From Sarajevo to Baghdad: Key Decisions on War and Peace, 1914-2003

  • Summer schools
  • Department of International History
  • Application code SS-IR106
  • Starting 2020
  • Short course: Closed
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

UPDATE: Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic we will no longer be offering this course in summer 2020. Please check our latest news on this situation here.

This course offers an intensive investigation of a central set of topics over the last century of international politics. It will introduce students to the international history of the two world wars and the Cold War as well as the post-Cold War period, but it does not attempt to cover every aspect of the years since 1914. Instead it focuses on key decisions and turning points, analysing them in depth and placing them in context. As the course progresses, students will be encouraged to make comparisons and to draw out wider themes as well as to develop their knowledge and understanding of the individual topics. The material should be readily accessible to students with little previous background in the field, as well as rewarding for those who already have familiarity with the content.  

Session: One
Dates: 22 June – 10 July 2020
Lecturer: Professor David Stevenson



Programme details

Key facts

Level: 100 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees:  Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One written essay (50%) and one written examination (50%)

Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional

**You will need to check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment



Programme structure

Section I: World War One

1.      1914. Starting the War: the July Crisis 
2.      1917. Widening the War: German U-Boats and American Intervention 
3.      1918-1919: Ending the War: from Armistice to Peace

Section II. World War Two

4.      1938-39: Starting War in Europe: Munich to Danzig 
5.      1941. Widening the War: Germany and Japan attack the Soviet Union and the US 
6.      1945. Ending the War: the Atomic Bomb and Japan’s Surrender 

Section III: Cold War

7.      1947-49. European Origins 
8.      1950. Asian Origins. 
9.      1961-62. Escalation: Berlin and Cuba 
10.    1961-65. Escalation: the Second Vietnam War 
11.    1989-90. Ending the Cold War 

Section IV. Post-Cold War

12.    Roads to War in Kuwait and Iraq, 1990-2003 

Course outcomes

  • A knowledge and understanding of key turning points in international politics between the benchmark dates of 1914 and 2003, including the origins, development, and conclusion of the two world wars and of the Cold War.
  • A knowledge and understanding of the characteristics of decisionmaking in circumstances of extreme political crisis.
  • Enhanced familiarity with historical methodologies, including analysis of historical debate (historiography) and historians’ use of evidence.
  • Familiarity with a body of case studies that can form a basis for more conceptual and theoretical work in international relations and political science. 


LSE’s Department of International History is one of the world’s leading centres for historical study and research. Founded in 1954, the department’s acknowledged and long-established research and teaching strengths are reflected in the breadth and range of its coverage from the early modern to the contemporary era. The department’s staff carry out pioneering research, putting them at the forefront of their fields, where they publish books and articles with some of the leading academic presses.

In the QS World University History Subject Table for 2018, History at LSE ranked 7th overall in the world ahead of Columbia, Princeton and Chicago. In the UK and in Europe, History at LSE ranked third, behind Oxford and Cambridge, but ahead of UCL, Leiden and KCL.

On this three-week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s international history faculty.

Reading materials

All course readings are available either through the links provided or via the LSE Library catalogue. 

The core text for the course as a whole is: Antony Best, Jussi Hanhimäki, Joe Maiolo, and Kirsten Schulze, International History of the Twentieth Century and Beyond (Abingdon and New York: Third Edition, Routledge, 2015)

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice

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How to Apply

Related Programmes

Understanding Foreign Policy: the Diplomacy of War, Profit and Justice

Code(s) SS-IR105

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