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Module HTH-3167:
Hot Wars of the Cold War

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Overall aims and purpose

The Korean War (1950–53) and the Vietnam War (1955–75) were among the most seminal confrontations of the global Cold War. This top-ic module will deal with political, military, social, and economic aspects of both wars comparatively. In addition to exploring the domestic causes and dynamics of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, we will also consider both Third World conflicts as lenses for analysing a wide range of inter-national events and trends. A special objective is to explore the factors prompting global powers to intervene, including the United States, France, the Soviet Union, and China.

Course content

This module will cover several critical historiographical questions, in-cluding: What were the Asian origins of both conflicts? How and why did the anti-colonial nations of Korea and Vietnam become so divided? Why did the Cold War superpowers commit so much to small and peripheral countries? What role did the larger Cold War play? How and why did the conflicts end? What are the global legacies of both wars? Topics covered on the module include: Introducing the Korean War; Stalin, Mao, and Kim Il-sung; MacArthur and the U.S. Occupation of North Korea; Propaganda and Protest; Impacts of the Korean War; Introducing the Indochina Wars; Vietnamese Anti-Colonialism; LBJ and the Decision to Escalate; Southeast Asia and the Vietnam War; War-time Protest Movements.

Assessment Criteria

C- to C+

C+ Work will receive a C+ mark if it: shows evidence of solid reading, but remains partially superficial; covers the important aspects of the relevant field, but in some places lacks depth; advances a coherent and relevant argument; employs some evidence to back its points; and is presented reasonably well with only a few mistakes. It will also contain appropriate references and bibliography, which may, however, be slightly erratic and/or partially insufficient.

C Work will receive a C mark if it: shows evidence of solid reading, but remains superficial; covers most of the important aspects of the relevant field, but lacks depth; advances a coherent and largely relevant argument; employs some limited evidence to back its points; and is presented reasonably well with only limited mistakes. It will also contain appropriate references and bibliography, which may, however, contain some mistakes or be slightly erratic and/or partially insufficient.

C- Work will receive a C- mark if it: shows evidence of solid reading, but little knowledge of in-depth studies; covers most of the important aspects of the relevant field, but lacks depth or misses a significant area (this may mean that it fails to deploy the historical details found in specialist literature); advances a coherent, and sometimes relevant argument, but drifts away from tackling the task in hand (for example, by ordering the argument in an illogical way, becoming distracted by tangential material, or lapsing into narrative of only partial pertinence); usually employs evidence to back its points, but occasionally fails to do so or deploys an insufficient range; displays an awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways, but may fail to get to the heart of the central scholarly debate or fully understand a key point (this may extend to a failure to discuss important subtleties or ambiguities in the evidence, or to a lack of awareness of the current state of historical debate); is reasonably well presented and contains appropriate references and bibliography, but makes some mistakes in presentation or appropriate use.

threshold

D+ Work is marked D+ if it: shows evidence of acceptable amounts of reading, but does not go much beyond lecture notes and/or a basic textbook; covers much of the necessary ground but fails to discuss one or a few vital aspects of a topic; deploys relevant material but partly fails to combine it into a coherent whole, or sustains a clear argument only for the greater part of the piece; deploys some evidence to support individual points, but sometimes fails to do so, or shows difficulty in weighing evidence, or chooses unreliable evidence; displays an awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways but without devoting sustained discussion to this; is for the most part correctly presented but has sections where there are serious problems in presentation, style, spelling, grammar, or paragraph construction (but see guidelines on dyslexia); and uses references and bibliography where needed but occasionally misunderstands their appropriate use or makes mistakes in their presentation.

D Work is marked D if it: shows evidence of an acceptable minimum of reading, based partly on lecture notes and/or a basic textbook; covers some of the necessary ground but fails to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; deploys some relevant material but partly fails to combine it into a coherent whole or sustains a clear argument for only some parts of the piece; deploys some evidence to support individual points but often fails to do so or shows difficulty weighing evidence or chooses unreliable, atypical or inappropriate evidence; shows some awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways but the differences will not receive sustained discussion or analysis; is often correctly presented but has sections where there are serious difficulties in presentation, style, spelling, grammar, or paragraph construction (but see guidelines on dyslexia); and uses references and bibliography where needed but sometimes misunderstands their appropriate use or makes serious mistakes in their presentation.

