This section offers a selection of unique primary sources, most of them made available for the first time online. These sources can be used at home or in class, with the accompanying analysis providing a deeper sense of their context in the broader Cold War.
Foes or Friends? The US-Soviet Grain Trade in the Cold War
It may come as a surprise to those accustomed to thinking of the United States and the Soviet Union as enemies during the Cold War to learn that the rival superpowers were also trade partners throughout much of the conflict. The sale of US grain products to the Soviet Union during this time serves as an example of the complex nature of US-Soviet relations.
Krushchev's Visit to Iowa
In September 1959, Nikita Khrushchev became the first Soviet leader to visit the United States. Khrushchev was met with a wide range of reactions in the United States. Some Americans cheered for him and others denounced him. Khrushchev also made a point of visiting the heartland to observe American farming firsthand.
Life and Television in a Cold War Town
On November 20, 1983, 100 million Americans tuned into ABC for a special two-hour television event, The Day After. The film chronicled how a fictitious nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union affects four characters in eastern Kansas and western Missouri. The Day After showed millions of viewers that a nuclear attack would not just impact people in far-away places, but that it could also bring death and suffering to the American heartland.
Sports and Citizen Diplomacy in the Heartland
Sports are sometimes derided as a meaningless and costly spectacle. But at other times, sports can become a vehicle for politics. In the Cold War, governments used athletic competitions as stand-ins for military competitions. Yet in a time of global conflict, citizens also used sports as a platform to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo and advocate for change