Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Cold War
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 4 x 1 Hour Seminars
Viewing 4 x 2 Hour Viewings


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Critically evaluate the principal debates about the origins of the Cold War
2. Analyze the dynamics of East-West relations in Europe
3. Evaluate the role of nuclear weapons and nuclear arms control in East-West relations
4. Examine and evaluate the impact of the Cold War in Asia
5. Examine and evaluate the 'Second Cold War'
6. Critically evaluate contending explanations for the end of the Cold War
7. Analyze the role of individual political leaders in the development of the Cold War
8. Critically evaluate emerging approaches to the study of the Cold War including the study of culture and the use of critical oral history.


This module aims to provide an overview of the core events, issues and historiographical debates entailed in the study of Cold War history.

Brief description

The module examines debates about the origins, dynamics and end of the Cold War. It examines how conflict in Europe and Asia developed and how East-West conflict took differing forms in Europe and different parts of the Third World. It explores the role of nuclear weapons in East-West affairs and examines debates about whether the Cold War created, exacerbated or limited political and military conflicts. Students are encouraged to critically reflect on how Cold War history is studied and how emerging methodologies provides fresh insights, perspectives and debates.



1. Origins of US-Soviet conflict
2. World War Two
3. 1945-46: USA
4. 1945-46: USSR
5. US containment
6. Soviet Response
7. Korean War
8. Thermonuclear Revolution: US
9. Thermonuclear Revolution: USSR
10. Crisis Years: 1957-60
11. Crisis Years: 1961-62
12. Global Cold War: Decolonisation, Sino-Soviet split
13. Global Cold War: Vietnam, part one
14. Global Cold War: Vietnam, part two
15. Global Cold War: 1970s
16. Détente: Triangular power politics, 1971-72
17. Détente: Helsinki, Sino-Soviet split worsens, Trilateralism
18. 1980s: Soviet Breakdown
19. 1980s: Reagan and Gorbachev
20. End of the Cold War


1. Cold War Historiography
2. The Nuclear Revolution
3. The Expansion of the Cold War into the Third World
4. Debating the End of the Cold War

Documentary Workshops

Discussions based on a range of textual and film sources, chosen according to student interest

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their essays in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to prepare for seminar participation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students’ attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of two essays will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module • Evaluate competing perspectives • Demonstrate subject specific research techniques Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary political problems.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 6