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The Lessons of Crisis: Vietnam and the Cold War

Over a series of conversations conducted in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, some of the leading figures in post-World War II American politics and policy sat for meetings with members of the Duke faculty and others to discuss the history that they lived—and in many cases…

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Paul Nitze

Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze recounts his role in shaping Cold War policy from the end of World War II through the Reagan administration.
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Reagan, Gorbachev negotiate outside Reykjavik Summit

Vietnam and the Cold War

A chronology of the Cold War, including the US intervention in Vietnam
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Ellsworth Bunker: The Making of a Diplomat

Former ambassador Ellsworth Bunker recounts his formative years in Yonkers, New York and at Yale University, how he came to be in the foreign service, and his impressions of presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S Truman.
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Ellsworth Bunker: Vietnam

Former ambassador Ellsworth Bunker talks about his time as ambassador to South Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War.
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Dean Rusk (Part 1)

Former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk recounts his early life, American recognition of Israel, the Korean War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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Dean Rusk (Part 2)

Former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk discusses the Vietnam War and his relationships with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
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Robert McNamara

Robert McNamara, the former U.S. secretary of defense and president of the World Bank, speaks about the Cuban Missile Crisis, nuclear weapons, and how the nation's top public servants are trained, or not, for their work.
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Evan Osnos

Evan Osnos, staff writer at The New Yorker, discusses his reporting on Donald Trump and white nationalism during the 2016 presidential campaign.
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What is Rutherfurd Living History?

The Living History program is an innovative interview platform, oral history archive and media lab. We’re researching and creating new ways to use recorded interviews as tools for investigating, understanding and narrating current events and issues. The program is part of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy.


The Rutherfurd Living History Program's archives of newsmakers, news breakers, and more, running back to the early 1970s.

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Groups of interviews clustered around a topic, including voting rights in North Carolina and rural poverty in the South.

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Explore interactive timelines that connect and annotate the interviews on this site.

Browse Timelines