Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

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Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty (RL) were among America's most successful weapons during the Cold War. Their assigned task, to disseminate information and stimulate unrest behind the Iron Curtain , indisputably influenced the fall of Communism. This work aims to offer a clear and detailed history of the radio stations, often regarded as somewhat shadowy institutions. The author reveals connections between RFE, RL, and the CIA, which provided covert funding for the stations during the critical start-up years in the early 1950s. He also describes the efforts of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries to thwart the stations, including jamming attempts, assassinations of radio journalists, and the infiltration of spies onto the radios' staff. He confronts the controversies that engulfed the stations throughout the Cold War, most notably the RFE broadcasts described as inflammatory and irresponsible during the Hungarian revolution. He reveals how RFE prevented the Communist authorities from establishing a monopoly on the dissemination of information in Poland, and describes the crucial roles played by the stations as the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union broke apart.