iron curtain 1945-1947



This collection of primary source documents discusses international relations during World War II and the years shortly after. It begins with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed in 1939 and ends with documents from the 1950’s. The collection contains a wide variety of documents including agreements, memorandums, meeting minutes, cables, letters, diary entries, and military reports from WWII. The documents mainly come from Russian and Bulgarian archives

Wilson Centre: Stalin and the Cold War

Leader of the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death in 1953, this collection contain Stalin's own writings, conversations, and legacy. The documents come mostly from the 1950s, and from Russian archives. Topics discussed include Stalin's economic opinions and his views on the situation in East Germany. The final items discuss Stalin's death and the fate of some of his ministers.

THE COLD WAR - PART 1: From World War to Cold War

Pattern of US Cold War Interventions

BBC History

The Korean War 1950 - 1953

The Korean War: An Overview

The Korean War: An Overview

Discover how the Cold War turned hot for the first time, on the Korean peninsula in the early 1950s.

Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis 1962

John F Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis

John F Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis

The US president's role in the stand-off that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. By Professor Ernest R May.

Weapons of the Cold War

The Cambridge Spies

The Cambridge Spies

The story of one of the most damaging spy rings in British history - and the astonishing reason they weren't more effective.

The Fall of the Soviet Union 1985 - 1991

Reform, Coup and Collapse: The End of the Soviet State

Reform, Coup and Collapse: The End of the Soviet State

The reforms, rebellions and political machinations behind the dramatic collapse of the Soviet Union. By Professor Archie Brown

USA Remembers the Cold War

"From the Manhattan Project through the break up of the Soviet Union, more American veterans served as Cold Warriors than as soldiers, seamen or airmen of any conflict in American history."

The Cold War at Home and Abroad, 1945–1953”, chapter 9 from the book United States History, Volume 2 (v. 1.0).

Creative Commons

Gamification: Count the cost with Nuke Map

On Clickview

Reds : 1947-1953

Inside the CIA

The Cold War : 1945-1950

The Wall : 1958-1963

The Wall Comes Down : 1989

Spies : 1944-1994

  • Cold war : comrades 1917-1945
    Both the United States and the Soviet Union drifted apart after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Russian Civil War and the Paris Peace Conference. Diplomatic and extensive trading relationships were established under Roosevelt, but relations soured following the Soviet invasion and absorbion of the Baltic States and Poland. After Hitler broke the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact the Western powers worked closely with the Soviet Union during the Second World War. Distrust reemerged as Stalin's plans for placing Eastern Europe in the Soviet Union's sphere.
  • Cold War  
    In the first episode we focus on the early part of the 20th Century and see how revolution in Russia and the aftermath of two world wars led to divisions and alliances between the worlds most influential governments.
  • Berlin Wall: Closing The Iron Curtain
    On the 25th anniversary, this drama documentary reveals the shocking events that happened the night the Berlin Wall went up, through the eyes of journalist Adam Kellet-Long, who was there
  • The Untold history of the United States - Ep.04/10 : The Cold War 1945-1950
    The Cold War: 1945-1950
    The equation changes: specific month-by-month causes of the Cold War emerge and it is not entirely clear who started it. Highlights include Churchill's Iron Curtain speech, the civil war in Greece and the Red Scare that prompts the rise of Joseph McCarthy, the House Un-American Activities Committee and the FBI.
  • Secrets of War - Cold War: Brezhnev's Kremlin
    Before Leonid Brezhnev signed nuclear arms reduction agreements with the West, he led the Soviets into one conflict after another from Soviet involvement in Vietnam and its role in Arab-Israeli conflicts to the untold stories of the invasion of Afghanistan
    Narrated by Charlton Heston.


Soviet War in Afghanistan


COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION, 1982-1991 The Collapse of the Soviet Union

BBC: Reform, Coup and Collapse - the End of the Soviet State

Cold War Museum: The Fall of the Soviet Union

BBC - History: Reform, Coup and Collapse - The End of the Soviet State

Tomball College: The Fall of The Soviet Union - Whys and Wherefores

San Jose State University: The Economic Collapse of the Soviet Union

Wikipedia: Espionage
(Good general introduction & overview of espionage)

YouTube: Espionage
Spyweb – Cambridge Spies & other spies

Wikipedia: US - CIA

YouTube: O.S.S. - U.S. - (O.S.S. later became CIA

Google search: Spy rings in Australia

Skwirk: Petrov affair

Google search: Israel – Mossad

Google search: Soviet Union & KGB

Google search: Britain - MI5 & MI6
(M.I.5 handles domestic espionage and M.I.6 handles espionage abroad. Includes Roger Hollis)

BBC: The Cambridge Spies

Google search: MI5

Kim Philby (cryptonym: Stanley), Donald Duart Maclean (cryptonym: Homer), Guy Burgess (cryptonym: Hicks) and Anthony Blunt (cryptonym: Johnson); John Cairncross.

The Times: How MI5 spent 18 years hunting the spy it had already caught
Good article

Cambridge Spies | How Philby, Burgess, Maclean, Blunt and Cairncross were unmasked
Includes broadcast links

The Education Forum: The Cambridge Spy Ring: its creation, significance, and effects on Britain and the West

History Learning Site: Nuclear Arms Race

How Stuff Works: How the Nuclear Arms Race Works

Vibration The Cold War & Space Race

AudiFaz: The Nuclear Arms Race

Flow of History: Nuclear Arms Race

Washington State Uni: Modern China

George Washington Uni: China and the United States - From Hostility to Engagement

China's Role During the Cold War

Cold War Museum
Scroll down to 'Berlin Blockade' and 'Berlin Airlift'

The Cold War Museum: Berlin Blockade

Harry S. Trueman Library: Berlin Blockade

John D. Berlin Blockade Berlin Blockade

Military History: The Berlin Blockade

KOREAN WAR, 1950-1953
John D. Korean War

Naval History & Heritage: Korean War

Infoplease: Korean War

Spartacus: Korean War

ThinkQuest: Korean War-The Forgotten War

Global Security: Korean War

US Army Military History: Korean War

BBC: The Korean War - An Overview

VIETNAM WAR, 1961-1975
Infoplease: Vietnam War Spartacus SchoolNet: Investigating the Vietnam War
Very comprehensive page of links. Good starting point.

The Wars for Vietnam: an Overview
From Vassar College

Learn History: Vietnam War Revision Guide

Vietnam: A Country Study   
A detailed history of Vietnam, the Vietnam War, and the country of Vietnam.

The History Place Presents The Vietnam War

SchoolHistory: American Involvement in Vietnam

PBS: Vietnam Online

Battlefield: Vietnam

The Vietnam War Past and Present: A Resource for High School History Teachers

Guide to Cuban Missile Crisis

ThinkQuest: Cuban Missile Crisis

BBC History: JFK & the Cuban Missile Crisis

History and Politics Out Loud: Cuban Missile Crisis

George Washington Uni: The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962

Cuban Missile Crisis: Primary Sources

Naval Historical Center: Cuban Missile Crisis

Global Cuban Missile Crisis

National Air and Space Museum: Space Race

The Space Race

NASA: Sputnik and the Dawn of the Space Race

Vibration Data: Cold War and the Space Race Era


Seventeen Moments in Soviet History

"...a rich archive of texts, images, maps and audio and video materials from the Soviet era (1917-1991). The materials are arranged by year and by subject, are fully searchable, and are translated into English."

The Soviet War in Afghanistan was a nine-year period involving the Soviet forces and the Mujahideen insurgents that were fighting to overthrow Afghanistan's Marxist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) government.