This week we launch into the Cold War, the longstanding “almost conflict” that defined much of the 20th century and one that could have ended the world in minutes had it turned hot (see the bonus lecture on the Cuban Missile Crisis).

This is also the era where intelligence and espionage take some big leaps forward and the stereotypes about it really start to take shape.

Some questions for discussion:

Was the Cold war really a “cold” war? In what ways was it not? We also see the creation of the CIA and KGB. In what ways were these organizations and how did they differ. How did they define security do you think?

Optics played a big part in the Cold War so how does that conflict “look” when it comes to spies? How did the era of the 1950s shape what the “model spy” was supposed to be and how they acted? Consider race, class and gender and the historical stories we need more of.

My article is titled after a quote from one of the most mysterious figures (I think) in Canadian intelligence history, Peter Dwyer, who claimed that in the “field of espionage there’s no such thing as peacetime.” Was he wrong? If not, what does that mean? When does war ever end? 


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