Resources at Harvard University


Scholars will find a large amount of archival evidence on the Cold War here at Harvard, much of it stored in the offices of the Cold War Studies. Tens of thousands of photocopied documents stored in Coolidge Hall are now being cataloged. Most are already available to researchers, and the rest will be available later this year. Visit the Online Archive page on this site to view scanned versions of some of these holdings. Detailed archival guides are also now available at the CWS offices (see below).

In addition, the CWS has worked with the Harvard Library Service to purchase microfilms of important document collections. Of particular interest is an invaluable set of photocopied and microfilmed documents from the late General Dmitrii Volkogonov, whose daughter Olga transferred them to Mark Kramer in 1997-98.


State Department microfilm holdings. The Harvard Libraries possess a vast collection of microfilmed U.S. State Department documents to supplement the Foreign Relations of the United States series and other official Department of State print publications. This collection includes the Records of the Department of State series, dating back to 1910. For information regarding coverage of specific time periods, geographic regions, and Cold War events and themes, please consult the on-line Harvard Library MARC catalog (HOLLIS) or the reference desk downstairs in the Government Documents division of Lamont Library.

Soviet History Bibliography - compiled by Andrea Graziosi


Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four


At Widener Library:


British Foreign Office files on the US, politics and diplomacy, for 1960-1974; the files on the US and the Cold War; and the files on the US and Vietnam, 1959-1975.

The official papers of several Secretaries of State: Marshall, Acheson, Dulles, and Herter, as well as a collection of press conferences by the various Secretaries of State, 1922-1973.

Collections from the Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, and Nixon presidential libraries.

Eisenhower's office files and diaries; the minutes and documents of the cabinet meetings of LBJ [which include special briefings by the Departments of State and Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CIA]; the Confidential File of the Johnson White House [documents segregated by staff, often containing security or administratively classified content]; oral histories from the LBJ administration [including those by Sam Adams, William Bundy, William Colby, Averell Harriman, Richard Helms, etc.]; as well as the Johnson Administration "pacification in Vietnam" files [the Robert Komer-William Leonhart files].

The minutes of National Security Council meetings from the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, as well as the NSC files on Asia and the Pacific, 1963-1969, and on Vietnam, 1961-1969; the Top-Secret hearings by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 1959-1966; and CIA Research Reports on Vietnam and Southeast Asia, 1946-1976.

At Lamont Library:

Primary Source Microfilms. Russian Archives: The Cold War and the Central Committee

Series 1: The International Department, 1953-1957. 126 reels.

Series 2: The General Department of the Central Committee, 1953-1966. 118 reels.

Series 3: Plenums of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1941-1990. Fond 2, Opisi 1, 3, and 5. Approx. 190 reels.

Series 4: Communist Party of the Soviet Union Congresses, 1955-1986. Fond 1, Opisi 2-9. Approx. 180 reels.


Chadwyck-Healey microfilm holdings. Includes all opisi (catalogs of holdings) of GARF and RTsKhIDNI archives, plus roughly 10,000 reels of microfilmed documents from RTsKhIDNI, GARF, and RGANI, numbering more than 25 million pages. This invaluable microfilm collection was purchased thanks to a generous donation from a Harvard alumnus. Harvard and Stanford are the only two places outside Moscow at which the collection is available.

At the HPCWS offices:

The HPCWS archive. These photocopies of archival documents from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union are in the process of being cataloged and put online. For a general sense of their purview we have provided a brief outline:
Outline of HPCWS archive


Series: "Osobye papki": The "Special Files" of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs. Series Editors: S.V. Mironenko and V.A. Kozlov

Tom 1. "Osobaia papka" I.V. Stalina

The "Special Files" of I. V. Stalin, 1944-1953

A detailed description of the 2,237 files directed to Stalin from the Secretariat of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Tom 2. "Osobaia papka" V.M. Molotova

The "Special Files" of V.M. Molotov, 1944-1956

A detailed description of the files directed to Molotov from the Secretariat of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Tom 3. "Osobaia papka" N.S. Khrushcheva i perepiska MVD SSSR s TsK KPSS (1957-1959 gg.)

