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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Glennys J. Young
HIST 340
Seattle Campus

The Cold War: Realities, Myths, Legacies

Offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the Cold War (1947-1991), a global conflict, with political cultural, and military tensions between two post-World War II superpowers: the United States and its "Western" allies, and the USSR and its "Eastern" allies. Attention given to diplomatic, military, and cultural ramifications. Offered: jointly with JSIS B 340.

Class description

What was the Cold War? Why did it begin, and why did it end in such a relatively non-violent way? Is there continuity between the Cold War and the "war on terror"? If so, what is it, and why does it matter? These are some of the basic questions that this course will address as we examine the Cold war an international system and way of everyday life that affected people around the globe from the early years after World War II to the early 1990s. We will consider not just military rivalry and related moments of great international tension (for example, the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962) but skirmishes everyday "battlegrounds" such as consumer culture and film. We will give considerable attention to how the Cold War played itself out in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. As we examine these issues, we will draw upon the latest scholarship and the availability of formerly top-secret documents.

Student learning goals

Acquire a basic knowledge of the origins, process, and legacies of the Cold War.

Enhance skills in reading historical documents, including formerly classified documents related to the Cold War.

Enhance skills in writing clear and persuasive prose.

Develop the ability to interpret visual material (films, posters, cartoons) in relationship to historical events and processes.

General method of instruction

Class format will consist of lectures and discussions. Students will also likely view films and/or film clips via Canvas, the University's learning management platform. No prior experience with Canvas is necessary.

Recommended preparation

There are no prerequisites, except a desire to learn about the subject matter.

Class assignments and grading

Written assignments will likely include papers and exams. Readings will include general accounts of the Cold War, historical documents, and novels. We will also watch films and film clips.

Grades will be assigned on the basis of written work.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Glennys J. Young
Date: 02/07/2014