cold war

The Sputnik Shock and the Start of the Space Race

The Sputnik Shock and the Start of the Space Race

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union shocked the western world by announcing the first successful launch of an artificial satellite orbiting the earth – Sputnik 1. Prelude – The International Geophysical Year The 1950’s were politically difficult times for the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1952, the International Council of Scientific Unions declared the time lasting from July 1, 1957 to December 31, 1958 as the International Geophysical Year…
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Edward Teller and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

Edward Teller and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

On January 15, 1908, Hungarian born US theoretical physicist Edward Teller, often referred to as ‘Father of the hydrogenic bomb‘, was born. Teller made numerous contributions to nuclear and molecular physics, and is considered one of the inspirations for the character Dr. Strangelove in the 1964 Stanley Kubrick movie of the same name. “There’s no system foolproof enough to defeat a sufficiently great fool.” — Edward Teller, As quoted in “Nuclear Reactions”, by…
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How the ARPANET became the Internet

How the ARPANET became the Internet

On January 1, 1983, the ARPANET as predecessor of today’s internet switched from NCP (Network Control Protocol) to the TCP/IP protocol, and the ARPANET then became one subnet of the early Internet. “There are some people who imagine that older adults don’t know how to use the internet. My immediate reaction is, “I’ve got news for you, we invented it.” — Vint Cerf, a “father of the internet,” quoted at age 73 in…
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Herman Kahn and the Consequences of Nuclear War

Herman Kahn and the Consequences of Nuclear War

On February 15, 1922, American physicist, futurist and system theorist Herman Kahn was born. He became known for analyzing the likely consequences of nuclear war and recommending ways to improve survivability, making him one of three historical inspirations for the title character of Stanley Kubrick‘s classic black comedy film satire Dr. Strangelove. Herman Kahn was born in Bayonne, New Jersey and was raised in the Bronx, later Los Angeles. Kahn attended the…
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Godzilla – The Most Recognizable Icon of Post War Japanese Culture

Godzilla – The Most Recognizable Icon of Post War Japanese Culture

On November 3, 1954, the very first of a series of 28 Godzilla films premiered. The film focuses on Godzilla, a prehistoric monster resurrected by repeated nuclear tests in the Pacific, who ravages Japan and reignites the horrors of nuclear devastation to the very nation that experienced it first-hand. Since his debut, Godzilla has morphed into a worldwide cultural icon. The Most Recognizable Symbol of Japanese Culture Godzilla belongs to the most recognizable…
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Igor Kurchatov – Father of the Soviet Atomic Bomb

Igor Kurchatov – Father of the Soviet Atomic Bomb

On January 12, 1903, Soviet nuclear physicist and Nobel Laureate Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov was born. Kurchatov is widely known as the director of the Soviet atomic bomb project and therefore often referred to as ‘Father of the Soviet Atomic Bomb‘. Youth and Education Igor Kurchatov was born in Simsky Zavod, Ufa Governorate (now the town of Sim, Chelyabinsk Oblast) in the family of a chartered surveyor and his mother a teacher. After completing high…
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Niemand hat die Absicht eine Mauer zu bauen!

Niemand hat die Absicht eine Mauer zu bauen!

You might wonder, why we have a German headline today. But, this is an original quote, and also a very famous one about the Berlin Wall… On June 15, 1961, first Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party and German Democratic Republic State Council chairman Walter Ulbricht stated in an international press conference, “Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten!” (No one has the intention of erecting a wall!) Of course you…
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The World’s Fastest Aircraft – Lockheed SR-71

The World’s Fastest Aircraft – Lockheed SR-71

The SR-71B Blackbird, flown by the Dryden Flight Research Center as NASA 831 slices across the snow-covered southern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California On December 22, 1964, the Lockheed SR-71 Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft started for her maidenflight. Since 1976, it has held the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft. The SR-71’s predecessor was the reconnaissance aircraft U-2. But it was known to be very slow and was mostly…
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The “King of Bombs” and the Craze of Cold War Nuclear Armament

The “King of Bombs” and the Craze of Cold War Nuclear Armament

Zone of total destruction of the Tsar Bomba on a map of Paris: red circle = total destruction On October 30, 1961, the Soviet Union detonated the hydrogen bomb Tsar Bomba over Novaya Zemlya, which still is the largest explosive device ever detonated, nuclear or otherwise. Just to get an idea of the bomb’s power, the Tsar Bomba measured ten times the power of all explosives used during World War II. Still,…
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The Bridge of Spies and the biggest Agent Swap in History

The Bridge of Spies and the biggest Agent Swap in History

Glienicke Bridge Image: Tabea Tietz On June 11, 1985, the biggest agent swap known in history occurred at the Glienicke Bridge in Potsdam. The Glienicke Bridge became very famous during the Cold War, not only for its beauty, but for its function as an agent swapping location for the eastern and western governments. The bridge itself was built in the 17th century in order to guarantee the nobility a connection to Potsdam’s…
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