Cold War documents

This collection of Cold War documents contains primary sources from the period 1945 to 1991. They have been selected, transcribed and compiled by Alpha History authors. Note: Documents on the Chinese Revolution and Vietnam War are available on our dedicated sites. If you would like to contribute or suggest a document for this collection, please contact Alpha History.

Origins of the Cold War

The London Protocol dividing post-war Germany (September 1944)
American scientists petition against the use of atomic weapons (July 1945)
Harry Truman’s diary entries in Potsdam (July 1945)
The Potsdam resolutions on the administration of post-war Germany (August 1945)
Truman announces the use of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima (August 1945)
Joseph Stalin blames World War II on capitalism (February 1946)
George Kennan’s ‘Long Telegram’ diplomatic note on the Soviet Union (February 1946)
Winston Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech in Fulton, Missouri (March 1946)
Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin responds to Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech (March 1946)
Soviet ambassador Novikov’s version of the ‘Long Telegram’ (September 1946)
George Kennan: “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” (January 1947)
The Treaty of Dunkirk (March 1947)
President Truman outlines his foreign policy approach to Congress (March 1947)
George Marshall explains the need and urgency for European recovery (June 1947)
The Treaty of Brussels (March 1948)
The CIA is authorised to carry out covert operations (June 1948)
The North Atlantic Treaty, or formation of NATO (April 1949)
Dean Acheson’s ‘White Paper’ justifying US policy in China (August 1949)
National Security Council Report 68 (April 1950)

Cold War Berlin

James F. Byrnes’ ‘Speech of Hope’ on German autonomy (September 1946)
Khrushchev demands the Western powers leave West Berlin (November 1958)
The US Ambassador responds to Khrushchev’s speech on Berlin (November 1958)
John F. Kennedy addresses the nation on the Berlin Crisis (July 1961)
Ulbricht and Khrushchev discuss closing the borders in Berlin (August 1961)
The Allies protest the closure of borders in Berlin and the Soviets respond (Augsut 1961)
Ulbricht to Khrushchev on the immediate effects of the Berlin Wall (September 1961)
John F. Kennedy: “Ich bin ein Berliner!” (June 1963)
The US and Soviet governments exchange cables on the Berlin Wall (August 1963)

The Red Scare and McCarthyism

‘How to Spot a Communist’, from LOOK magazine (March 1947)
Executive Order 9835 requires loyalty of government employees (March 1947)
Ronald Reagan testifies before HUAC (October 1947)
Walt Disney testifies before HUAC (October 1947)
Survival Under Atomic Attack, US civil defence pamphlet (1950)
Joseph McCarthy’s ‘Enemies within’ speech (February 1950)
Joseph McCarthy’s letter to Truman on the State Department (February 1950)
Harry Truman responds to McCarthy’s claims in Wheeling (March 1950)
The Suppression of Communism Act, South Africa (July 1950)
The McCarran Act, or Internal Security Act (September 1950)
Joseph McCarthy condemns George Marshall in the Senate (June 1951)
Executive Order 10450 on security for government employees (April 1953)
Edward R Murrow’s editorial on Joseph McCarthy (March 1954)
Joseph McCarthy responds to Edward R Murrow (April 1954)
Evangelist Billy Graham on communism: ‘Satan’s religion’ (1954)
The US Senate resolution censuring Joseph McCarthy (December 1954)
Zero Mostel testifies before HUAC (October 1955)
J. Edgar Hoover: Masters of Deceit (1958)
“This Godless Communism” comic (March 1961)
David A. Noebel: Communism, Hypnotism and The Beatles (1965)
J. Edgar Hoover memorandum on Martin Luther King (July 1965)

Waging the Cold War

The ANZUS treaty forms a tripartite alliance (September 1951)
Harry Truman’s State of the Union address (January 1952)
Dwight Eisenhower’s ‘Chance for Peace’ speech (April 1953)
National Security Council report 162/2 on US military strategy (October 1953)
John Foster Dulles on the adoption of “massive retaliatory power” (January 1954)
Vice president Richard Nixon on US military strategy (March 1954)
Eisenhower explains the Domino Theory with regards to Asia (April 1954)
The Warsaw Pact (May 1955)
Khrushchev’s ‘Secret Speech’ denouncing Stalinism (February 1956)
Eisenhower asks Congress for help resisting communism (January 1957)
John Foster Dulles on Cold War issues and policies (April 1957)
John Foster Dulles on the launching of Sputnik I (May 1957)
Gaither Report recommends more US ballistic missiles (November 1957)
A transcript of the Nixon-Khrushchev ‘Kitchen Debate’ (July 1959)
A US intelligence report on how space programs were perceived around the world (July 1959)
Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell speech (January 1961)
John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech (January 1961)
Kennedy says his government’s priority is peace (June 1963)
Johnson and McNamara discuss the situation in Vietnam (February 1964)
Ronald Reagan: “A time for choosing” (October 1964)
Robert McNamara on Kennedy, the Domino Theory and Vietnam (1966)

