The OAH Magazine of History

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The Cold War Revisited

from the editor

D-Day in Mosinee, by Carl R. Weinberg

It was six o’clock in the morning on May 1, 1950. In Mosinee, Wisconsin, a small Marathon County papermill town, Mayor Ralph Kronenwetter was still in his pajamas. Suddenly, outside of his house, a man shouted, “Come out with your hands on your head.” Five armed guards stormed inside. They grabbed the mayor, paraded him out the door, and informed him that the Council of People’s Commissars had taken over the town. The man leading the assault was Chief Commissar Joseph Zack Kornfeder (see cover image), who declared Mosinee part of the United Soviet States of America. The communist invasion of Mosinee had begun. Read more >


“A Peace that is No Peace”: The Cold War as Contemporary History,
by Jeremi Suri
Read online >


A Literature So Immense: The Historiography of Anticommunism,
by Marc J. Selverstone
Read online >

The Cold War and the Struggle for Civil Rights,
by Jeff Woods
Read online >

History and Haggar Pants: the Cold War on Tape,
by Mitchell Lerner
Read online >

“I am too young to die”: Children and the Cold War,
by Donna Alvah
Read online >

teaching resources

When Nike Meant Missiles: Exploring Local Vestiges of the Cold War,
by John DeRose
Read online >

The Venona Project and Cold War Espionage,
by Paul Frazier
Read online >

Salt of the Earth: Labor, Film, and the Cold War, (free to public)
by Carl R. Weinberg
Read online >

Simulating the Cold War: The Yalta Conference, (pdf)
by David Ghere
Read online >

Additional Materials

on the cover

Ex-Communist Joseph Zack Kornfeder (1898-1963) assumes the role of Chief Commissar of Mosinee, United Soviet States of America, in the American Legion sponsored mock communist invasion of Mosinee, Wisconsin on May 1, 1950. Along with fellow ex-Communist Benjamin Gitlow, Kornfeder was hired by the Legion to make the two-day Stalinist dictatorship “realistic.” The event drew widespread media attention and was later featured in the film Atomic Café (1987). Historians have paid increasing attention to the impact of the Cold War on American culture.

Francis Miller, Joseph Zack Kornfeder (1950) (Courtesy of Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images).