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Cold War

In 2009, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, archives about the division of Germany and the progress of the Cold War were put on display at the Modern Records Centre. This is an online version of the exhibition.

Examples of other documents relating to the Cold War are included in the online exhibitions 'Protest and Survive' (about British peace movements since 1958) and 'Let Robeson Sing' (about the campaign against the blacklisting of the American actor, singer and Communist Paul Robeson).

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger version of each document.

 
Plea from 'The Housewives in the Soviet Zone', Gustrow, Germany, 1946
Plea from 'The Housewives in the Soviet Zone', Gustrow, Germany, 1946

Translation of letter sent to officials and organisations in Germany and Britain, and to the United Nations. The authors demand better supplies, "human treatment" and an end to violence by the Russian occupying forces. If this is not delivered, they argue that "one day the seed will grow as it has already happened under Hitler and revenge will then come".

[Included in a file on Germany, from the records of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/943/4]

Economic League leaflet attacking Communism, 1951Economic League leaflet attacking Communism, 1951
Economic League leaflet attacking Communism, 1951

Included in a file of correspondence, circulars, leaflets, handbills and other miscellaneous publications relating to the Economic League. The League, formed by industrialists in 1919, was against "subversive" activities, anti-Communist and in favour of free enterprise.

[From the archive of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/770.2/5]

'Facts' about Korea, August 1950'Facts' about Korea, August 1950
'Facts' about Korea, August 1950

Economic League newsletter on "the latest "hot" front in the so-called Cold War".

[From the archive of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/770.2/5]

'Red Octopus', 1950'Red Octopus', 1950
'Red Octopus', 1950

Economic League booklet warning against the "tentacles of the Red Octopus" - "forewarned is forearmed".

[From the archive of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/770.2/5]

'One step leads to another...', 1950

'One step leads to another...', 1950

'One step leads to another...', 1950

Anti-'frame-up' pamphlet issued by the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. It illustrates the 6 steps being taken against freedom and civil liberties - jailing of "reds", deportation of "aliens", more lynchings, Klan attacks on Jews and Catholics, jailing of union leaders, and, finally, imprisonment of the ordinary worker (who had ignored the first five injustices) when he asked for a pay rise.

[Included in the archives of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292/973/13]

'To secure justice in the Rosenberg case', c1951'To secure justice in the Rosenberg case', c1951
'To secure justice in the Rosenberg case', c1951

Pamphlet produced by the National Committee to Secure Justice in the Rosenburg case. The American Communists Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of passing information about atomic weapons to the Soviet Union, and were executed in 1953.

[Included in the papers of Harry Wicks; document reference: MSS.102/6/7/46]

The Hungarian uprising of 1956
The Hungarian uprising of 1956

Photograph showing a squadron of Soviet tanks on the streets in Budapest, following the Red Army invasion of Hungary.

[Included in the archive of the International Transport Workers' Federation; document reference: MSS.159/12/24]

'The tragedy of Hungary', 1956
'The tragedy of Hungary', 1956

Photograph taken at a refugee centre in Austria - "an old lady, blinded by tears and exhausted by grief, is shown as she is handed a cup of coffee and a couple of rolls on her arrival".

[Included in the archive of the International Transport Workers' Federation; document reference: MSS.159/12/24]

'The secret police and you', 1956'The secret police and you', 1956
'The secret police and you', 1956

Pamphlet published by the Campaign for the Limitation of Secret Police Powers. The British pressure group was concerned about the victimisation of individuals because of the political beliefs of themselves, their family or their friends. It was set up following protests over the case of John Lang, who was sacked from his job as solicitor to ICI after it was discovered that his wife had been a Communist before their marriage.

[Included in the archive of the Union of Post Office Workers; document reference: MSS.148/UCW/6/13/42/14]

'Welcome Brother Gagarin', 1961'Welcome Brother Gagarin', 1961
'Welcome Brother Gagarin', 1961

Booklet produced by the Amalgamated Union of Foundry Workers to commemorate the visit of the first man in space to Manchester, three months after his return to earth. Gagarin received a hero's welcome and addressed a meeting of over 10,000 people in the city.

[Included in the archive of the Friendly Society of Iron Founders of England, Ireland and Wales; document reference: MSS.41/FSIF/3/33/22b]

Checkpoint Charlie, American sector, Berlin, 1961
Checkpoint Charlie, American sector, Berlin, 1961

One of a series of photographs taken during the visit of George Woodcock, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, to Berlin.

[Included in the records of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292B/943/19]

The Berlin Wall in its early stages of construction, 1961
The Berlin Wall in its early stages of construction, 1961

One of a series of photographs taken during the visit of George Woodcock, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, to Berlin.

[Included in the records of the Trades Union Congress; document reference: MSS.292B/943/19]

'Cuba! International labour must act now!', 1962'Cuba! International labour must act now!', 1962
'Cuba! International labour must act now!', 1962

Leaflet on the Cuban missile crisis from 'Socialist Fight' (a British Trotskyist journal). It attacks the "plundering" of Latin America by US financial interests, and the overturning of socialist and democratically elected liberal governments by US backed military force.

[Included in the papers of Jimmy Deane; document reference: MSS.325/44/N62(7)]

'The US Naval Base at Guantanamo: Imperialist outpost in the heart of Cuba', [1963?]'The US Naval Base at Guantanamo: Imperialist outpost in the heart of Cuba', [1963?]
'The US Naval Base at Guantanamo: Imperialist outpost in the heart of Cuba', [1963?]

Cuban pamphlet. It attacks the US occupation of the Guantanamo Naval Base, lists "military provocations and violations of Cuban national territory by the Armed Forces of the United States", and outlines cases of torture by the Americans at Guantanamo.

[Included in the papers of Jimmy Deane; document reference: MSS.325/64/Y60/13]

'A wall of peace', 1967'A wall of peace', 1967
'A wall of peace', 1967

Booklet on "the front line city" Berlin, produced by the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). It attacks West Germany for its anti-socialist, pro-American "imperialism" and police brutality, and condemns those crossing the border to the West as spies and subversives.

[Included in the papers of Dick Etheridge; document reference: MSS.202/5/38]

'Zero Hour: H-Bombs on Coventry and Rugby', 1980'Zero Hour: H-Bombs on Coventry and Rugby', 1980
'Zero Hour: H-Bombs on Coventry and Rugby', 1980

Anti-nuclear leaflet, outlining the projected effects of a nuclear attack on the local area.

[Included in the 'Miscellaneous collection' of documents; document reference: MSS.21/1532]

'German Democratic Republic: Short-term detention and political trials', May 1989'German Democratic Republic: Short-term detention and political trials', May 1989
'German Democratic Republic: Short-term detention and political trials', May 1989

Amnesty International report on the situation in East Germany, six months before the Berlin Wall fell.

[Included in the archives of Amnesty International; document reference: MSS.34/4/1/GDR/39]