Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 15 x 1 hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 8 x 1 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   50%

Learning Outcomes

On 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.


The module builds upon long-standing departmental interests in Cold War history and International History, and the research interests of the module convener. It will serve as the compulsory Part Two core module for students following L268, completing the reforms to this degree scheme begun last year with the introduction of the new Part One module IP12320. It will also provide an additional option of interest to students studying international politics, strategic studies, military history, intelligence, and politics.

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.


- Themes and Issues
- The debate about dropping the atomic bomb
- Origins of the Cold War in Europe
- Origins of the Cold War in Asia
- Nuclear arms race 1
- Crises: Berlin and Cuba
- Detente and arms control
- Vietnam War - origins and dynamics
- Sino-Soviet relations
- US-Chinese Rapprochement
- Second Cold War: Nuclear arms race 2
- Second Cold War: Third World
- End of the Cold War
- Political leaders 1945-91
- Legacies and Overviews

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 present their arguments most effectively. They will understand 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. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication. This is facilitated by group-role play based on teams operating within and beyond the seminar environment.
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 convener and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. Group work is integral to the seminars and provides opportunities for students to reflect individually and collectively on their performance. The need to contribute to the group presentation in seminars and to meet an essay deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
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 (such as Web of Science and OCLC). Students will also be expected to make use of the resources that will be available on the Blackboard VLE.
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation and team-working skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards students' portfolio of transferable skills.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of an essay will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable students to develop independent project 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. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of students' ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of the essay will reflect the independent research skills of students. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminar presentation will also enable students to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of students' ability to work alone can be undertaken.
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 - Ability to evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques - Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and political problems
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small group role-playing activities where students will be obliged to prepare, present and discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module learning experience.


This module is at CQFW Level 6