Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Mutually Exclusive

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 Hours. (18 x 1 hour)
Seminars / Tutorials 8 Hours. (8 x 1 hour)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

- Discuss contending views on the origins of the Cold War;
- Examine the impact of the Cold War on the United States, Europe and the Third World;
- Assess the roles played by US and Soviet foreign policies in shaping the Cold War;
- Discuss facets of the broader impact of the cold war on western popular culture and identify aspects of the cold was conflict.
- Identify the origins of detente and reasons for its decline;
- Assess competing explanations for the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War,
- Effectively deploy skills of: identification and location of appropriate sources; independent study; writing (essays and examinations); IT skills plus time-management.
- Discuss facets of the broader impact of the Cold War on Western popular culture and identify ideological aspects of the Cold War.
10 ECTS credits

Brief description

This module examines the major events of the Cold War, from the dropping of the Atomic bomb on Japan in 1945 to decolonisation, the war in Vietnam and the collapse of Communist Party rule in Eastern Europe.


The module begins by examining the origins of the Cold War in the relations between the allied countries during the Second World War and the emergence of the superpower conflict in a divided Europe in the immediate post-war period. Students will then go on to consider the role played by different regions in the early years of the Cold War, and the impact of the superpowers' military, economic and ideological rivalry on Europe, Asia, the former colonies of the Third World and the Middle East. Students will focus closely on such key events as the Communist Revolution in China, the Korean War, the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Vietnam War. The midlle section of the course will also include an introduction to the study of the cultural facets of the Cold War conflict.

In the final section of the course, the dynamics of detente and arms control will be discussed, as well as the central issue of the division of Germany. The module will conclude with an examination of the debates surrounding the reasons for the end of the Cold War and the collapse of Communist Party rule in Eastern Europe.


This module has the broadest aim of tracing the evolution of the world system between the end of the Second World War in 1945 and the end of the Twentieth Century. It assumes no previous knowledge of the period, but it will demand of the student a regualr attendance at the lectures - which form the intellectual spine of the course - as well as at the five discussion groups or tutorials where students will be able to exchange views and test their understanding of the material. This module will provide students with an introduction to the historical events and debates of the Cold War and as such is a core module for students taking the 'International Politics and International History' degree scheme.

Transferable skills

Students will have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of transferable skills which will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas. Students will practice and enhance their reading, comprehension and thinking skills, and self management skills. In lectures students will develop listening and note taking skills, as well as analytical skills. In seminars students will enhance their analytical skills and will practice listening, explaining and debating skills, as well as team work and problem solving. Essay writing will encourage students to practice their independent research, writing and IT skills, and the examination will test these skills under time constraint conditions.


This module is at CQFW Level 4