Cold War Legacy, The [The Compass] [World Service]

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01Czechoslovakia2019102320191027 (WS)Thirty years ago, communism suddenly collapsed across central and eastern Europe. Soviet rule, that had seemed ruthless and permanent, was ended by people power. And nowhere did change seem more miraculous than in Czechoslovakia. A ‘velvet revolution’ replaced a stony faced politbureau with a beaming playwright, President Vaclav Havel. There was much talk of democracy, prosperity, and a full embrace of Western values.

Three decades on, Chris Bowlby, who knew Czechoslovakia before and after its revolution and split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, returns to see how that change looks now. How far have the hopes of the 1989 revolutionaries been fulfilled? What role has nationalism – which split Czechoslovakia in two – come to play? What do new generations of Czechs, now on the streets fighting their own political battles, feel about the future as well as the communist past? And as Russian and Chinese influence grows – while the West’s commitment seems more uncertain – how do places like this now fit into a world few could have imagined as the Cold War ended?

(Photo: Members of Diky, ze muzem (Thanks That We Can), celebrating 30 years since the fall of communism in Narodni Street, Prague, scene of pro-democracy protests in 1989. Credit: Lukáš Bíba /Reportér magazín)

What do new generations of Czechs feel about the future as well as the communist past?

The Compass - exploring our world.

01The Cold War Legacy: Czechoslovakia2019102320191027 (WS)
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Thirty years ago, communism suddenly collapsed across central and eastern Europe. Soviet rule, that had seemed ruthless and permanent, was ended by people power. And nowhere did change seem more miraculous than in Czechoslovakia. A ‘velvet revolution’ replaced a stony faced politbureau with a beaming playwright, President Vaclav Havel. There was much talk of democracy, prosperity, and a full embrace of Western values.

Three decades on, Chris Bowlby, who knew Czechoslovakia before and after its revolution and split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, returns to see how that change looks now. How far have the hopes of the 1989 revolutionaries been fulfilled? What role has nationalism – which split Czechoslovakia in two – come to play? What do new generations of Czechs, now on the streets fighting their own political battles, feel about the future as well as the communist past? And as Russian and Chinese influence grows – while the West’s commitment seems more uncertain – how do places like this now fit into a world few could have imagined as the Cold War ended?

(Photo: Members of Diky, ze muzem (Thanks That We Can), celebrating 30 years since the fall of communism in Narodni Street, Prague, scene of pro-democracy protests in 1989. Credit: Lukáš Bíba /Reportér magazín)

What do new generations of Czechs feel about the future as well as the communist past?

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

The Compass - exploring our world.

Thirty years ago, communism suddenly collapsed across central and eastern Europe. Soviet rule, that had seemed ruthless and permanent, was ended by people power. And nowhere did change seem more miraculous than in Czechoslovakia. A ‘velvet revolution’ replaced a stony faced politbureau with a beaming playwright, President Vaclav Havel. There was much talk of democracy, prosperity, and a full embrace of Western values.

Three decades on, Chris Bowlby, who knew Czechoslovakia before and after its revolution and split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, returns to see how that change looks now. How far have the hopes of the 1989 revolutionaries been fulfilled? What role has nationalism – which split Czechoslovakia in two – come to play? What do new generations of Czechs, now on the streets fighting their own political battles, feel about the future as well as the communist past? And as Russian and Chinese influence grows – while the West’s commitment seems more uncertain – how do places like this now fit into a world few could have imagined as the Cold War ended?

(Photo: Members of Diky, ze muzem (Thanks That We Can), celebrating 30 years since the fall of communism in Narodni Street, Prague, scene of pro-democracy protests in 1989. Credit: Lukáš Bíba /Reportér magazín)

What do new generations of Czechs feel about the future as well as the communist past?

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

Thirty years ago, communism suddenly collapsed across central and eastern Europe. Soviet rule, that had seemed ruthless and permanent, was ended by people power. And nowhere did change seem more miraculous than in Czechoslovakia. A ‘velvet revolution’ replaced a stony faced politbureau with a beaming playwright, President Vaclav Havel. There was much talk of democracy, prosperity, and a full embrace of Western values.

