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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: The Cold War 1941-1991 (HIST10027)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course begins with consideration of the remoter origins of the Cold War prior to 1941, with special emphasis on those trends in United States and Russian/Soviet history that help to explain their clash after they became superpowers. The true Second World War (1941-1945) is examined on the thesis that the Cold War did not yet exist and was not inevitable but that many of the preconditions for it came into existence. The birth of the Cold War is identified in 1945-1946 when clashes of national interest over such matters as the future of Germany were magnified in their adverse impact by the clash of rival ideologies hat had been semi-dormant during the conflict with Germany and Japan. The readiness of the United States to take on a global role of leadership against a perceived threat from Soviet totalitarianism is traced in three stages: rhetoric (the Truman Doctrine), economic (Marshall aid), and strategic (the North Atlantic treaty). The result was, in Europe, an equilibrium that proved durable for forty years and then dissolved without bloodshed. The reasons why the Cold War led to actual military conflict in east Asia (Korea and Indochina) are examined. Then comes the superpower rivalry between the United States and post-Stalin Russia that culminated in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the attempts by both main powers to lessen tensions between them during the period 1963-1975, the 'new' Cold War between 1976 and 1985, and the end of the conflict by 1991.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Directors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Secretary to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503783).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
This course involves study of a subject of the widest (global) geographical scope and one that lasted long enough (fifty years) to undergo several phases. Involving, as it does, competing ideologies and differing cultures (e.g. Russian and Chinese) even within distinct ideological camps, it provides an opportunity to study a wide range of human experience. The historical truth about the conflict between the non-communist and communist worlds known as the Cold War has been much (and sometimes bitterly) contested. However, enough work of a solid, scholarly nature has now been done on the Cold War for students not to feel baffled or frustrated as they study its undoubted complexities. The study of East-West political-ideological and occasionally military conflict between 1941 and 1991 should fulfil many of the school's stated learning objectives. This would certainly include acquiring the ability to organise and synthesise data derived from sometimes contradictory sources, to assess the reliability of evidence and weigh a variety of competing and conflicting factors, and then to reach coherent, reasoned and well supported conclusions. The option is of perhaps unusual value in coming to grips with problems of historical interpretation and in handling concepts and theories in a course that is not of the 'theory of history' type. This function is achieved equally by the weekly seminar meetings and by the written work in the form of the essay and (ultimately) the examination.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Enda Delaney
Tel: (0131 6)50 3755
Course secretaryMrs Caroline Cullen
Tel: (0131 6)50 3781
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