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May 7, 2015 7:00 PM

THURSDAY FORUM: The Mysterious Case of Spy Vladimír Kazan-Komárek

At the end of WW II Europe was divided by Allied forces into two opposing ideological blocs. The resulting Cold War necessitated the courage of undercover operatives such as Vladimír Kazan-Komárek. Lecture by Prof. Igor Lukeš.

Vladimír Kazan-Komárek was a Western intelligence agent of Czech origin, who was involved in several notorious Cold War affairs. His name first appeared in international headlines in 1951, when Czechoslovak authorities arrested American journalist William N. Oatis and charged him with espionage on behalf of the United States. During Oatis’ trial, Komárek was accused, in absentia, of being the spymaster of a large Western intelligence network that included Oatis.

 In 1966, Komárek, now a US citizen, was kidnapped from Moscow to Prague in a headline-grabbing incident that escalated into an international scandal of unprecedented ferocity. After an East-West standoff of several months, Washington prevailed and Komárek returned to the US. In 1972, Komárek disappeared in Spain. A few months later a badly decomposed body was found, but it was never proven that it was Komárek’s.  His mysterious disappearance attracted worldwide attention once more. The lecture uses the Komárek case to identify specific stages and patterns in the Cold War competition between East and West.

About the speaker: Igor Lukeš is Professor of History and International Relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University. He is the author of On the Edge of the Cold War: American Diplomats and Spies in Postwar Prague (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).


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May 7, 2015 7:00 PM


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