The Global Cold War

Instructors: Briana Smith and Duncan White
Meeting time: Wednesday, 12-2:45

Global Cold War

At the end of the Second World War, the world was faced with two competing ideas for how to organize society: the democratic capitalism of the United States and the communism of the Soviet Union. The struggle between these ideas became known as the Cold War, a conflict between two power blocs that reached every corner of the globe, from Berlin to Saigon, from Havana to Luanda. As both superpowers were equipped with nuclear weapons, direct conflict seemed unthinkable, so this was a war waged by other means: through cultural warfare, propaganda, and proxy wars. In this course we will consider where and how the Cold War was fought, the ideologies behind it, and the role that culture played throughout the conflict. By examining a range of sources, including novels, films, art, speeches, policy documents, and intelligence files, we will explore how culture became complicit in, and resisted, the political pressures of the Cold War on both sides of the Iron Curtain and across the globe.