The cold war was the crucible by which the United States was transformed into a global superpower and laid the basis for the national security state. The ideological and geopolitical competition between the US and the Soviet Union shaped the global and regional makeup of the modern world and its legacies continue to influence global politics in the twenty-first century. This course charts the origins of the cold war, provides an overview of the ideological and geopolitical drivers of the conflict, examines how the cold war was played out in Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, and the third world, assesses its impact as a driver for the development of both conventional and nuclear forces, and charts the mechanisms that developed in Washington and Moscow for managing the cold war. The course concludes with charting how the cold war wound down and the legacies it has left for the twenty-first century.
Harvard Extension School
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