Module Information

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

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 x 1 Hour Lectures
Viewing 3 x 2 Hour Viewings
Seminar 4 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour Exam)  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 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. Identify the principal debates about the origins of the Cold War
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the role of nuclear weapons and nuclear arms control in East-West relations
3. Evaluate the impact of the Cold War in Asia
4. Evaluate the impact of the 'Second Cold War'
5. Discuss contending explanations for the end of the Cold War
6. Outline the role of individual political leaders in the development of the Cold War
7. Identify and discuss emerging approaches to the study of the Cold War including the study of culture and the use of critical oral 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 provide fresh insights, perspectives and debates.


The module will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Themes covered during these sessions include:

• The origins of US-Soviet conflict
• US containment and Soviet Response
• Korean War
• The nuclear revolution
• The Cold War and decolonization
• The Sino-Soviet split
• The Vietnam War
• The Global Cold War
• Détente
• Soviet Breakdown in the 1980s
• Reagan and Gorbachev
• The end of the Cold War

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas verbally and in writing, and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will develop skills in using the many sources of information available 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 written assessments 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 supported self-learning within a context in which support and assistance is available from the module convenor, the department and university and from their fellow students. 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 answer the assessed essay question.
Information Technology Students will enhance their proficiency using Blackboard, where materials to support learning will be made available. Students will also develop skills in searching for, and assessing the validity of, online information sources as part of preparation for lectures, seminars, and film views and Q&As. Assessed work will be presented in electronic format, according to university and institute/departmental guidelines.
Personal Development and Career planning The 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 requires students to write 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 an essay 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 These are developed throughout and students will be encouraged to locate research and information outside of that provided in the module handbook. This could be through YouTube videos, and by sharing links.
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 within the module. These subject specific skills include: • How to collect and analyse 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, political, social, and military, questions.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For almost all of the topics covered in 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. Students are also encouraged to raise any points or questions they might have before, during, and after lectures.


This module is at CQFW Level 5