Three decades on, Chris Bowlby, who knew Czechoslovakia before and after its revolution and split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, returns to see how that change looks now. How far have the hopes of the 1989 revolutionaries been fulfilled? What role has nationalism – which split Czechoslovakia in two – come to play? What do new generations of Czechs, now on the streets fighting their own political battles, feel about the future as well as the communist past? And as Russian and Chinese influence grows – while the West’s commitment seems more uncertain – how do places like this now fit into a world few could have imagined as the Cold War ended?

(Photo: Members of Diky, ze muzem (Thanks That We Can), celebrating 30 years since the fall of communism in Narodni Street, Prague, scene of pro-democracy protests in 1989. Credit: Lukáš Bíba /Reportér magazín)

What do new generations of Czechs feel about the future as well as the communist past?

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

02Brazil20191030After six years of fighting, the Second World War was over but the respite was brief. Soon the former allies (the USA and USSR, along with their allies) were locked into another conflict against each other, one which lasted almost four and a half decades. The Cold War was a battle of ideology, politics, spies and military supremacy, with a sometimes terrifying arms race and nuclear proliferation. Like WWII before it, the Cold War was truly global as the two camps struggled for influence and control across all continents. It may have officially ended in 1991 but its ramifications can still be felt today.

We travel to Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia to examine what impact the Cold War had back then and how it still resonates today especially with the younger generation who may not have lived through it but are still living with its aftermath.

Episode two: Brazil
Brazil’s controversial new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has praised the country’s military dictatorship, which took power in 1964 and ruled for twenty-one years. In an echo of the language used by the generals back then, President Bolsonaro claims he is saving his country from Communism and he has vowed to wipe the reds off the map. His critics say he is a threat to democracy.

In this sharply divided country, some say Brazil is re-living the Cold War. Through history, culture and the classroom, the BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson explores Brazil’s Cold War legacy.

The Cold War ended 30 years ago but its impact is still being felt across the world.

The Compass - exploring our world.

02The Cold War Legacy: Brazil2019103020200329 (WS)
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Brazil’s controversial new President, Jair Bolsonaro, has praised the country’s military dictatorship, which took power in 1964 and ruled for 21 years. In an echo of the language used by the generals back then, President Bolsonaro claims he is saving his country from Communism and he has vowed to wipe the reds off the map. His critics say he is a threat to democracy.

In this sharply divided country, some say Brazil is reliving the Cold War. Through history, culture and the classroom, the BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson explores Brazil’s Cold War legacy.

Presenter: Katy Watson
Producer: John Murphy

(Photo: Brazilian army tanks arrive at Guanabara Palace, on 01 April 1964 in Rio de Janeiro during the military putsch. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Jair Bolsonaro has vowed to wipe the reds off the map. Is Brazil reliving the Cold War?

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

Brazil’s controversial new President, Jair Bolsonaro, has praised the country’s military dictatorship, which took power in 1964 and ruled for 21 years. In an echo of the language used by the generals back then, President Bolsonaro claims he is saving his country from Communism and he has vowed to wipe the reds off the map. His critics say he is a threat to democracy.

In this sharply divided country, some say Brazil is reliving the Cold War. Through history, culture and the classroom, the BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson explores Brazil’s Cold War legacy.

Presenter: Katy Watson
Producer: John Murphy

(Photo: Brazilian army tanks arrive at Guanabara Palace, on 01 April 1964 in Rio de Janeiro during the military putsch. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Jair Bolsonaro has vowed to wipe the reds off the map. Is Brazil reliving the Cold War?

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

Brazil’s controversial new President, Jair Bolsonaro, has praised the country’s military dictatorship, which took power in 1964 and ruled for 21 years. In an echo of the language used by the generals back then, President Bolsonaro claims he is saving his country from Communism and he has vowed to wipe the reds off the map. His critics say he is a threat to democracy.

In this sharply divided country, some say Brazil is reliving the Cold War. Through history, culture and the classroom, the BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson explores Brazil’s Cold War legacy.

Presenter: Katy Watson
Producer: John Murphy

(Photo: Brazilian army tanks arrive at Guanabara Palace, on 01 April 1964 in Rio de Janeiro during the military putsch. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Jair Bolsonaro has vowed to wipe the reds off the map. Is Brazil reliving the Cold War?

