Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Cuban Missile Crisis
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 9 Hours. (9 x 1 hour)
Seminars / Tutorials 12 Hours. (6 x 2 hour)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2 hour exam or 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Exam Resit opportunities for this module will be available in the Supplementary examination period. F resit: The student will re-sit the module by examination only for a capped pass mark (40). H resit: The student will submit missing coursework elements and/or re-sit by examination in the upplementary exam period in lieu of a missed/failed exam for full marks. Students re-sitting elements of failed coursework are required to select a different essay/assignment title and must not submit re-written versions of the original essay/assignment.  

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module the student should be able to:

  • evaluate debates about the origins, dynamics and conclusion of the crisis.
  • adjudicate upon how close the world came to nuclear war in 1962.
  • understand the implications of recent scholarship for the interpretations of historians, political
  • scientists and students of crisis management.
  • analyse the possible lessons of the crisis for the conduct of international affairs.
10 ECTS Credits

Brief description

In October 1962 Cold War came close to nuclear war. Ever since scholars, political leaders and military officials have pondered and debated how close we were to Armageddon. The causes, courses and consequences of the crisis continue to generate debate and disagreement among academics and surviving participants on all sides.


The aim of the module is to explore the debates surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis, and examine how historians, political scientists and students of crisis management analyse the events of 1962. A second aim is to show how the study of the crisis illuminates various aspects of scholarship. What, for example, can recent historiography tell us about the opportunities and challenges for historical method, especially now that the Cold War is over? Third, the possible lessons of the crisis for diplomacy and crisis management are studied not just in the Cold War context, but in the age of weapons of mass destruction which we still inhabit.


Lecture outline

- Origins of the Crisis
- Dynamics of the Crisis
- Resolution of the Crisis
- Historiography and Revisionism
- The role of nuclear weapons
- Soviet and Cuban perspectives
- The roles of Kennedy and Khrushchev
- Britain and the Missile Crisis
- Lessons of the Crisis
- Overview


This module is at CQFW Level 6