This unit seeks to provide students with an understanding of the evolution of global history and politics since World War II and the background to contemporary issues. Central to this aim is the emphasis devoted in the unit to the international roles played by the USA and the USSR during the Cold War. The unit begins at the end of World War II and concludes with a postscript on the legacies of the Cold War: the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. In doing so, it highlights the role that ideology plays in shaping international relations and visions of modernity.


HIS30007 War and Peace in the 20th Century

Rule for this unit

50 credit points of Level 2 units

Teaching Periods
Start and end dates
Last self-enrolment date
Census date
Last withdraw without fail date
Results released date
Teaching Period 1
Start and end dates
Last self-enrolment date
Census date
Last withdraw without fail date
Results released date

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  • Interrogate the global role of the USSR and the USA during the Cold War
  • Locate, interrogate, and integrate primary and secondary source documents in the development of an argument
  • Critically analyse and interpret key historiographical debates in the Cold War
  • Reflect on historical trends and ideologies in the twentieth century that have shaped contemporary society

Teaching methods

Swinburne Online

Type Hours per week Number of weeks Total (number of hours)
Live Online
1.00 4 weeks 4
Directed Online Learning and Independent Learning
12.17 12 weeks 146


Type Task Weighting ULO's
EssayIndividual 40% 1,2,3,4 
ProjectIndividual 40% 1,2,3,4 
ReviewIndividual 20% 1,2,3,4 


  • Their Manifest Destiny: debates on the global roles of the USA and the USSR
  • One World divided: the origins of the Cold War
  • Sweet child of mine: Soviet American Conflict in Asia
  • Repression in a democratic state 
  • Repression in a totalitarian state
  • Stand off: From Berlin to Budapest
  • Flashpoint: The Cuban Missile Crisis
  • The American War in Vietnam
  • 1968: ‘The Year of the Barricades’
  • The end of the Cold War? Glasnost, Perestroika and the Velvet Revolution
  • Postscript: Legacies of the Cold War

Study resources

Reading materials

A list of reading materials and/or required textbooks will be available in the Unit Outline on Canvas.