D- Work is marked D- if it: shows evidence of an acceptable minimum of reading, based largely on lecture notes and/or a basic textbook; covers parts of the necessary ground but fails to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; deploys some potentially relevant material but fails to bring it together into a coherent whole or sustains a clear argument for only parts of the piece; occasionally deploys evidence to back some individual points but often fails to do so or shows difficulty weighing evidence or chooses unreliable, atypical, or inappropriate evidence; may show some awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways but the differences will not receive sustained discussion or analysis; is in part correctly presented but has sections where there are serious difficulties in presentation, style, spelling, grammar, or paragraph construction (but see guidelines on dyslexia); and uses references and bibliography where needed but sometimes misunderstands their appropriate use or makes serious mistakes in their presentation.

excellent

A* At this level, first-class work earns its mark by showing genuine originality. It may advance a novel argument or deal with evidence which has not been considered before. Such originality of ideas or evidence is coupled with the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected of first-class work graded at A or A+. At this level, the work exhausts relevant secondary material, includes unanticipated primary evidence and betrays no factual or interpretative inaccuracy. It can also show a mastery of theory and deploy hypotheses subtly and imaginatively. In the case of essays, work of this standard will be impeccable in presentation and will be publishable.

A+ At this level, first-class work will have its argument supported by an impressive wealth and relevance of detail but will further deploy the evidence consistently accurately and give indications of deploying unexpected primary and secondary sources. It will habitually demonstrate a particularly acute and critical awareness of the historiography and/or interdisciplinary debate, including conceptual approaches, and give a particularly impressive account of why the conclusions reached are important within a specific historical debate. It will show a particularly sophisticated approach to possible objections, moderating the line taken in the light of counterexamples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. It will be original work. The standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently first-class work. Standards of presentation will be very high.

A At this level, first-class work will have its argument supported by an impressive wealth and relevance of detail. It will usually also demonstrate an acute awareness of historiography and give an impressive account of why the conclusions reached are important within a specific historical debate. It may show a particularly subtle approach to possible objections, moderating the line taken in the light of counterexamples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. Overall, the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be con-sistently superior to top upper-second class work. Standards of presen-tation will be high.

A- A first-class mark at this level is often earned simply by demonstrating one or more of the features of a good upper-second class essay to a peculiar degree, for example presenting a particularly strong organization of argument, strong focus, wide range of reading, engagement with the historiography, depth of understanding, an unobjectionable style, and strong presentation.

good

B+ Work will receive a B+ mark if it is consistently strong in covering the necessary ground in depth and detail; advancing a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument; analysis and deployment of an appropriate range of historical evidence and consideration of possible differences of interpretation; and is correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.

B Work will receive a B mark if it is clear that it is based on solid reading; covers the necessary ground in depth and detail; advances a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument; analyses and deploys an appropriate range of historical evidence and considers possible differences of interpretation; and is correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.

B- Work will receive a B- mark if it is clearly based on solid reading; covers the necessary ground in some depth and detail; advances a properly structured, relevant, and focused argument; analyses and deploys an appropriate range of historical evidence and considers possible differences of interpretation; and is correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate wide-ranging and comparative knowledge of the overall development of the Korean War and the Vietnam War as well as of the Cold War contexts in which they were embedded.

  2. Show detailed knowledge of specific aspects of the Korean War and the Vietnam War, evaluating the interplay between domestic politics and foreign affairs in a range of global contexts.

  3. Form and present clear arguments about aspects of the Korean War and the Vietnam War and back these arguments with detailed historical evidence, thus applying transferable skills including effective written and oral communication as well as time and project management.

