Secure your knowledge with 'cold war' author brad kelly

The Cold War is a 10 hour self-paced online elective PD course that takes you step by step through the Cold War from the breakdown of the superpower alliance at the end of World War II to Gorbachev’s signing the Soviet Union out of existence on Christmas Day 1991. 

Each module is designed to strengthen your knowledge of the 45 year conflict with questions and activities. 

$270 (inc. GST)

course features


Module 1: Learn about the origins and ideology of the conflict. Explore the nature of US liberal democracy and Soviet communism that led to the post-war breakdown of the alliance that defeated Hitler. We explore the growing tensions between the two in 1946, examine the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan and end this module with the Berlin Airlift. 

Module 2: China’s turn to communism in 1949 represented the opening up of a second front in the Cold War. Now the world’s most populous nation came into the communist fold. When conflict broke out in Korea in 1950, Western leaders feared that countries across South-East Asia would fall like ‘dominoes’. 

Module 3: The death of Stalin in 1953 led to the ascension of new Soviet leadership who wanted to take a more conciliatory approach on the international stage and spoke of ‘Peaceful Co-existence.’ Meanwhile, in the United States, Presidents from Truman through to Johnson were looking for new ways to contain the threat and spread of communism. 

Module 4: The Cold War was not merely ideological. In this module, we explore three of the significant crises in the period including the erection of the Berlin Wall (1961), the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) and the Prague Spring (1968). 

Module 5: The Cold War was characterised by the development of more powerful nuclear weapons that could be developed further. We’ll look at the nature of a nuclear explosion, the doctrine of MAD and the growing arsenals. Plus, we will explore how the Soviets pulled ahead in the space race with early gains, while the Americans flopped in the early race into space – until they landed a man who walked on the moon. 

Module 6: By the 1960s with the Cuban Missile Crisis behind it and the Chinese A-Bomb in 1964, a bi-polar world gave way to a so-called ‘triangular diplomacy’ and the period of detente. We’ll explore the reasons that both sides wanted to take a pause in the conflict and discuss a critic who would later become a President. 

Module 7:  Vietnam’s fight for national independence was waged under the cover of de-colonisation movements and national self-determination. But in the context of Cold War south east Asia, the story becomes a little more complicated. We will look at the situation in Vietnam and the American escalation in the conflict. 

Module 8: By the mid-1960s, two of the world’s most powerful communist countries were not even on speaking terms. In this module, we will explore the reasons for the Sino-Soviet split, and the way in which the Americans were able to exploit the division of international communism. 

Module 9: Conflict in the Middle East during the late 1960s and 1970s exposed American dependency on oil. Its support for Israel in the Yom Kippur war would cost it dearly at home with petrol prices rising four times. Learn more about the story. Plus, we will examine the revolution in Iran, the hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. 

Module 10: The 1980s saw the renewal and end of the Cold War. Leadership of both superpowers was handed over to US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, both charismatic figures who would eventually lead to significant arms reductions and ultimately the end of the Cold War. 

Module 11: Could the end of the Cold War ultimately be put down to a misstep by an east German press official? Learn more about the fascinating story of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the pro-democracy demonstrations that swept eastern Europe in the summer of 1989. Plus, we’ll learn about how the Soviet Union collapsed with a whimper rather than a bang. 

If you have any questions about access, please email Brad at

About Brad

Brad is the founder and senior presenter at Cornerstone Teacher Learning and author of the Cengage text ‘The Cold War’. He is a teacher, writing and professional learning coach who has spent over two decades in education as a History and English teacher, holding various middle leadership positions as a department head, Director of Secondary and more recently in professional learning. He is the author of seven textbooks with Cengage and Small Caps publishing, and has had over 1,500 teachers through his courses on writing instruction in the areas of history, English and cross-curricular interventions. Brad is interested in learning how students and teachers learn with a keen interest in literacy and assessment.