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

Brazil’s controversial new President, Jair Bolsonaro, has praised the country’s military dictatorship, which took power in 1964 and ruled for 21 years. In an echo of the language used by the generals back then, President Bolsonaro claims he is saving his country from Communism and he has vowed to wipe the reds off the map. His critics say he is a threat to democracy.

In this sharply divided country, some say Brazil is reliving the Cold War. Through history, culture and the classroom, the BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson explores Brazil’s Cold War legacy.

Presenter: Katy Watson
Producer: John Murphy

(Photo: Brazilian army tanks arrive at Guanabara Palace, on 01 April 1964 in Rio de Janeiro during the military putsch. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Jair Bolsonaro has vowed to wipe the reds off the map. Is Brazil reliving the Cold War?

The Compass - exploring our world.

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

03The Cold War Legacy: Indonesia2019110620191110 (WS)
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In 1965, in a little known chapter of the Cold War, at least half a million people died in organised military-led killings of suspected communist sympathisers in Indonesia, with the blessing of the United States. For almost 50 years speaking about that time has been taboo, and school history books gloss over the killings. Attempts by the current government to start a process of truth-telling and reconciliation are reopening old wounds and have met fierce resistance from the military and old guard. Communism remains banned in Indonesia and students have been detained for reading Marxist books. But the silence is being broken.

Rebecca Henschke travels across Java to meet some of the killers, those still seeking justice and brave members of the young generation who are seeking out the truth and trying to come to terms with what happened in one of the darkest periods of Indonesia’s history.

(Photo: Pipet’s daughter holding a photo of Pipet’s mum Ani, with others at the detention camp where they were held in the 1960s and 70s) Photo credit: Anindita Pradana – BBC Indonesia

In 1965, some half a million people died in military-led killings of suspected communists

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

The Compass - exploring our world.

In 1965, in a little known chapter of the Cold War, at least half a million people died in organised military-led killings of suspected communist sympathisers in Indonesia, with the blessing of the United States. For almost 50 years speaking about that time has been taboo, and school history books gloss over the killings. Attempts by the current government to start a process of truth-telling and reconciliation are reopening old wounds and have met fierce resistance from the military and old guard. Communism remains banned in Indonesia and students have been detained for reading Marxist books. But the silence is being broken.

Rebecca Henschke travels across Java to meet some of the killers, those still seeking justice and brave members of the young generation who are seeking out the truth and trying to come to terms with what happened in one of the darkest periods of Indonesia’s history.

(Photo: Pipet’s daughter holding a photo of Pipet’s mum Ani, with others at the detention camp where they were held in the 1960s and 70s) Photo credit: Anindita Pradana – BBC Indonesia

In 1965, some half a million people died in military-led killings of suspected communists

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

In 1965, in a little known chapter of the Cold War, at least half a million people died in organised military-led killings of suspected communist sympathisers in Indonesia, with the blessing of the United States. For almost 50 years speaking about that time has been taboo, and school history books gloss over the killings. Attempts by the current government to start a process of truth-telling and reconciliation are reopening old wounds and have met fierce resistance from the military and old guard. Communism remains banned in Indonesia and students have been detained for reading Marxist books. But the silence is being broken.

Rebecca Henschke travels across Java to meet some of the killers, those still seeking justice and brave members of the young generation who are seeking out the truth and trying to come to terms with what happened in one of the darkest periods of Indonesia’s history.

(Photo: Pipet’s daughter holding a photo of Pipet’s mum Ani, with others at the detention camp where they were held in the 1960s and 70s) Photo credit: Anindita Pradana – BBC Indonesia

In 1965, some half a million people died in military-led killings of suspected communists

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

04India20191113After six years of fighting, the Second World War was over but the respite was brief. Soon the former allies (the USA and USSR, along with their allies) were locked into another conflict against each other, one which lasted almost four and a half decades. The Cold War was a battle of ideology, politics, spies and military supremacy, with a sometimes terrifying arms race and nuclear proliferation. Like WWII before it, the Cold War was truly global as the two camps struggled for influence and control across all continents. It may have officially ended in 1991 but its ramifications can still be felt today.

