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History   >   Cold War – Overview, 1945-1991


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Cold War – Overview, 1945-1991

In this course, Dr Thomas Tunstall Allcock (University of Manchester) provides an introduction to the Cold War, 1947-91, the period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and its satellite states (the Eastern Bloc) and the United States and its allies (the Western Block). In the first module, we provide an introduction to the topic as a whole, considering how we should actually define the Cold War, and its diplomatic, economic and ideological dimensions. In the second and third modules, we think about the origins of the Cold War, before turning in the fourth module to consider the importance of the Korean War (1950-53) on the conflict. In the fifth module, we think about the domestic impact of the Cold War, before turning in the sixth module to consider how the Cold War began to incorporate tensions in Africa, Asia and South America to become an increasingly global conflict. In the seventh module, we consider the importance of the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) to the development of the Cold War, before turning in the eighth module to the most important conflict of them all – Vietnam (1955-75). In the ninth module, we consider the development of the war between 1968-75, a period of easing tensions between the US and Soviet Union known as Detente, before turning in the tenth module to the ratcheting up of tensions during the presidency of Jimmy Carter (1977-81). Finally, in the eleventh module, we think about how the Cold War came to an end.


In this module, we provide an introduction to the Cold War as a whole, focusing in particular on: (i) what it means when we talk about the Cold War: how do we define it?; (ii) the ‘coldness’ of the Cold War: the lack of direct military conflict between the US and Soviet Union, but its ‘hotness’ when considering indirect conflict between the two superpowers, e.g. Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan; and (iii) the diplomatic, economic, cultural, social, and ideological dimensions of the Cold War.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Tunstall Allcock, T. (2020, February 05). Cold War – Overview, 1945-1991 - Introduction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Tunstall Allcock, T. "Cold War – Overview, 1945-1991 – Introduction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 Feb 2020,


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Dr Thomas Tunstall Allcock

Manchester University