Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Records

The RFE/RL Broadcast and Corporate Records are a rich and extraordinary resource for the study of the Cold War through one of the leading organizations that fought it. As a conflict of ideas and ideologies, the Cold War was unique not for its muddy battlefields and the stench of dead bodies so much as for the culture wars it inaugurated by broadcasting decadent Western music to Eastern Europe and by creating Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty as a surrogate national outlet for news and cultural programming for the Soviet Bloc.

RFE/RL Corporate Records, Box 100, Folder 39, Hoover Institution Archives

Announcing the launch of Radio Free Europe's broadcasts to Poland

Hoover marks the sixtieth anniversary of the famed 1956 revolution in Hungary by digitizing and making available rare scripts documenting the event

Radio Free Europe scholar A. Ross Johnson discusses Cold War radio in Hoover Digest

The Rhetoric of Radio

Stanford's "Rhetoric of Radio" class meets with Radio Free Europe archivists and sound recording specialists at Hoover


Comprising 10.5 million pages and more than 100,000 sound recordings from the 1950s to 2006, the records are separated in two collections representing broadcast and corporate arms. Many of the broadcast records are housed off-site, requiring advance notice for use. Contact RFE/RL project archivist Anatol Shmelev before visiting to determine availability.

The sound recordings are fragile and often unique. As a result, digital use copies must be produced before recordings can be made available. Thousands already exist and are available now on Hoover’s Digital Collections site, including more than 5,500 RFE/RL broadcast recordings and 160 RFE/RL corporate recordings.

Available services include:

RFE/RL Copyright

Copies of sound recordings not yet digitized may be ordered. For further information, email hoover-library-archives [at]

Additional recordings available via the following online resources:

  • Szabad Európa Rádió >>
    • Hungarian broadcasts from 22 October-12 November 1956
    • National Széchényi Library (Budapest)
  • Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Archives >>
    • Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Tatar-Bashkir, Turkmen and Uzbek Service broadcasts from the 1990’s
    • Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center, University of Indiana (USA)
RFE/RL Broadcast Records

Contains materials intended for broadcast or related to the language services

RFE/RL Corporate Records

Concerns the policies and organization of the Free Europe Committee and RFE and the Radio Liberty Committee and RL

Arch Puddington Collection

Wrote Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

Sig Mickelson Papers

President of RFE/RL, 1975–78

Tibor Flórián Papers

Hungarian-American writer and RFE staff member

Paul B. Henze Papers

Deputy Political Advisor, RFE, Munich, Germany

David Webster Papers

Chairman, Trans-Atlantic Dialogue on European Broadcasting

Marek Lehnert Papers

RFE correspondent, Rome

Barbara Nawratowicz Papers

RFE Polish section music director

Ferdinand Peroutka Papers

Chief, Czechoslovak Desk, RFE

marek latynski Papers

Director, RFE Polish Service, 1987-89


See More:

RFE/RL Archival Collections     RFE/RL Library Materials


Other institutions with RFE/RL-related collections include:

Hoover Announces the Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty Historical Recording Description Project

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Hoover Institution Library & Archives seeks volunteer contributors to audition and describe digitized recordings from the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcast archives.

The Hungarian Revolution, 1956.
In the News

Rare Coverage of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising Now Available to Researchers

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

This month Hoover Library & Archives marks the sixtieth anniversary of the famed 1956 revolution in Hungary by digitizing and making available rare scripts documenting the event from our Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty collection, collaborating with the Hungarian National Széchényi Library to make rare recordings of the event available online, and opening an exhibition of Hungarian Revolution-related materials in the Hoover Tower Rotunda.

Visiting students from Columbia University with Anatol Shmelev, curator of the RFE/RL collection and Robert Conquest Curator for Russian and Eurasian Collections, as well as Jack Doran, Project Archivist for RFE/RL corporate records, and Natalia Reshetova
In the News

Hoover Welcomes Visiting Students From Columbia University

Monday, August 22, 2016

This month Hoover Library & Archives welcomes a group of Columbia University students participating in the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) research fellowship at Columbia’s European Institute. The visiting students will spend a week consulting Hoover’s extensive Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty collection.


