Cold War: From Allies to Enemies

The Cold War is the defining event of the second half of the 20th century. During the early years of the Cold War, beginning during the Second World War, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a battle of ideologies, a clash of civilisations that dominated geopolitical affairs for more than a half-century. This course provides an overview of the beginnings of the Cold War through to the events that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis. As World War II ended, the United States and the Soviet Union battled for global domination. By the early 1960s, the world held its collective breath as the mightiest nations of the era threatened to destroy each other, and the whole of humanity in the process.

Featuring subject matter expert

Daniel Finkelstein
Daniel Finkelstein

Columnist at The Times

Daniel Finkelstein, appointed to the House of Lords in 2013, writes a weekly column for The Times. Previously, he was adviser to Prime Minister John Major and Conservative leader William Hague.

In your opinion, at what point in history can we truly say that the Cold War began?

I think it was the death of Roosevelt... Molotov came to London to meet with Truman, expecting the same sort of relationship that Stalin and himself had had with the Roosevelt administration, and found a starkly different reception.

Course Overview

  • Expose the origins of the Cold War, reviewing the history of tensions between the US and Soviet Union, even while allied in opposition to Nazi Germany during WWII.
  • Scrutinise the proxy wars – a major feature of the period, highlighted by the Korean War in the early 1950s.
  • Review the United States' Containment Policy, a central element of the Truman Doctrine, which focused on preventing the spread of communist ideology.
  • Watch space travel and nuclear weapons technology take centre stage, as the arenas of ideological, economic, and technological competition were thrust to the fore.
Course content
  • 8 Full HD Video Lectures
  • Downloadable Course Handouts
  • Knowledge Assessment Quiz
  • Interactive Group Discussion Task
  • Q&A Session with a Subject Matter Expert
  • Certificate of Achievement





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