Although the Cold War dominated the second half of the 20th century, until recently we had only an imperfect sense of what it was all about. Historians wrote about it either from within the events they were trying to describe or by accessing mostly Western archives. Cold War history, hence, was not normal history: it was both asymmetrical and incomplete. The end of the Cold War and the subsequent partial opening of Soviet, Eastern European, and Chinese archives have methodologically revolutionised the field. Everything we though we knew can now be revisited and reconsidered in light of the new documents available to us.
This course will provide an introduction to key topics in the new, international history of the Cold War, centring on the period between the end of World War II and the revolutions of 1989. Each of the topics selected deal with key aspects of the global conflict, but the aim of the course is to focus on essential issues rather than to be comprehensive and all-inclusive.