RFE/RL offices in Munich, Germany, after being bombed in February 1981. Four members of the staff were injured but no one was killed. RFE/RL Photo. (www.rferl.org)
If it were not for independent broadcasting, the world would look quite different today. Without Western broadcasting, totalitarian regimes would have survived much longer. The struggle for freedom would have been more arduous and the road to democracy much longer.
In Poland, as in other communist countries, we listened to Radio Free Europe and other Western broadcasting stations despite the continual interference. From these broadcasting stations we gleaned our lessons of independent thinking and solidarity action.
When it came to radio waves, the iron curtain was helpless. Nothing could stop the news from coming through – neither sputniks nor mine fields, high walls nor barbed wire. The frontiers could be closed; words could not.
The bloodless war on air ended with the defeat of the regimes that tried so hard to suppress the truth. And although today we know well how this recent cold war ended, the study of its course is truly exciting. And so Michael Nelson’s book is worth reading. It is not only a significant contribution to contemporary history but it also makes for a revealing and first-class read.