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History - Cold War: Primary Sources
A special topic guide for researching the Cold War.
The Atomic Heritage Foundation (AHF), founded by Cynthia Kelly in 2002, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in Washington, DC, dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Age and its legacy.
CIA Library - This collection provides interesting Agency insights on this post-WWII spy case. Documents cover, among many other topics, US intelligence activities, including FBI-CIA cooperation; USSR intelligence activities; the Rosenberg espionage network's collection against the US atomic energy program; their attempts to protect the network as US authorities closed in on it; their arrest; Soviet propaganda; the Soviet's protest of the Rosenberg's sentencing; and Moscow's reaction to the execution of their spies.
Hoover Institution, Stanford University - Collections are from US secretaries of state, individual activists and propagandists, and many émigré groups involved in the ideological struggle. Important subsets are collections relating to “citizen diplomacy,” in which individuals and organizations acted to defuse international tensions, particularly the danger of nuclear conflict; records of organizations on the front lines, such as the Free Europe Committee (later RFE/RL), involved in broadcasting and other activities aiming to penetrate the Iron Curtain; and papers relating to the role of the Third World in the confrontation.
Wilson Center Digital Archive - Since its establishment in August 1991, the Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) has amassed a tremendous collection of archival documents on the Cold War era from the once secret archives of former communist countries. CWIHP has become internationally recognized as the world’s preeminent resource on the Cold War.
Full-text of of over 58,000 declassified primary documents central to U.S. foreign and military policy since 1945. Each collection contains a range of policy documents, including presidential directives, memos, diplomatic dispatches, meeting notes, independent reports, briefing papers, White House communications, email, confidential letters and other secret material. Additionally, contextual and reference supplements are provided for each collection, including general introductory material, a chronology, glossary and bibliography.
This five-volume collection of Senate hearings is available online (in PDF format). Volumes 1-4 cover the 1953 hearings, and 1954 hearings are found in volume 5. Also available in print: Young Library, U.S. Government Publications (5th floor), Y 4.G 74/9:S.PRT.107-84/V.1-5
The FBI has converted many FOIA documents to an electronic format (PDF), and they may be viewed here. In the case of voluminous pages, only summaries or excerpts from the documents are online. Subjects are sorted alphabetically by first name. You can also use your browser's find feature to locate subjects on the page.
This collection focuses on the ideals that formed the basis of American policy toward the Soviet Union during the early years of the Cold War. The collection includes 57 documents totaling 681 pages covering the years 1945 through 1952. Supporting materials include photographs, oral history transcripts, biographies and a chronology of events. Related collections available from the Truman Library include subject guides on the Berlin Airlift, Korean War, Marshall Plan, Truman Doctrine and United Nations.
February 9th, 1950: McCarthy “discovered Communism the way Columbus discovered America.” Here is a record of McCarthy’s infamous interrogations of accused “communists,” with commentary from Emile de Antonio describing how in fact the junior Senator from Wisconsin perfected “the big lie technique” that basically resulted in witch hunts persecuting, in particular, academics.
In this oral history website Brookyn College students narrate two historical episodes: their experiences of working on farms during World War II, and the events surrounding the suspension of the Vanguard, the student newspaper in a postwar McCarthy era climate.
Full-text access to colonial and early American history, with titles from 23 states and D.C. Also covers large collection of African American publications. With issues from over 700 titles (for many titles the holdings are scattered); includes Kentucky titles.
Provides full-text of newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic and minority press, with more than 280 publications offering both national and regional coverage. Includes publications from Asian-American, Jewish, African-American, Native-American, Arab-American, Eastern-European, and multi-ethnic communities. Nearly 25% of the publications Spanish language.
Provides selected full-text for 40 national (U.S.) and international newspapers, including USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, The Times (London), and The Toronto Star. contains selective full text for 489 regional (U.S.) newspapers. In addition, full-text television & radio news transcripts are also provided.
The leading Black newspaper of the 20th century reached its peak in the 1940s. The Amsterdam News was a strong advocate for the desegregation of the U.S. military during World War II, and also covered the historically important Harlem Renaissance.
Includes access to over 5,600 news, business, legal, medical and reference publications (most full-text, the rest abstracted), primarily newspapers, magazines and journals. Includes the New York Times.
One of the most nationally circulated Black newspapers, the Pittsburgh Courier reached its peak in the 1930s. A conservative voice in the African-American community, the Pittsburgh Courier challenged the misrepresentation of African-Americans in the national media and advocated social reforms to advance the cause of civil rights.
News and press clippings from mainstream publications in South Africa, from 1978 to present day. Since much reporting on Africa is done in South Africa, these newspapers provide coverage of a range of issues facing countries throughout the entire African continent.
For more than 60 years the University of Kentucky Libraries have preserved Kentucky newspapers, making them freely available to researchers, genealogists, and the general public. Today, the Kentucky Digital Newspaper Program (KDNP) brings those newspaper collections to a global audience through an online interface that's fully keyword searchable, replete with color page images, calendar browsing, and web-based html newspaper content alongside traditional print media.
Searchable full text of all articles except records lists (e.g., births, police reports) and PAID obituaries. Also find records lists for the archives and the most current seven issues by using the search box at the bottom of the page at the Herald-Leader's archives page.
The Foreign Broadcast Information Service is a federal agency that monitors and translates foreign media into English. FBIS Daily Reports are translated transcripts of foreign radio and television broadcasts, news agency transmissions, newspapers, periodicals, and government statements. The reports contain political, military, economic, environmental, and sociological news and information. To locate and access the full-text translations use the Index to the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) daily reports.
Contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports bound by session of Congress. It began publication with the 15th Congress, 1st Session (1817). Documents before 1817 may be found in the American State Papers. In general, it includes: committee reports related to bills and other matters, presidential communications to Congress, treaty materials, certain executive department publications, and certain non-governmental publications.
The U.S. Serial Set, a full-text collection of U.S. Government publications compiled under the directive of Congress, includes Congressional reports and documents, executive agency and departmental reports ordered to be printed by Congress, the American State Papers, and all maps, illustrations, photos, and lithographs found within the U.S. Serial Set during the time period covered.
Using InfoKat Discovery To Find Primary Sources
In addition to specialized digital collections and historical news article databases, you can also use the Libraries' catalog to locate primary sources. Here are some search tips:
Limit your search to a specific time period (must use Advanced Search limiter "publication date"). Or after your search, filter your results by "Date."
Use certain subject words like "sources," "personal narrative," "periodicals," "diary," or letters" to find things that might be primary sources. It's often useful to sort by year as well.