The Wireless World 1945-1975: connecting radio histories of Decolonization and the Cold War

16 September 2022

We would like to bring to your attention an upcoming event held by the University of Amsterdam and supported by the Cold War Research Network.

The event is on Friday 16th September 2022 and the location is as follows:

Belle van Zuylenzaal, University Library C1.13, Singel 421-427, Amsterdam


The golden age of international radio broadcasting between the end of the Second World War and the mid-1970s largely coincided with large geopolitical shifts that had profound effects on international relations of that age: Decolonization and the Cold War. Actors from many different countries used cross-border radio broadcasting to mobilize international support for their political goals. On the other hand, the changing political situation, such as the emergence of newly independent nation-states as a result of the end of European overseas empires and the emergence of the Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe, resulted in a steady growth in the number of radio stations. This shift had an impact on established radio stations who adopted new programming strategies to reach out to certain target audiences. This workshop aims to analyze the interrelations between geopolitics and international radio broadcasting in this period.

To fully understand these complex dynamics, it is important to explore the interrelations between broadcasting practices in context of Decolonization in the Global South and the Cold War in Europe. In current historiography on international broadcasting, however, the two topics are rarely systematically studied in conjunction. The authors of a recent book about The Wireless World, published by Oxford University Press, explore the connections between these and other radio histories and set out ideas for a research agenda. This workshop will launch the book and its main findings. In addition, scholars will present fresh research papers to throw new perspectives on the entanglements of Decolonization and the Cold War in the wireless world.

Please register via this website

The meeting can also be followed online via Zoom



Chair: Vincent Kuitenbrouwer (University of Amsterdam)

13:00-13:45: ‘Introducing The Wireless World’ – Simon Potter (Bristol University)

13:45-14:00: break

14:00-15:30 Panel 1

  • ‘Promoting and Countering Colonialism on the Airwaves: Broadcasting in Angola and Mozambique during the wars of independence’ – Nelson Ribeiro (Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon)
  • ‘A British Alien’s European and Global Cold War Journeys’ – Liz Buettner (University of Amsterdam)

15:30-15:45: Break

15:45-16:30: Panel 2

  • ‘Polish Radio and Radio Free Europe listen to each other: an example of Cold War dynamics on both sides of the Iron Curtain’ – Joanna Walewska-Choptiany (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń)

16:30-17:15: ‘Listening session – Sonic fragments of decolonization: the sound archive of the Liberation Movement in Guinea-Bissau’ – Rui Vilela (University of Aveiro/University of Amsterdam)



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