Prague Spring 1968 Broadcasts of Radio Free Europe Released

Friday, October 31, 2014

Hundreds of broadcast recordings from the Prague Spring of 1968, the pivotal Cold War moment when Czechoslovakia introduced democratic reforms that were snuffed out by a Soviet invasion, are now available to scholars in the Hoover Archives' reading room.

Audio tape

Interviews of Radio Free Europe Polish Service Employees Digitized

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Audiocassette recordings of interviews of former Polish employees of Radio Free Europe (RFE) have been digitized by Hoover's audio lab for preservation and access.

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Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Latvian Service Audiotapes Digitized

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hoover’s entire collection of audiotapes created by RFE/RL’s Latvian Language Service has been digitized for preservation and access. Use copies of the recordings are available for listening at the Hoover Archives.


Sound Recordings of Arch Puddington's Interviews Digitized

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

After serving as assistant director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in the New York office from 1985 to 1993, Arch Puddington wrote Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (University Press of Kentucky, 2000). His research material for the book represents the bulk of the Arch Puddington collection at Hoover. Ninety sound recordings in the collection, consisting chiefly of Puddington's interviews of RFE/RL staffers, have been digitized for preservation and access by Hoover's audio lab.

Barbara Nawratowicz Papers Digitized

Sound Recordings in the Barbara Nawratowicz Papers Digitized

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More than twenty-five audiotapes from the papers of Barbara Nawratowicz have been digitized for preservation and access by Hoover's audio lab. Nawratowicz was the music director of Radio Free Europe's Polish service; the recordings comprise both spoken-word and musical genres. Many of the recordings are undated; those with dates range from 1952 to 1991.

RFE/RL guides image

Updated Guides to RFE/RL Records Available

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Greatly expanded guides to the records of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty at the Hoover Institution Archives are now available. The revised guides, known as finding aids, reflect a significant increment to the materials as well as the continued processing of the records.

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond

Hoover fellow A. Ross Johnson discusses his latest book, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A. Ross Johnson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, adviser to the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Archive Project at Hoover, senior adviser to the president of RFE/RL, and a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Johnson discusses his latest book, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond.




Contact L&A For assistance contact hooverarchives [at] or 650-723-3563


Anatol Shmelev

Anatol Shmelev

e: shmelev [at]
p: 1-650-724-6200

Conference on Impact of Cold War Broadcasting, 2004

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International researchers and former officials met at the Hoover Institution to address the impact of Western broadcasting—especially Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)—during the cold war.

Conference report

Vaclav Havel's video message

Johnson, A. Ross and R. Eugene Parta, eds. Cold War Broadcasting; Impact on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Central European University Press, 2010.

Film and Audio


The Most Incredible Challenge, 1965 (28:20)

This Is Radio Free Europe, 1964 (28:16)

President Kennedy supports RFE, clip from Margin for Victory, 1962 (00:59)

Jamming signals, clip from Towers of Truth (00:28)

Freedom Bell, clip from How Your Truth Dollars Fight for Freedom, 1954 (00:26)

RFE transmitters, clip from This is Radio Free Europe, 1964 (2:10)

99 Luftballoons carry RFE messages, clip from Winds of Freedom (2:40)


What Do They Really Think of Us? 1951 (15:05)

The Radio Free Europe Story, 1951 (13:00)

Exclusive Phil Woods recording for Radio Liberty, 1963 (1:01)

Harold B. "Min" Miller announces launch of RFE's broadcasts to Poland, 1952 (5:49)

Suggested Readings

Hill, Cissie Dore. "Voices of Hope: The Story of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty." Hoover Digest, 2001 No. 4.

Johnson, A. Ross. Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty; the CIA Years and Beyond. Stanford University Press and Wilson Center Press, 2010.

Johnson, A. Ross. "To the Barricades." Hoover Digest, 2007 No. 4.

Lynn, Katalin Kádár, ed. The Inauguration of "Organized Political Warfare": The Cold War Organizations Sponsored by the National Committee for a Free Europe/Free Europe Committee. Helena History Press, 2013.

Parta, R. Eugene. Discovering the Hidden Listener: An Assessment of Radio Liberty and Western Broadcasting to the USSR during the Cold War. Stanford, California: Hoover Press, 2007.