The Changing European World Since 1945

The Changing European World Since 19452019-06-12T15:37:13+00:00

The Changing European World Since 1945

The Changing European World Since 1945 is an online course that helps teachers from Western Australia who are new to or wanting to refresh their courses on The Changing European World Since 1945. Developed and delivered by Brad Kelly, author of four books on the Cold War and World Order for Cengage Nelson, the course does not simply narrate the events of the changing European world. It assists teachers to develop skills rich activities around the central concepts of the course. In taking this approach, teachers will be supported to develop coherent, well-sequenced teaching programs.

$420 + GST – contributes to 8 hours of formal professional learning

The course:  

  • Delivered over 4 weeks with a 2-hour module released each Monday morning.   
  • Participants receive 60 pages of lecture notes, audio materials and activities to complete and send back.  
  • A mid-course zoom session.   
  • 8 hours of formal professional learning.


Module 1: The Iron Curtain descends (1945-1961)

The Cold War was an ideological as well as a geopolitical rivalry between the two superpowers that emerged at the end of the Second World War. Incompatible social, political and economic systems meant that fundamental disagreements about the future of Europe and Germany remained unresolved – despite the efforts at Yalta and Potsdam. The United States sought to keep a check on Soviet expansion in Europe through a commitment to Truman’s policy of containment and the Marshall Plan. Various flashpoints, including the Berlin blockade and airlift (1948), the uprising in Hungary (1956) and the construction of the Berlin Wall (1961) ramped up tensions. In 1946, Winston Churchill had predicted an iron curtain would descend upon Europe. It turned out to be prophetic. From Truman and Stain, to Eisenhower, Kennedy and Khrushchev, each side implemented their ideologies through a series of policies designed to keep the other in check.  

Module 2: Brinkmanship and Détente (1962-1980)

The most serious confrontation of the Cold War was the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The conflict took the world to the brink of nuclear war and was ultimately the catalyst for a thawing of tensions known as détente. But events in Prague (1968), Vietnam and Afghanistan (1979) revealed the limits to détente. When President Ronald Reagan came to power in 1980, he did so on the back of anti-Communist rhetoric and re-ignited the arms race and a so-called Second Cold War.  

Module 3: The end of the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia (1980-2000)

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s twin policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (economic restructuring) were meant to reform the Soviet system. Instead they ended up destroying it. Glasnost fuelled pro-democracy demonstrations in Europe while perestroika was an economic failure. The calls for political change grew louder in eastern Europe and eventually the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989. In the following months, German reunification proceeded at a rapid pace and the Soviet Union ended with the stroke of a pen rather than the firing of a gun on Christmas Day 1991. But the move to a post-Soviet Russia was chaotic. Social, political and economic problems led to political turmoil and the grabification – the emergence of a rich oligarchy who took control of former Soviet state assets.  

Module 4: A post-Cold War Europe – conflict and challenges  

The emergence of the European Community from the 1950s is often buried under the much larger story of the Cold War. But after the end of the Cold War, it emerged as a powerful regional bloc. Its expansion to include former eastern bloc countries led to a raft of Treaty’s and policies that meant greater integration. However, not all was well in post-war Europe. The breakup of the former Yugoslavia meant that the term ‘ethnic cleansing’ entered the political lexicon, Russians yearned for the ‘good old days’ of communism, and many in Europe feared a creeping EU would erode the long tradition of the nation state.

About the Presenter:

Brad Kelly (BA, Grad Dip. Ed, MEd Leadership) is an author and writing coach based in Wollongong, NSW. He has authored five modern history textbooks with Cengage Nelson including The Cold War 1945-1991 (2018), The World Order 1991-2011 (2018), The Changing World Order (with Tony Taylor and Ashley Wood) (2015), A Globalised World (2015) and Investigating Modern History (2018) and more. He has been a presenter at HTA NSW, TTA professional learning and Cornerstone Teacher Learning. He consults schools on improving writing instruction. Brad is a tour leader with Academy Travel, and leads the Modern History teacher development tour to Germany and Russia.


For Western Australia Teachers

Upcoming Courses

Online Course

Register here The Changing European World Order Since 1945

Course commences 29th July 2019