The "Special Files" of N.S. Khrushchev and Correspondence of the MVD of the USSR with the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 1957-1959.

Tom 4. "Osobaia papka" L.P. Berii

The "Special Files" of L.P. Beria, 1946-1949. A detailed description of the files directed to Beria from the Secretariat of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

  The State Archive of the Russian Federation: A Guide [3 Volumes]:

Tom 1. Fondy Gosudarstvennogo Arkhiva Rossiiskoi Federatsii po istorii Rossii XIX-nachala XX vv.

Volume 1. Collections of the State Archive of the Russian Federation on the History of Russia from the 19th to the Beginning of the 20th Centuries. Edited by Gregory L. Freeze and S.V. Mironenko. (Moscow, 1994)

Tom 2. Fondy Gosudarstvennogo Arkhiva Rossiiskoi Federatsii PO istorii RSFSR.

Volume 2. Collections of the State Archive of the Russian Federation on the History of the RSFSR.

[Holdings of the former TsGA RSFSR]

Edited by Jeffrey Burds and S.V. Mironenko. (Moscow, 1994)

Tom 3. Fondy Gosudarstvennogo Arkhiva Rossiiskoi Federatsii PO istorii SSSR.

Volume 3. Collections of the State Archive of the Russian Federation on the History of the USSR. Edited by S.V. Mironenko. (Moscow, 1997)

  Research Guide to Materials on the History of Russian Jewry

Genrykh M. Deich, Putevoditel': Arkhivnye Dokumenty po istorii Evreev v Rossii v XIX-nachale XX vv. A Research Guide to Materials on the History of Russian Jewry (19th and early 20th Centuries) in Selected Archives of the Former Soviet Union. Edited and Introduced by Benjamin Nathans. (Moscow, 1994)

Guide to the Documents of Fond 89: Arkhivy Kremlya i Staroi Ploshchadi, Dokumenty po "Delu KPSS"; Annotirovannyi spravochnik dokumentov, predstavlennykh v Konstitutsionnyi Sud Rossiiskoi Federatsii po "Delu KPSS."

  The Papers of Leon Trotsky

When the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in November 1917, two figures stood out among the leaders of the uprising: Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Lenin was the founder of Bolshevism and the single-minded catalyst of revolution, but Trotsky's role in the events of November 1917 was no less important. Trotsky was instrumental in the formation and guidance of the Military Revolutionary Committee, which spearheaded the Bolshevik coup d'e'tat. Over the next three years he gained renown in Russia and throughout the world for his skill in organizing the Red Army against loyalist White forces. The Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War in November 1920 boosted Trotsky's fortunes still further. When it became clear in the early 1920s that Lenin was seriously ill, Trotsky was widely viewed as the most plausible successor.

Within a few short years, however, the whole situation had changed. Even before Lenin's death in 1924, Trotsky was rapidly losing ground to his long-time nemesis and rival, Josif Stalin. Although a secret British diplomatic report in 1925 described Trotsky as "the most powerful figure in Russian Bolshevism" and "the most significant individual in socialist revolutionary Europe," Stalin, in fact, had already attained a decisive edge. Trotsky, for all his revolutionary tenacity, often seemed remarkably inept in his high-level political maneuvering, and he lacked the drive and instinct needed to attain dominance within the leadership. In part because of Trotsky's mistakes, Stalin rapidly consolidated his own power. In October 1926 Trotsky was removed from the Politburo, and a year later he was ousted from the Central Committee. Within another month he was expelled from the Communist party, and in January 1929 he was driven out of his homeland for good.
Until nearly the end of his life, Trotsky harbored at least a faint hope of returning to the Soviet Union. In March 1933, while in exile in Turkey, Trotsky sought to reconcile himself with the Soviet leadership, professing a readiness to "enter into preliminary negotiations without any publicity" and proclaiming his "goodwill" in attempting to "ease the strained atmosphere." He made at least two further attempts at reconciliation in the latter half of the 1930s. Stalin spurned all such overtures and instead ordered the secret police (NKVD) to liquidate Trotsky. After Stalin gave his final orders to the NKVD's chief of "special tasks," Pavel Sudoplatov, in March 1939, a large-scale operation got under way in Mexico. It took nearly a year-and-a-half -- and one botched effort -- before an NKVD agent was finally able to penetrate the security around Trotsky in August 1940 and lodge an ice-pick in Trotsky's head. Having dedicated his life to the cause of violent revolution, Trotsky himself met a violent and grisly end.

