From Cold Warriors to Peacemakers: the End of the Cold War Era, 1979-1999

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Isabelle-Christine Panreck


This course is available on the MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in History of International Relations, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International and World History (LSE & Columbia) and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

Western (European) diplomacy in the 1980s to the mid-1990s examining tensions, rivalries and linkages not merely between the western and communist blocs, but also within them, as well as studying the events reflecting the shift from the Cold War to the post-Cold War world. The aim is to address from a historical perspective the diplomacy of the end of the East-West conflict, German reunification, the Yugoslavian wars, European integration, and NATO enlargement. The domestic political bases of, and the political relations between, the leading figures (Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Reagan, Bush, Thatcher, Major, Mitterrand, Delors and Kohl) will be covered as well as the diplomacy of the period. Major topics will include Thatcherism; Reaganomics; Gorbachev's new thinking; the reunification of Germany; the collapse of the Soviet Union and its wider empire; the Gulf War and Yugoslavian Wars; America and her Western European partners; the Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty and the Euro; the security arrangements of Russia and NATO after the fall of communism.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

There will be a reading week in MT and LT and a revision session in ST.

Formative coursework

Short class papers, engagement in role play, a number of discussions on Moodle, and two 3,000 word essays during the year. There will be a one-hour timed essay (Mock Exam).

Indicative reading

A full bibliography will be provided at the first meeting of the class and is available on Moodle. Key books include: Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street Years; EHH Green, Thatcher; Julius W Friend, The Long Presidency, France in the Mitterrand Years; Martin McCauley, Gorbachev; Hannes Adomeit, Imperial Overstretch; Saki Dockrill, The End of the Cold War Era; George Bush & Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed; Philip Zelikow & Condolezza Rice, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed; Misha Glenny, The Balkans 1804-1999; Sean Kay, NATO and the Future of European Security; Kristina Spohr, Germany and the Baltic Problem: The Development of a New Ostpolitik, 1989-2000; Hal Brands, The Unipolar Moment; Kenneth Dyson and Kevin Featherstone. Road to Maastricht.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2018/19: 11

Average class size 2018/19: 11

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

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