Spying in Cold War East Germany

166 TUTOR: Peter Williams (CMG OBE)

For over four decades, Berlin was the focus of Cold War tension and the scene of an unending struggle as NATO and Warsaw Pact countries fought to discover each other's secrets. The tutor himself spent six years in Berlin as an intelligence officer, serving in BRIXMIS, the British liaison organisation that operated with, and against, its Soviet counterparts in the German Democratic Republic commonly known as East Germany. This course will cover highlights of Cold War espionage and how the Allies maintained West Berliners' liberty. It will examine, in depth, how the Allied Military Liaison Missions conducted highly effective military intelligence operations against their Soviet adversaries.

2 PM
PM course

Course Notes

Day One: Introduction to the week's programme; the Fall of Berlin; an overview of Berlin's geostrategic importance throughout the Cold War; the Allied Control Council and other Military Missions; the Berlin Airlift; the Berlin Wall; the Allied garrisons; the Fall of the Wall and the Reunification of Germany.

Day Two: Berlin as the Espoinage Capital of Europe; the Eavesdropping Tunnel; Signals Intelligence; Spy Exchanges on the Glienicke Bridge; Flag Tours in East Berlin and the British Military Train.

Day Three: Allied Liaison with their Soviet military counterparts; formal liaison agreements; 'tour' patrols to monitor 'normality' in the Soviet Zone (later East Germany); serving in BRIXMIS in the 1980s; training; overt liaison tasks; Spandau Prison duties; the French, American and Soviet Military Liaison Missions.

Day Four: Overflights within the Berlin Control Zone; coordination of Allied 'tour' patrols in East Germany; observation of airfields and other air-related targets; convoys and rail movement; deployment areas; 'scavenging'; technical intelligence.

Day Five: Dramas and 'detention' arrests; three specific incidents involving the tutor; fatalities; what was achieved; post-Cold War revelations from the Stasi files and other classified archives; attempts to 'capture the BRIXMIS experience' in the 21st century.

Reading List:

'BRIXMIS in the 1980s: The Cold War's Great Game', by Peter Williams

'Beyond the Frontline: The Untold Exploits of Britain's Most Daring Cold War Spy Mission', by Tony Geraghty (Harper Collins 1996; ISBN 000255616 2)

'Live and Let Spy: BRIXMIS - The Last Cold War Mission', by Steve Gibson (The History Press 2012; ISBN 978075246580 7)

'Battleground Berlin: CIA vs KGB in the Cold War', by David E Murphy, Sergei A Kondrashev and George Bailey (Yale University Press 1997; ISBN 0300078714)

'Spies beneath Berlin', by David Stafford (John Murray, 2002: ISBN 0719563232)

'The Bridge of Spies: A True Story of the Cold War', by Giles Whittell (Simon & Schuster 2010; ISBN 978085720164 5)

'The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake', by Roger Hermiston (Aurum Press 2013; ISBN 9781781310465)

'The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989', by Frederick Taylor (Bloomsbury 2006; ISBN 139780747580157)

'Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall', by Anna Funder (Granta Books 2003; ISBN 1862076553)

Students will require no equipment.

E-mail: fraddsmeadow@hotmail.com

Course Tutor

Peter Williams


About Peter

After studying History at Cambridge University, Peter Williams spent over 30 years in the Coldstream Guards and enjoyed an unusually varied career. During the Cold War he specialised in intelligence, serving first in Berlin from 1973 to 1975 as a Regimental Intelligence Officer. He then studied Russian and German before spending more than four years in the 1980s in Berlin and East Germany as an officer in the British Commanders'-in-Chief Mission to the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (known as BRIXMIS), in effect working as a military spy. In 1984 he was awarded an MBE for his success as an intelligence collector and analyst.

Ten years later he was given an OBE for commanding his battalion on peacekeeping operations in Bosnia during the civil war. He went on to complete two more 6-month tours in the former Yugoslavia with the United Nations and with NATO.

His final posting was from 2002 to 2005 in Moscow, where he started up and led NATO's Military Liaison Mission to the Russian Federation, working on military cooperation projects, including defence reform and peacekeeping issues, with the Russian armed forces. On leaving Moscow he was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George. He retired from the Army in December 2005.

He now enjoys giving talks on cruise ships, to military academies, schools and summer schools and to charity audiences about the Cold War and other current and historical issues; these include talks under the Government-sponsored pro bono 'Speakers for Schools'scheme. He also helps to train British military diplomats.

He is the Chairman of the BRIXMIS Association and was, until 2013 the editor of The Guards Magazine, the in-house journal of the British Army's Household Division (Household Cavalry and Foot Guards).

He is married to Anne, a language teacher and jewellery designer. They live in north Wiltshire and have three grown-up children and two grandsons.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM