The Cold War


Join Brad Kelly, author of The Cold War, for this 10 hour elective PD on The Cold War. Get over 4 and a half hours of video across 12 modules, 100 pages of notes, activities and 12 month access.



Introduction: Get an introductory lecture of the Cold War where you will learn about the ideological and geopolitical origins of the conflict.

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.