Shortly before his death, Trotsky had begun making preparations for the sale of his papers to Harvard University. The transaction was completed by Trotsky's widow, and the archive was transferred to Harvard in two installments in the 1940s. Trotsky's papers from before 1929 were promptly opened to scholars, but the materials he wrote and received while in exile were kept closed until 1980 at the request of both Trotsky himself and his widow. Since then, the full collection has attracted scholars from around the world.


  Special Collection : Poland and the Solidarity Movement

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Polish blue-collar workers embarked on a series of bold actions against the Communist regime. Mass labor protests against the government's abrupt announcement of food price increases in December 1970 were a milestone in the development of group cohesion and consciousness among Polish workers. Strike committees in Szczecin and Gdansk forged links with factories all over Poland, voicing demands for genuinely independent workers' organizations. Despite the regime's use of force against the strikes, the workers persisted until the government rescinded the price increases in February 1971. This achievement further galvanized the incipient labor movement in Poland and promoted "class solidarity" among disparate groups of workers.

Over the next few years, however, the Polish authorities were able to retract much of what they had conceded, as they clamped down on workers' organizations and sought to reestablish the monopoly of the Communist party (PZPR) over all aspects of labor relations. These efforts ultimately proved futile, despite a brief period of social tranquility in the early 1970s when economic output grew rapidly on the basis of heavy borrowing from abroad. When the government's import-led strategy faltered and collapsed in the mid- to late 1970s, harsh austerity measures were reimposed. In June 1976 another announcement of increases on food prices sparked strikes and protests around the country. Links among workers were quickly revived and strengthened, as the structure of a nationwide movement emerged spontaneously. Within less than 24 hours the government was forced to back down, giving workers a more powerful sense of their collective ability to bring about desired political change.

Soon after the June 1976 protests had subsided, the authorities launched a wave of repression against the strike organizers, sentencing many to long prison terms. These measures, it turned out, provided only a temporary respite. The crackdown inspired a group of prominent intellectuals to set up the Committee for Workers' Defense (KOR) in September 1976, and the success of KOR prompted the formation of other dissident groups, including some calling for independent labor organizations. Workers in central Poland established a small unofficial trade union in late 1977, the first such entity in the Soviet bloc. Soon thereafter, similar bodies were set up on a local basis elsewhere in Poland. The Polish authorities cracked down harshly against these unofficial unions, but a solid basis had been laid for the momentous events of 1980-81.

Amidst a surge of strikes and protests in the summer of 1980 the "Solidarity" trade union was established as the first nationwide workers' organization outside the control of the PZPR. The independent status of Solidarity was formally approved by the Polish government in the historic Gdansk accords at the end of August. The new trade union soon gained a membership of nearly 10 million (i.e., half the adult population of Poland), enabling it to rival the PZPR for de facto political control. When martial law was imposed in December 1981, Solidarity and its affiliated organizations were banned, and they remained officially illegal until early 1989.

The collection of Solidarity materials in Houghton Library were gathered from workers' organizations all over Poland. Most of the items pertain to the 1980-81 crisis, but a substantial number stem from earlier bouts of mass unrest. Together they provide a unique view of the emergence of an independent labor movement in Poland.