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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: MAMS 561
Course Title: Strategies of the Cold War
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

An examination of the formulation, implementation, and evolution of American foreign policy doctrines and military planning during the cold war period. Nuclear deterrence and proliferation are discussed. The course focuses on national security strategies from 1945 through 1991. 

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Strategies of Containment: A Critical Reappraisal of American National Security Policy During the Cold War
By Gaddis, John Lewis (Oxford University Press)
The Origins of the Cold War: Problems in American Civilization
By McMahon, Rober J. and Thomas G. Patterson (Houghtn Mifflin)
The End of the Cold War: Its Meaning and Implications
By Hogan, Michael J. (Cambridge University Press (1995))
The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of our Times
By Westad, Odd Arne (Cambridge University Press)
The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts
By Hanhimake, Jussi M. and Odd Arne Westad (Oxford University Press (2005))
Course Objectives
  • To examine the various interpretations of the origins of the cold war.
  • To analyze the origins of the Containment Strategy.
  • To examine the strategies of the various administrations in dealing with the Soviet Union.
  • To examine the cold war in the Third World as an extension of the US/Soviet conflict.
  • To examine Vietnam as a case study for US strategy.
  • To examine the various interpretations regarding the end of the cold war.
  • To examine the legacy of the cold war on American diplomatic and military strategy.
Measurable Learning
  • Discuss and evaluate the historical interpretations of the origins of the cold war.
  • Describe the development of the containment strategy as an outcome of World War II.
  • Evaluate the implementation of containment during the early cold war.
  • Discuss and assess the changes to the containment strategy to deal with the Soviet Union.
  • Discuss the evolution and effectiveness of American strategy to deal with the cold war as a global phenomenon.
  • Examine and evaluate the US involvement in Vietnam.
  • Discuss and assess the factors that led to the end of the cold war.
  • Assess the impact of the end of the cold war on American post-cold diplomatic and military strategies.
Topical Outline:
  • Kennan and the containment strategy
  • NSC 68 and the Korean War
  • Eisenhower, Dulles and the new look
  • Kennedy, Johnson, and flexible response
  • Vietnam as a test case for flexible response
  • Nixon, Kissinger and Detente
  • Reagan, Gorbachev, and the completeness of containment
  • Containment after the Cold War

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 20

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Date: October 21, 2011
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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