Texts about the Cold War

Short stories and speeches

"The Tree of War" by Tanya Datta

The story takes place in England and references the nuclear threat that was felt by English citizens. During the 1980s, while Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States, the relationship with the Soviet Union changed for the worse, while the threat of nuclear war scared citizens.

"Gravel" by Alice Munro

The story takes place during the Cold War. The period of time depicted in the story corresponds to the final stage of the Cold War, when massive anti-nuclear protests were taking place worldwide.

"Ich bin ein Berliner" by John F. Kennedy

The US President’s speech from 1963 is a reaction to the construction of the Berlin Wall, and it represents a promise by the US to support and protect West Berlin. Kennedy’s speech is a provocative address towards the Soviet Union and the communist system, which he thinks must be condemned and should not be present in Germany.

Other texts

Below are further suggestions for texts or movies that may be relevant when working with the Cold War. 

  • Alfredson, Tomas - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011 movie)
  • Anthony, Peter - The Man Who Saved the World (2014 documentary)
  • Briggs, Raymond - When the Wind Blows (1982 graphic novel)
  • Clancy, Tom - The Hunt for Red October (1984 novel)
  • Deighton, Len - The IPCRESS File (1962 novel)
  • Gaddis, John Lewis  - The Cold War: A New History (2006 book)
  • George, Peter - Red Alarm (1958 novel)
  • Gorbachev, Mikhail - Memoirs (1995 memoir)
  • Khrushchev, Nikita - Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev (2006 memoir)
  • Kubrick, Stanley - Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964 movie)
  • le Carré, John - The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963 novel)
  • McEwan, Ian - The Innocent (1990 novel)
  • Moore, Alan - Watchmen (1986-1987 comic book series)
  • Reed, Carol - The Third Man (1949 movie)
  • Schepisi, Frederic - The Russia House (1990 movie)
  • Venyamin, Dorman - The Secret Agent's Blunder (1968 movie)
  • Vonnegut, Kurt - Cat’s Cradle (1963 novel)