History Dissertation Topics Cold War Flier

Almost as soon as he took office, President Richard Nixon (1913-1994) began to implement a new approach to international relations. Instead of viewing the world as a hostile, “bi-polar” place, he suggested, why not use diplomacy instead of military action to create more poles? To that end, he encouraged the United Nations to recognize the communist Chinese government and, after a trip there in 1972, began to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing. At the same time, he adopted a policy of “détente”–”relaxation”–toward the Soviet Union. In 1972, he and Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev (1906-1982) signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I), which prohibited the manufacture of nuclear missiles by both sides and took a step toward reducing the decades-old threat of nuclear war.

Despite Nixon’s efforts, the Cold War heated up again under President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004). Like many leaders of his generation, Reagan believed that the spread of communism anywhere threatened freedom everywhere. As a result, he worked to provide financial and military aid to anticommunist governments and insurgencies around the world. This policy, particularly as it was applied in the developing world in places like Grenada and El Salvador, was known as the Reagan Doctrine.

Even as Reagan fought communism in Central America, however, the Soviet Union was disintegrating. In response to severe economic problems and growing political ferment in the USSR, Premier Mikhail Gorbachev (1931-) took office in 1985 and introduced two policies that redefined Russia’s relationship to the rest of the world: “glasnost,” or political openness, and “perestroika,” or economic reform. Soviet influence in Eastern Europe waned. In 1989, every other communist state in the region replaced its government with a noncommunist one. In November of that year, the Berlin Wall–the most visible symbol of the decades-long Cold War–was finally destroyed, just over two years after Reagan had challenged the Soviet premier in a speech at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” By 1991, the Soviet Union itself had fallen apart. The Cold War was over.

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Browse a list of Ph.D. theses concerning the Cold War, and the list of university teachers who study the Cold War in various ways. Completed theses are available from the University library of the institution where the thesis was submitted.

History Online provides information on current and past research in the United Kingdom. It also lists the research interests of UK history teachers. Search History Online for further details of current and past research and for details of the research interests of history teachers. Please remember that neither list below is comprehensive; the aim is to provide a sample of research on and teachers associated with this topic.


Cold War socialist and anti-socialist discourses and their effects on working-class activity and identification in Britain and America, 1945–93.

Joy M. Cushman
Supervised by: Dr. Jim Phillips and Professor Eleanor J. Gordon
Glasgow Ph.D. Awarded 2004

Hunting the cold monster: a study of the state in the era of the 'long' Cold War using comparative case studies from Britain and Germany.

Richard Maguire
Supervised by: Professor Edward D.J. Acton
East Anglia M.Phil. Awarded 2004

From world war to Cold War: aspects of the management and co-ordination of American intelligence, 1941–53.

L.A. Valero
Supervised by: Professor Christopher M. Andrew
Cambridge Ph.D. Awarded 2002

US and UK intelligence assessment during the early Cold War: a comparative study.

M.R. Perl
Supervised by: Professor Christopher M. Andrew
Cambridge Ph.D. Awarded 2002

The best of all possible worlds? The ideology and practice of British Communism in the Cold War, 1953–61.

Glyn W. Powell
Supervised by: Dr. E.B. (Rick) Halpern
London Ph.D. Awarded 2001

The Turkish Straits and the Great Powers: from the Montreux Convention to the early Cold War, 1936–47.

Suleyman Seydi
Supervised by: Dr. Steven Morewood
Birmingham Ph.D. Awarded 2001

Britain and the origins of the Cold War in East Asia, 1944–9.

Christopher J. Baxter
Supervised by: Professor Saki Dockrill
London Ph.D. Awarded 2000

The Cold War and American politics.

J.W. Bell
Cambridge Ph.D. Awarded 2000

Burma and British Cold War policy, 1946–51.

Benjamin J. Morris
Supervised by: Dr. Peter C. Lowe
Manchester M.Phil. Awarded 2000

The Atlantic partnership and Middle Eastern strategy in the early Cold War.