We travel to Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia to examine what impact the Cold War had back then and how it still resonates today especially with the younger generation who may not have lived through it but are still living with its aftermath.

Episode four: India
We automatically think of the two superpowers, the USA and the Soviet Union, fighting for power and influence in the Cold War, but India chose not to take sides. Its stance during this period was a clever interplay of diplomacy, moving between the two as it tried to prioritise its own interests. The ‘Non-Aligned Movement’ was a coalition of countries created in a newly independent India, by the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru believed that in an atomic age, peace was the only guarantee of survival.

This stance was tested in the coming decades. After the death of Nehru, under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, India began building up its armed defences which led to India signing a quasi-military agreement with the Soviet Union. India has continued strong relationships with both USA and Russia today. A deal to open a new Kalashnikov factory has been signed this year with Russia and India has been hosting the 2019 Russian Army Games, inviting several former eastern bloc countries in friendly military competition. Trade liberalisation has brought India closer to the USA and it enjoys ‘major defence partner’ status. But what will the future look like as President Trump ramps up the pressure on India to comply with its demands over trade and energy policy. Will India bend to the will of the USA or form new alliances and continue to choose its own path as it did during the Cold War?

The Cold War ended 30 years ago but its impact is still being felt across the world.

The Compass - exploring our world.

04The Cold War Legacy: India2019111320191117 (WS)
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Divya Arya looks at what happened in India at the height of the Cold War, and afterwards as the Berlin Wall came down, 30 years ago. She explores the rich politics of a country which chose not to pick a side during the Cold War. Where realpolitik and clever diplomacy have been key components for Indian leaders on the world stage from Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1940s to Narendra Modi today.

As two superpowers fought for power and influence during the Cold War, India played a game of diplomacy, moving between the USA and Soviet Union, whilst trying to prioritise its’ own interests. The Non Aligned Movement was founded in a newly independent India, by the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. It is the position that India took when it formed a coalition of countries which refused to pick a side, instead remaining friendly with both. Nehru believed that in an atomic age, peace was the only guarantee of survival. This stance was tested during the 1950s and 1960s; India signed a quasi-military agreement with the Soviet Union but trade liberalisation has brought India closer to the USA more recently. How is India navigating international relations today? Does it bend to the will of the USA or can it continue to choose its own path as it did during the Cold War?

Presenter: Divya Arya
Producer: Nina Robinson

(Photo: Maharaja Krishna Rasgotra (M K Rasgotra) is an Indian diplomat and former Indian Foreign Secretary under Indira Gandhi)
Credit: Nina Robinson, BBC

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

The Compass - exploring our world.

Divya Arya looks at what happened in India at the height of the Cold War, and afterwards as the Berlin Wall came down, 30 years ago. She explores the rich politics of a country which chose not to pick a side during the Cold War. Where realpolitik and clever diplomacy have been key components for Indian leaders on the world stage from Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1940s to Narendra Modi today.

As two superpowers fought for power and influence during the Cold War, India played a game of diplomacy, moving between the USA and Soviet Union, whilst trying to prioritise its’ own interests. The Non Aligned Movement was founded in a newly independent India, by the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. It is the position that India took when it formed a coalition of countries which refused to pick a side, instead remaining friendly with both. Nehru believed that in an atomic age, peace was the only guarantee of survival. This stance was tested during the 1950s and 1960s; India signed a quasi-military agreement with the Soviet Union but trade liberalisation has brought India closer to the USA more recently. How is India navigating international relations today? Does it bend to the will of the USA or can it continue to choose its own path as it did during the Cold War?

Presenter: Divya Arya
Producer: Nina Robinson

(Photo: Maharaja Krishna Rasgotra (M K Rasgotra) is an Indian diplomat and former Indian Foreign Secretary under Indira Gandhi)
Credit: Nina Robinson, BBC

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

Divya Arya looks at what happened in India at the height of the Cold War, and afterwards as the Berlin Wall came down, 30 years ago. She explores the rich politics of a country which chose not to pick a side during the Cold War. Where realpolitik and clever diplomacy have been key components for Indian leaders on the world stage from Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1940s to Narendra Modi today.