  4. Evaluate primary sources and use the insight gained from them as an integral part of historical argument.

  5. Judge between competing historical interpretations of the period, including current historiographical positions.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ORAL oral examination

Students should be prepared to discuss one of the questions printed at the end of the module handbook in a 15-minute dialogue with two members of staff. They are welcome to come and see the module convenore during office hours to talk about how to prepare for the oral examination. They should make sure they can present an argument concerning their chosen question. They should display an ability to engage with historiographical controversies and judge between interpretations. They should consult both articles and books when preparing. Internet resources should be used sparingly. They should be prepared to talk about what they read in preparation.

40
ESSAY essay (must use primary sources)

Essays will test knowledge and understanding of the Korean War and of the Vietnam War and their impact on other parts of the world. Questions are on specific issues/events/localities/periods of the broader topic. Essays must use primary sources as an integral part of historical argument. Essays must conform to departmental guidelines in respect of presentation. Essays should be correctly referenced with footnotes, particularly when quoting verbatim. They should also include a bibliography of the sources employed in writing that should again conform to the regulations. Essay questions are to be chosen from a list. Students should not change the questions in any way. They should ensure that they fully engage with the question, not waste words on unnecessary narrative or background, and only include what serves a purpose for the argument. It will be possible to submit an essay plan, but beyond this, no drafts of assessed work will be read.

60

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

1 lecture a week until 11th week. Attendance at the lectures is essential. They provide students with knowledge and understanding of the key themes and issues covered by this module. They also direct them to relevant sources and provide an overview of the historiography.

10
Seminar

Seminars are based on assigned primary and secondary sources and unassessed small-group presentations focused on a primary source.

10
Tutorial

Preparation, feedback, revision.

1
Workshop

Film screening and discussion workshops.

6
Private study

Students must spend significant periods of time working on this module. Simply attending the lectures, seminars and workshops will not be sufficient. They should aim to spend around 10 hours a week during the teaching period reading the assigned texts and working on the various tasks for this module.

173

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • problem solving to develop solutions to understand the past
  • understanding the complexity of change over time; in specific contexts and chronologies
  • being sensitive to the differences, or the "otherness" of the past, and the difficulty to using it as a guide to present or future action
  • producing logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence
  • planning, designing, executing and documenting a programme of research, working independently
  • marshalling and critically appraising other people's arguments, including listening and questioning
  • making critical and effective use of information retrieval skills using paper-based and electronic resources
  • collaborating effectively in a team via experience of working in a group
  • critical evaluation of one's own and others' opinions

Resources

Resource implications for students

none, other than perhaps the purchase of a few books

Talis Reading list

http://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/hth-3167.html

Reading list

Primary

Lawrence, Mark A. (ed.), The Vietnam War: An International History in Documents (2014)

Wilson Center Digital Archive, “Korean War 1950–1953”, https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/collection/50/korean-war-1950-1953

Secondary

Anderson, David L. (ed.), The Columbia History of the Vietnam War (2011)

Asselin, Pierre, Vietnam’s American War: A History (2018)

Casey, Steven, Selling the Korean War: Propaganda, Politics, and Public Opinion in the United States, 1950–1953 (2008)

Cummings, Bruce, The Korean War: A History (2010)

Dommen, Arthur J., The Indochinese Experience of the French and the Americans: Nationalism and Communism in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam (2001)

Foot, Rosemary, The Wrong War: American Policy and the Dimensions of the Korean Conflict, 1950–1953 (1985)

Frazier, Jessica M., Women’s Antiwar Diplomacy during the Vietnam War Era (2017)

Herring, George, America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950–1975 (5th ed. 2015)

Hixson, Walter L. (ed.), The Vietnam Antiwar Movement (2000)

Kaufman, Burton I., The Korean War: Challenges in Crisis, Credibility and Command (2nd ed. 1997)

Masuda, Hajimu, Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World (2015)

Stueck, William, Rethinking the Korean War (2002)

Wu, Judy Tzu-Chun, Radicals on the Road: Nationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era (2013)

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: