Additional Resources

There are many readily accessible resources on the Cold War available online, in regional museums and institutions, and in your local library. The following is only a small sample of what’s out there. These materials have been selected because of their connections to the themes and issues addressed by the Cold War in the Heartland project.

Online Resources

Part of the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program, the Cold War International History Project has gathered a wealth of historical materials from governments on all sides of the Cold War. Its Digital Archive contains many declassified Soviet documents that have been translated into English and would serve as ideal material for a student research project.

George Washington University’s National Security Archive also contains thousands of documents relating to the history of the Cold War, many obtained through US Freedom of Information Act requests. The archive’s Russia Programs site contains excellent documents and analysis of the Cold War and its legacy from American and Russian perspectives.

In its online project, Cold War Dispatches: Service Stories from 1947-1991, the Library of Congress has assembled a diverse set of interviews with US veterans who served during the Cold War.

The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in Philip, South Dakota offers virtual tours of a Cold War-era missile complex.

Seventeen Moments in Soviet History is a wonderful resource for exploring the broader history of the Soviet Union with students through primary sources arranged by year and by theme.

A Visual Guide to the Cold War, produced by our colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, offers a unique collection of American and Soviet photographs, cartoons, posters, and movie clips.

YouTube is a surprisingly rich repository of government-produced and private films and television shows made in the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, including the 1983 television movie The Day After

Museum and Institutions

This project benefitted from assistance from a host of local museums and institutions that can visited by teachers and students. In Kansas, the Watkins Museum of History, operated by the Douglas County Historical Society, has fascinating collections showcasing everyday life in the Cold War and has run past exhibits exploring how the conflict affected local residents. At the University of Kansas, the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics hosts events and holds an important archive of Senator Dole’s records, with many materials relating to the Cold War. Some of these archival materials can be viewed online. Another local archive with rich materials is the University of Kansas’ Kenneth Spencer Research Library, which contains records relating to Lawrence’s citizen-led initiatives in the Cold War.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has a curated online collection of articles and objects pertaining to the history of the “space race” between the United States and the Soviet Union and the broader competition in air power between the two countries.

The Wende Museum in Culver City, California is dedicated to collecting artifacts related to the Cold War. Its website offers online exhibitions and its collection of past exhibition catalogs make for wonderful teaching resources.


Nick Abadzis’ Laika (First Second Books, 2007) is a moving graphic novel which tells the story of the Soviet dog that was the first living creature in orbital spaceflight. The novel explores the Soviet space program from the perspective of its scientists and engineers, as well as from the point of view of Laika, formerly a stray dog on the streets of Moscow.

Beth Bailey’s Sex in the Heartland (Harvard University Press, 2002) explores changing notions of gender and sexuality amidst the upheaval of the 1960s, focusing on how the Cold War-era “sexual revolution” was experienced in Lawrence, Kansas.

Landry Brewer’s Cold War Oklahoma (The History Press, 2019) and Cold War Kansas (Arcadia, 2020) offer a detailed view of the prominent roles each state played in the Cold War.

Kate Brown’s Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2013) is a compelling comparative account of two cities, one American, the other Soviet, involved in the production of plutonium. Brown uncovers the devastating environmental impact of the “Nuclear Age” and its lingering consequences today.

Mary L. Dudziak’s Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2011) places the American civil rights movement in its Cold War perspective, arguing that the Cold War helped hasten domestic social reforms, including desegregation.

Gretchen Heefner’s The Missile Next Door: The Minuteman in the American Heartland (Harvard University Press, 2012) looks at the placement of 1,000 Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles across the Great Plains during the Cold War and considers how the effort changed the way people living in the region relate to the US government.

Kristin L. Hoganson’s The Heartland: An American History (Penguin, 2019) argues against the myth of the “heartland” as an isolated and unchanging region, persuasively showing its position as a crossroads of global trends in migration, commerce, and culture.

While this site has primarily focused on the oral accounts of Americans in the Cold War, several books explore the conflict from a Soviet perspective. Donald J. Raleigh’s Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of Russia’s Cold War Generation (Oxford University Press, 2013) provides an intimate and insightful perspective based on sixty interviews the author conducted in post-Soviet Russia. Nobel Prize-winning journalist and oral historian Svetlana Alexievich, from Belarus, has written a series of books based on interviews with ordinary Soviet and post-Soviet citizens. In Boys in Zinc (Penguin, 2016) she captures the voices of Soviet participants in the Soviet-Afghan war; in Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future (Penguin, 2016) she provides an account of the nuclear disaster based on more than 500 interviews with eyewitnesses; in Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets (Random House, 2016) she gathers testimony detailing the human consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

To truly understand the Cold War, it is necessary to grasp its broader global and historical context. Odd Arne Westad’s The Cold War: A World History (Basic Books, 2017) provides an authoritative account of the conflict’s global sweep and legacy. Vladislav Zubok’s A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev places the Cold War in context of longer-term historical trends in Russia and the Soviet Union (University of North Carolina Press, 2009).