The Hungarian Uprising

A report on US efforts to disseminate anti-communist propaganda in Hungary (March 1955)
The reformist demands of Hungarian students (October 1956)
British journalist Sefton Demler describes the Hungarian Uprising (October 1956)
Soviet leaders decide to suppress the uprising in Hungary (October 1956)
Hungary’s cabinet votes to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact (November 1956)
Hungarian prime minister Imre Nagy appeas for help from the UN (November 1956

The U2 incident

CIA instructions issued to U-2 pilots flying over hostile territory (1960)
Soviet diplomatic note to the US on the U2 incident (May 1960)
President Eisenhower explains the purpose of U2 missions (May 1960)
Khrushchev addresses the UN on the U2 spyplane incident (September 1960)

Cuba and the missile crisis

The UN Security Council urges negotiation between the US and Cuba (July 1960)
Soviet leader Khrushchev promises to support and defend Cuba (July 1960)
John F Kennedy’s address after the Bay of Pigs fiasco (April 1961)
Fidel Castro condemns US aggression against Cuba (April 1961)
Fidel Castro: Why does the US hate the Cuban Revolution? (February 1962)
A CIA appraisal of the political, economic and military situation in Cuba (August 1962)
A CIA report on the Soviet-backed military build up in Cuba (September 1962)
US intelligence report says the installation of Soviet missiles in Cuba is unlikely (September 1962)
The first intelligence reports of Soviet ballistic missiles in Cuba (October 1962)
An evaluation of the Soviet missile threat in Cuba, by US intelligence bodies (October 1962)
Kennedy and his advisors discuss a response to the Cuban missiles (October 1962)
President John F Kennedy announces a naval quarantine of Cuba (October 1962)
Castro responds to Kennedy’s announcement of a blockade (October 1962)
Adlai Stevenson confronts Soviet ambassador Zorin in the UN Security Council (October 1962)
Khrushchev’s letter to Kennedy urging a resolution of the crisis (October 1962)
Delegates from the US and USSR debate the Cuban missile crisis in the UN (October 1962)
Kennedy’s alternative speech announcing an attack on Cuba (October 1962)
The Church Committee summarises American plots against Fidel Castro (April 1976)
Robert McNamara reflects on the Cuban missile crisis (2003)

Ludvik Vaculik: The Two Thousand Words Manifesto (June 1968)
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (July 1968)
The Warsaw Pact’s Bratislava Declaration (August 1968)
The Soviet ultimatum to end the Prague Spring (August 1968)
The Treaty of Moscow between the USSR and West Germany (August 1970)
Richard Nixon announces his plans to visit China (July 1971)
The Four Powers Agreement on Berlin (September 1971)
A summary of Richard Nixon’s meeting with Mao Zedong (February 1972)
The Basic Treaty between East and West Germany (December 1972)
Richard Nixon writes to Leonid Brezhnev (June 1973)
Leonid Brezhnev addresses the American people on television (June 1973)
The US-Soviet Agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War (June 1973)
The Helsinki Accords on Security and Cooperation (August 1975)
The Church Committee condemns domestic intelligence-gathering on US civilians (1976)
“Charter 77” calls for better human rights in Czechoslovakia (January 1977)
Jimmy Carter protests the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (December 1979)
Brezhnev responds to Carter’s protests about Afghanistan (December 1979)
President Jimmy Carter on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (January 1980)

The ‘Second Cold War’

Margaret Thatcher: “Britain awake” (January 1976)
Margaret Thatcher on Anglo-Soviet relations (October 1979)
Ronald Reagan explains his foreign policy if elected (October 1980)
Ronald Reagan addresses the British parliament (June 1982)
NSDD-54: Reagan outlines US policy towards Soviet bloc nations (September 1982)
Letters between Samantha Smith and Yuri Andropov (November 1982-April 1983)
President Ronald Reagan’s ‘Evil Empire’ speech (March 1983)
Transcripts from Soviet personnel during the attack on Korean Air Flight 007 (September 1983)
Ronald Reagan’s address to the nation on the Korean air disaster (September 1983)
Ronald Reagan on the international response to Flight 007 (September 1983)
Ronald Reagan addresses the people of Cuba via Radio Martí (January 1984)

The end of the Cold War

Margaret Thatcher recalls her first meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev (December 1984)
Helen Caldicott on the effects of a nuclear strike (May 1986)
Ronald Reagan’s Berlin speech, urging Gorbachev to ‘tear down this wall’ (June 1987)
Ronald Reagan’s radio address on the Berlin Wall and the future of Berlin (August 1987)
Resolutions of the Reagan-Gorbachev Moscow Summit (June 1988)
Mikhail Gorbachev addresses the UN on Soviet reforms (December 1988)
George Bush on US-Soviet relations in the post-Cold War world (May 1989)
US intelligence paper: “The Soviet system in crisis” (November 1989)
The German Unification Treaty (August 1990)
Communist hardliners justify their attempted coup against Mikhail Gorbachev (August 1991)
The Minsk Agreement dissolves the Soviet Union (December 1991)