Remembering Ronald Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” Speech

On June 12, 1987 President Ronald Reagan, standing before the iconic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin with the Berlin Wall looming behind him, issued his famous challenge to the leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” President Reagan’s words that day have been credited with placing considerable pressure on the Soviet…

Seventieth Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

Today marks an important and symbolic anniversary in European and global history: 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet army. Death, war and destruction have been a constant of human history; but the attempt to exterminate an entire people systematically demonstrated new levels of human-orchestrated horrors in the 20th century. The message…

Rewriting history? Polish FM says Ukrainians liberated Auschwitz, Russia puzzled

The Polish FM’s statement that it was the Ukrainians who liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp has puzzled Moscow. Russia’s UN envoy remarked that the Soviet Army, which liberated the camp, was actually multinational. “The 1st Ukrainian front and Ukrainians liberated [the concentration camp], as on that January day there were Ukrainian soldiers, so they opened…

The Most Accurate Prediction in History?

Twenty years ago, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down, and with it fell the Soviet Union and its empire of tyranny throughout Eastern Europe. In August 1977, the British journalist and broadcaster Bernard Levin had predicted what eventually happened. He was right about why it would happen, how it would happen, and…

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956: The Event that Shook the World

The events surrounding the 1956 Hungarian Revolution are closely linked to my family. My grandparents and my father fled Hungary after the revolution to settle and build a new life in Canada. The events in Hungary demonstrated to the world the true face of communist oppression in Eastern Europe, and ripped a hole in the…

Podcast: The Nazi-Soviet Pact

Although this past August 23, 2014 marks the date in which the Nazi-Soviet Pact (also know as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) was signed in 1939, History Today is featuring a podcast delivered by Roger Moorhouse to discuss the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939-41. You can read Roger’s article on the subject, Under Two Flags , in the…

How the CIA secretly published Dr Zhivago

Boris Pasternak’s famous novel Doctor Zhivago remained unpublished in the USSR until 1988, because of its implicit criticism of the Soviet system. But for the same reason, the CIA wanted Soviets to read the book, and arranged the first-ever publication in Russian. BBC News – How the CIA secretly published Dr Zhivago