Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Records

The RFE/RL Broadcast and Corporate Records are a rich and extraordinary resource for the study of the Cold War through one of the leading organizations that fought it. As a conflict of ideas and ideologies, the Cold War was unique not for its muddy battlefields and the stench of dead bodies so much as for the culture wars it inaugurated by broadcasting decadent Western music to Eastern Europe and by creating Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty as a surrogate national outlet for news and cultural programming for the Soviet Bloc.

RFE/RL Corporate Records, Box 100, Folder 39, Hoover Institution Archives

Announcing the launch of Radio Free Europe's broadcasts to Poland


Comprising 10.5 million pages and more than 300,000 sound recordings from the 1950s to 2013, the records are separated in two collections representing broadcast and corporate arms. Many of the broadcast records are housed off-site, requiring advance notice for use. Contact RFE/RL project archivist shmelev [at] stanford [dot] edu (Anatol Shmelev) before visiting to determine availability.

The sound recordings are fragile and often unique. As a result, digital use copies must be made for listening. Thousands already exist, including the entire Armenian, Hungarian, and Polish services. The Polish service, which is available via Polish Radio, covers the period from 1954 to 1994. Much of the Czechoslovak service has been digitized and is available from the Czechoslovak Documentation Center at the National Museum, and recordings of the Hungarian service are available at the National Széchényi Library. Copies of sound recordings not yet digitized may be ordered. For further information, contact recorded sound archivist brburke [at] stanford [dot] edu (Brandon Burke) before visiting.

Other Institutions with RFE/RL Related Collections:

RFE/RL Copyright

RFE/RL Broadcast Records

Contains materials intended for broadcast or related to the language services

RFE/RL Corporate Records

Concerns the policies and organization of the Free Europe Committee and RFE and the Radio Liberty Committee and RL

Arch Puddington Collection

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

Sig Mickelson Papers

President of RFE/RL, 1975–78

Tibor Flórián Papers

Hungarian-American writer and RFE staff member

Paul B. Henze Papers

Deputy Political Advisor, RFE, Munich, Germany

David Webster Papers

Chairman, Trans-Atlantic Dialogue on European Broadcasting

Marek Lehnert Papers

RFE correspondent, Rome

Ferdinand Peroutka Papers

Chief, Czechoslovak Desk, RFE

Barbara Nawratowicz Papers

RFE Polish section music director


See More:

RFE/RL Archival Collections     RFE/RL Library Materials

Prague Spring 1968 Broadcasts of Radio Free Europe Released

Friday, October 31, 2014

Hundreds of broadcast recordings from the Prague Spring of 1968, the pivotal Cold War moment when Czechoslovakia introduced democratic reforms that were snuffed out by a Soviet invasion, are now available to scholars in the Hoover Archives' reading room.

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Interviews of Radio Free Europe Polish Service Employees Digitized

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Audiocassette recordings of interviews of former Polish employees of Radio Free Europe (RFE) have been digitized by Hoover's audio lab for preservation and access.

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Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Latvian Service Audiotapes Digitized

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hoover’s entire collection of audiotapes created by RFE/RL’s Latvian Language Service has been digitized for preservation and access. Use copies of the recordings are available for listening at the Hoover Archives.


Sound Recordings of Arch Puddington's Interviews Digitized

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

After serving as assistant director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in the New York office from 1985 to 1993, Arch Puddington wrote Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (University Press of Kentucky, 2000). His research material for the book represents the bulk of the Arch Puddington collection at Hoover. Ninety sound recordings in the collection, consisting chiefly of Puddington's interviews of RFE/RL staffers, have been digitized for preservation and access by Hoover's audio lab.

Barbara Nawratowicz Papers Digitized

Sound Recordings in the Barbara Nawratowicz Papers Digitized

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More than twenty-five audiotapes from the papers of Barbara Nawratowicz have been digitized for preservation and access by Hoover's audio lab. Nawratowicz was the music director of Radio Free Europe's Polish service; the recordings comprise both spoken-word and musical genres. Many of the recordings are undated; those with dates range from 1952 to 1991.

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Updated Guides to RFE/RL Records Available

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Greatly expanded guides to the records of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty at the Hoover Institution Archives are now available. The revised guides, known as finding aids, reflect a significant increment to the materials as well as the continued processing of the records.

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond

Hoover fellow A. Ross Johnson discusses his latest book, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A. Ross Johnson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, adviser to the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Archive Project at Hoover, senior adviser to the president of RFE/RL, and a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Johnson discusses his latest book, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond.

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Oral History Recordings about Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Digitized

Thursday, January 13, 2011

An extensive set of recorded oral histories about Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in the Sig Mickelson papers has been digitized by Hoover's audio lab.

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Sound Recordings in Ferdinand Peroutka Papers Digitized by Hoover

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A dramatization of Ferdinand Peroutka's play Šťastlivec Sulla, along with a number of his radio addresses and interviews, is among the more than forty audio recordings in the Peroutka papers digitized by the Hoover Archives.




Contact L&A For assistance contact hooverarchives [at] stanford [dot] edu or 650-723-3563


Anatol Shmelev

Anatol Shmelev

e: shmelev [at] stanford [dot] edu
p: 1-650-724-6200

Conference on Impact of Cold War Broadcasting, 2004

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International researchers and former officials met at the Hoover Institution to address the impact of Western broadcasting—especially Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)—during the cold war.

Conference report

Vaclav Havel's video message

Johnson, A. Ross and R. Eugene Parta, eds. Cold War Broadcasting; Impact on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Central European University Press, 2010.

Film and Audio


The Most Incredible Challenge, 1965 (28:20)

This Is Radio Free Europe, 1964 (28:16)

President Kennedy supports RFE, clip from Margin for Victory, 1962 (00:59)

Jamming signals, clip from Towers of Truth (00:28)

Freedom Bell, clip from How Your Truth Dollars Fight for Freedom, 1954 (00:26)

RFE transmitters, clip from This is Radio Free Europe, 1964 (2:10)

99 Luftballoons carry RFE messages, clip from Winds of Freedom (2:40)


What Do They Really Think of Us? 1951 (15:05)

The Radio Free Europe Story, 1951 (13:00)

Exclusive Phil Woods recording for Radio Liberty, 1963 (1:01)

Harold B. "Min" Miller announces launch of RFE's broadcasts to Poland, 1952 (5:49)

Suggested Readings

Hill, Cissie Dore. "Voices of Hope: The Story of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty." Hoover Digest, 2001 No. 4.

Johnson, A. Ross. Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty; the CIA Years and Beyond. Stanford University Press and Wilson Center Press, 2010.

Johnson, A. Ross. "To the Barricades." Hoover Digest, 2007 No. 4.

Lynn, Katalin Kádár, ed. The Inauguration of "Organized Political Warfare": The Cold War Organizations Sponsored by the National Committee for a Free Europe/Free Europe Committee. Helena History Press, 2013.

Parta, R. Eugene. Discovering the Hidden Listener: An Assessment of Radio Liberty and Western Broadcasting to the USSR during the Cold War. Stanford, California: Hoover Press, 2007.