The International History of the Cold War, 1945-1989
This information is for the 2021/22 session.
Prof Nicholas Ludlow SAR 2.16
This course is available on the BA in History, BSc in Government and History, BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and History. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.
The Cold War dominated the second half of the 20th century, but until recently we had only an imperfect sense of what it was all about. Historians wrote about it, of necessity, from within the event they were seeking to describe, so that there was no way to know its outcome. And because only a few Western countries had begun to open their archives, these accounts could only reflect one side of the story. Cold War history, hence, was not normal history: It was both asymmetrical and incomplete. The end of the Cold War and the subsequent partial opening of Soviet, Eastern European, and Chinese archives have revolutionised the field. Everything we thought we knew is up for reconsideration, whether because of the new documents available to us, or as a consequence of being able to reflect on how it all came out in new ways - given that the historical discipline has evolved methodologically as well.
The course will provide an introduction to key topics in the new, international history of the Cold War. The selected topics vary from the study of specific Cold War crises to the exploration of broader themes such as the roles of ideology and technology.
Course objectives: (i) To equip students with comprehensive knowledge of the international politics of the Cold War; (ii) To offer a firm basis for more advanced historical work in this area; (iii) To provide some of the factual grounding and conceptual apparatus necessary to understand the contemporary world.
Lectures will be online. The School aims to run in-person classes, subject to circumstances, with some online provision if and where necessary.
Students are expected to keep up with readings for weekly meetings, and to participate in the class discussions.
There will be a reading week in the Michaelmas and the Lent Terms.
Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT.
Barrass, G, The Great Cold War (2009); Gaddis, J L, The Cold War: A New History; Hanhimäki, J & Westad, O A, The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts; Leffler, M P, For the Soul of Mankind (2007); Leffler, M P & Painter, D, Origins of the Cold War (2005); Reynolds, D, One World Divisible: A Global History since 1945 (2001); Sarotte, M, 1989 (2009); Westad, O A, Reviewing the Cold War: Approaches, Interpretations, Theory (2000); Westad, O A, The Global Cold War (2005);
Essay (35%, 3500 words) in the LT.
Essay (35%, 3500 words) in the ST.
Presentation (15%) and class participation (15%) in the MT and LT.
Course selection videos
Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Department: International History
Total students 2020/21: 40
Average class size 2020/21: 13
Capped 2020/21: Yes (40)
Value: One Unit