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History 261a/Political Science 176a
Professor John Gaddis
MW 1-2:15 PM Yale Art Gallery


The Cold War

Fall, 1998/99


With the conclusion of the Cold War, it has become possible for the first time to teach that subject from beginning to end, and to incorporate the viewpoints of all its major participants. This course will draw upon recently-released Soviet, East European, and Chinese documentary and video sources, as well as those already available from the United States and its Western European allies, to provide a comprehensive synthesis. It will introduce major interpretive issues emerging from these new materials.

Required readings (available in paperback for purchase at Bookhaven; also on 24 hour reserve at CCL):

Richard Crockatt, The Fifty Years War or Ronald Powaski, The Cold War.

Anatoly Dobrynin, In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War Presidents.

John Lewis Gaddis, We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History.

Li Zhisui, The Private Life of Chairman Mao

Timothy Naftali and Aleksandr Fursenko, “One Hell of a Gamble”: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964.

Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era: The United States and the Soviet Union, 1983-1991.

Stephen J. Whitfield, The Culture of the Cold War.


Grades will be based on a mid-term examination (30%), a 5-10 page take home essay (25%), oral participation in discussion sections (10%), and a final examination (35%).

Credits: This course counts toward meeting the History Department’s “European” history requirement. Students wishing to use it to fulfill the “American” or “non-Western” requirement may do so, with the permission of the instructor, by writing the take-home essay on a subject within those fields and submitting it for review, after the semester has ended, by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Office hours: HGS 243, MW 2:30-3:30, T 3:30-4:00, or by appointment. Office phones: 432-1374 or 432-9371. E-mail:

Lecture/Discussion Schedule: