World History since 1945

This course is a study of human beings in time centred on the Cold War years. It encompasses different human societies and the conflicts between and within them, all of which remain controversial. Given the global scope, it is often impossible to identify self-contained bodies of knowledge in a small number of key works or texts. This course is constructed around a number of themes and topics which limit the extent of the courses’ coverage and make them more manageable for students even if acquiring more in-depth knowledge is an important aspect of historical learning.

The purpose of this course is to:

  • develop the ability to think logically and critically 
  • develop knowledge of political and social systems and of the various cultural influences on policy-makers in different parts of the Cold War world.

At the end of this course and having completed the essential reading and activities students should be able to: 

  • analyse the nature and significance of the Cold War international system 
  • explain how the Cold War originated and how and why it ended 
  • describe how Cold War international crises were perceived and responded to, particularly by the USA, in various parts of the world. 
  • relate local and regional aspects of particular conflicts to the broader international aspects of the Cold War which influenced them 
  • analyse what influenced states and their rulers as they sought to expand their power and influence and deal with threats to their interests. 
  • become aware of the elements of the Cold War international system that were connected to the post-Cold War era.


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