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The Cold War: Primary Materials

Primary Materials


  • Digital National Security Archive 
    DNSA offers access to primary documents from the National Security Archive which reflect the most significant declassified primary documents central to US foreign and military policy since 1945. Included are presidential directives, memos, diplomatic dispatches, confidential letters, email, and other secret material.
  • Foreign Relations of the United StatesGOVT S1.1:date

    The series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. While Colby holds the entire set of print volumes in the Miller Compact shelving Documents stacks, the series is gradually being digitized and made available on the Web. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations may be found in varying degrees of completeness on the Web. Augment Web resources with the print.

  • A Decade of American Foreign Policy: Basic Documents, 1941-1949 GOVT S1.69:415
  • American Foreign Policy 1950-1955 GOVT S1.71/2:950-955
  • American Foreign Policy. Current Documents. 1956+ GOVT S1.71/2:1956
  • American Foreign Relations: A Documentary History (1971-1978)  JX 231 .A4
  • Documents on American Foreign Relations (1939-1966)  JX231 .D6
  • Public Papers of the Presidents 1929+ GOVT AE2.114:date Presidential statements, speeches, press conferences, and other remarks are gathered in this set arranged by President and year.
  • The Cumulated Indexes to the Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States (index begins with Truman.) REF J82 .D7 (10 vols) Look for primary materials (speeches, letters, autobiographies, etc.) from Presidents and others in the catalog under the name of the individual as author. Ex: Powers, Gary Francis; Stalin.
  • Documentary History of the Truman Presidency E813 .D56 1995-
    A ten-volume set which may be found in the Miller Stacks.
  • Congressional Publications
    Provides indexing to House and Senate Committee Hearings, Committee Prints, Senate Executive Documents and Reports for all congresses. Congresses corresponding to Cold War years are the 80th (1947/1948) – 102nd (1991-1992). See the U.S. Congressional Serial Set below for the full text of many reports to Congress during this time.
  • The U.S. Congressional Serial Set


  • Cumulative Subject Index to the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications 1900-1971
    Request from the Storage Facility REF Z1223 .Z7 C8
  • Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Documents
    Request from the Storage Facility  REF Z1223 .A159
  • The Congressional Record provides the published remarks made by members of the House and Senate each day that Congress is in session. Members of Congress may have additional material inserted into the written record.
    The CR is held in several different formats:
    1873-1973 Microfilm - Request from Storage
    1974-1976 Paper  - Request from Storage by classification # X93-X94
    1977+ Microfiche- Request from Storage by classification #X95/1 +
    1985+ available from Congressional Publications
    Indexing for CR: Request from Storage  classification # GOVT X. Congress/Session.
  • Major Studies and Issue Briefs of the Congressional Research Service. 1916+ microforms.  Request from storage.
    CRS provides research and policy analysis on national and international issues used by Congress as background for congressional investigations and legislative proposals. All reports are included in the Colby catalog.
  • Special Studies Series

    Series includes important policy studies conducted by private and governmental research groups. Colby holds the following:
    Africa, 1962-1980
    Microfilm 1535
    Guide: Ref DT30.5 .A47
    Asia, 1980- Supplement
    Microfilm 1536
    Guide: Ref DS35 .A85
    China, 1970-1980
    Microfilm 1757
    Guide: Ref DS777.547 .C44668
    Europe and NATO, 1970-1980
    Microfilm 1816-1826
    Guide: Ref D845.2 E83
    Japan, Korea, and the Security of Asia, 1970-1980
    Microfilm 1786-1789
    Guide: RefDS518.1 .J35 1981
    Latin America, 1962-1994
    Microfilm 1542
    Guide: Ref F1414.2 .L3 (date)
    Nuclear Weapons, Arms Control, and the Threat of Thermonuclear War, 1969-1984 Microfilm 1790-1806, 1807-1815, 1930-1941, Guide:Ref JX1974.7 G84
    Soviet Union, 1970-1991
    Microfilm 1576
    Guide: Ref DK274.S6
    Vietnam and Southeast Asia, 1960-1980 Microfilm 1593
    Guide: Ref DS518.1
  • FBIS Daily Report Series (Soviet Union, China, Near East, etc.) 1942-1996
    The Foreign Broadcast Information Service of the U.S. Government monitors foreign media and provides English translations.
  • Current Digest of the Soviet Press 1949-1992 (weekly)
     Paper copies held in History Dept. Seminar Room.
  • Department of State Bulletin (1939-1989) "Official monthly record of U.S. foreign policy". Indexed in PAIS , as well as having an annual index. Held in Miller Periodical stacks.
  • Confidential U.S. State Department Central Files: the Soviet Union
    Internal Affairs 1945-1949, 1950-1954 (Microfilm 1927-1865, 1976-1913)
    Guides: Ref DK266 .A3 G829
    Foreign Affairs 1945-1949, 1950-1954 (Microfilm 1866-1875, 1914-1925)
    Guides: REF DK 266 .A3 G83 1985
  • Documents of the National Security Council (U.S.) 1947-77
    Microfilm 1521-1531,1956-1958
    Guide REF JX234 .N3
    The NSC plays an important role in advising the President on all domestic, foreign, and military matters bearing on our national security.
  • United Nations Documents Collection 1982+
    Microfiche 350
    Index: AccessUN 1945+
    Included are Official Records, masthead documents, draft resolutions, meeting records.
  • Annual Review of United Nations Affairs
     JX 1977 .A1 A5 1949+

Catalog Tips

The Colby Catalog will lead you to primary and secondary material.

Use secondary sources to find references to primary sources.

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  • Names of people

Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964

Brezhnev, Leonid Ilʹich, 1906-1982

  • United States- foreign relations- 1945-
  • Atomic bomb
  • Cold war
  • United States Foreign Relations- Russia
  • Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Berlin (Germany) History Blockade, 1948-1949

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