As two superpowers fought for power and influence during the Cold War, India played a game of diplomacy, moving between the USA and Soviet Union, whilst trying to prioritise its’ own interests. The Non Aligned Movement was founded in a newly independent India, by the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. It is the position that India took when it formed a coalition of countries which refused to pick a side, instead remaining friendly with both. Nehru believed that in an atomic age, peace was the only guarantee of survival. This stance was tested during the 1950s and 1960s; India signed a quasi-military agreement with the Soviet Union but trade liberalisation has brought India closer to the USA more recently. How is India navigating international relations today? Does it bend to the will of the USA or can it continue to choose its own path as it did during the Cold War?

Presenter: Divya Arya
Producer: Nina Robinson

(Photo: Maharaja Krishna Rasgotra (M K Rasgotra) is an Indian diplomat and former Indian Foreign Secretary under Indira Gandhi)
Credit: Nina Robinson, BBC

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

05The Cold War Legacy: Angola2019112020200419 (WS)
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What will it take for Angola to be truly free of the legacy of Africa's Cold War?

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

What will it take for Angola to be truly free of the legacy of Africa's Cold War?

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

Andrew Harding travels to Angola, and the site of Africa’s largest battlefield in the Cold War. When Portugal relinquished its colonies in 1975, it looked as though a Communist-backed government would take over in Angola. Instead, there followed nearly 30 years of fighting: American and South African-backed rebels on one side, Cuban and Soviet-backed forces on the other. Nearly half a million Cubans – soldiers, doctors, teachers and technicians – made the six thousand mile journey to play their part in Angola’s long and bloody civil war.

The Cold War ended thirty years ago, but its proxy in Angola rumbled on for another decade, fuelled as much by the rich resources of oil and minerals as by political ideology. Today, a peaceful Angola is one of the wealthiest countries on the African continent. Yet vast tracts of land are still contaminated by the hidden terror of landmines, and dotted with the rusting hulks of abandoned tanks. What will it take for Angola to be truly free of the legacy of Africa’s Cold War?

Presenter: Andrew Harding
Producer: Rebecca Lipscombe

Picture Credit: BBC

What will it take for Angola to be truly free of the legacy of Africa's Cold War?

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

The Compass - exploring our world.

Andrew Harding travels to Angola, and the site of Africa’s largest battlefield in the Cold War. When Portugal relinquished its colonies in 1975, it looked as though a Communist-backed government would take over in Angola. Instead, there followed nearly 30 years of fighting: American and South African-backed rebels on one side, Cuban and Soviet-backed forces on the other. Nearly half a million Cubans – soldiers, doctors, teachers and technicians – made the six thousand mile journey to play their part in Angola’s long and bloody civil war.

The Cold War ended thirty years ago, but its proxy in Angola rumbled on for another decade, fuelled as much by the rich resources of oil and minerals as by political ideology. Today, a peaceful Angola is one of the wealthiest countries on the African continent. Yet vast tracts of land are still contaminated by the hidden terror of landmines, and dotted with the rusting hulks of abandoned tanks. What will it take for Angola to be truly free of the legacy of Africa’s Cold War?

Presenter: Andrew Harding
Producer: Rebecca Lipscombe

Picture Credit: BBC

What will it take for Angola to be truly free of the legacy of Africa's Cold War?

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

Andrew Harding travels to Angola, and the site of Africa’s largest battlefield in the Cold War. When Portugal relinquished its colonies in 1975, it looked as though a Communist-backed government would take over in Angola. Instead, there followed nearly 30 years of fighting: American and South African-backed rebels on one side, Cuban and Soviet-backed forces on the other. Nearly half a million Cubans – soldiers, doctors, teachers and technicians – made the six thousand mile journey to play their part in Angola’s long and bloody civil war.

The Cold War ended thirty years ago, but its proxy in Angola rumbled on for another decade, fuelled as much by the rich resources of oil and minerals as by political ideology. Today, a peaceful Angola is one of the wealthiest countries on the African continent. Yet vast tracts of land are still contaminated by the hidden terror of landmines, and dotted with the rusting hulks of abandoned tanks. What will it take for Angola to be truly free of the legacy of Africa’s Cold War?

Presenter: Andrew Harding
Producer: Rebecca Lipscombe

Picture Credit: BBC

What will it take for Angola to be truly free of the legacy of Africa's Cold War?

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society