Hartwick College Assistant Professor of History Kyle Burke explores paramilitary efforts to combat communism during the Cold War in his first book, “Revolutionaries for the Right: Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War” (The University of North Carolina Press). Utilizing previously untapped sources from four continents, the book chronicles the rise and fall of an international network of right-wing organizations that supported anticommunist guerrillas in the global south from the 1950s through the 1980s.
“Freedom fighters. Guerrilla warriors. Soldiers of fortune. The many civil wars and rebellions against communist governments drew heavily from this cast of characters,” Burke says. “Yet from Nicaragua to Afghanistan, Vietnam to Angola, Cuba to the Congo, the connections between these anticommunist groups have remained hazy and their coordination obscure.”

From the start of the Cold War, Burke’s work shows, leading U.S. conservatives and their allies abroad dreamed of an international anticommunist revolution. They pinned their hopes to armed men, freedom fighters who could unravel communist states from within. To that end, they fashioned a global network of activists and state officials, guerrillas and mercenaries, ex-spies and ex-soldiers to sponsor paramilitary campaigns in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Blurring the line between state-sanctioned and vigilante violence, this armed crusade helped radicalize right-wing groups in the United States while also generating new forms of privatized warfare abroad.

For more information on the book, contact Burke at 607-431-4883 or burkek@hartwick.edu.