Derek Varble
Supervised by: Professor Robert J. O'Neill
Oxford D.Phil. Awarded 2000

Britain, Italy and the early Cold War: aspects of British foreign policy towards Italy, 1946–9.

Efstathia E. Pedaliu
London Ph.D. Awarded 1999

The Cold War and the change in the nature of military power.

Lee McLeod Peterson
Supervised by: Dr. Christopher Coker
London Ph.D. Awarded 1999

Bulgaria and the Cold War, 1944–56.

Marieta Stankova
Supervised by: Dr. Anita J. Prazmowska
London Ph.D. 1999

'A woman's place is in the Cold War': American women's organizations and international relations, 1945–65.

Helen Laville
Nottingham Ph.D. Awarded 1998

The failure of democracy in eastern Europe and the emergence of the Cold War, 1944–8: a Bulgarian case study.

Vesselin T. Dimitrov
Supervised by: Dr. Orlando G. Figes
Cambridge Ph.D. Awarded 1997

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Simon J. Ball

Research interests: British defence policy, colonial policy and politics; the Cold War
Glasgow (Department of History)

Michael Cox

Research interests: Cold War history; international history of the 20th century; American foreign policy
London: London School of Economics (Department of International Relations)

Saki Dockrill

Research interests: The end of post-war order; US national security policy; national interests & human security in East Asia
London: King's College (Department of War Studies)

Martin H. Folly

Research interests: International history of the Cold War; Grand Alliance diplomacy in World War II; Anglo-American relations and the foundation of NATO
Brunel University (Department of American Studies & History)

Till Geiger

Research interests: The transatlantic relationship since 1945; American foreign assistance policy and the political economy of the Cold War; Irish foreign policy since 1919
Manchester (Department of History)

Michael S. Goodman

Research interests: Nuclear weapons history; intelligence; Cold War history
London: King's College (Department of War Studies)

Armin Grünbacher

Research interests: Post-war German reconstruction and the Cold War; post-1945 German social and economic history
Birmingham (School of Historical Studies)

Dianne Kirby

Research interests: Religion and the Cold War
Ulster (School of History, Philosophy and Politics (Jordanstown))

Klaus Larres

Research interests: Cold War history, especially US-EU & US-German relations post-1945
Ulster (School of History & International Affairs)

J. Paul Maddrell

Research interests: German history since 1945; history of the Soviet Union; Soviet and American defence policy; espionage during the Cold War
Aberystwyth (Department of International Politics)

Chi-Kwan Mark

Research interests: The Cold War in Asia; Hong Kong in Sino-British relations; the American community on China's periphery
London: Royal Holloway University of London (Department of History)

Effie Pedaliu

Research interests: The Cold War; transatlantic relations; European and Mediterranean security since 1945; human rights
West of England, Bristol (School of History)

Kevin J. Ruane

Research interests: Anglo-American relations and the Cold War in South-East Asia 1945–60
Canterbury Christ Church (Department of History)

Susanna Schrafstetter

Research interests: Cold War; nuclear history
Glamorgan (School of Humanities, Law – Social Sciences)

Tony Shaw

Research interests: Communications and politics; Cold War; film and history
Hertfordshire (Department of Humanities)

John Swift

Research interests: Labour party history; Cold War
St. Martin's College, Lancaster (Department of History)

J. William D. Trythall

Research interests: 20th–century Spanish history, especially politics; Franco regime; Spain & Cold War
York (Department of History)

James Vaughan

Research interests: Anglo-American relations; propaganda and the Cold War; history of the Middle East 1940s–50s
Aberystwyth (Department of International Politics)

Arne Westad

Research interests: Cold War history; international history of East Asia
London: London School of Economics (Department of International History)

John W. Young

Research interests: Cold War and British Foreign Policy
Nottingham (School of History)

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