Taking a lead on teaching the Cold War

Queen Elizabeth’s School’s History Department took a leading rôle in a conference for History teachers on the Cold War.

Organised by the Prince’s Teaching Institute, the event updated GCSE and A-level History teachers on recent research and debates, as well as providing an opportunity to discuss how to use recently released archival material in their teaching.
Twenty-five delegates took part in the conference hosted by QE at the Edgwarebury Hotel in Elstree, including three members of QE staff and two Sixth-Formers. QE gained Training School status last year and this event was one of its Training School opportunities.

It included three talks and a teacher workshop. The workshop was led by QE’s Head of History, Annette Liston, who shared teaching resources from QE with the delegates. She also welcomed delegates and gave an overview at the start of the conference.

The talks were:

Political Violence in Germany since 1968, by Dr Martin Ruehl, Lecturer in German at the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, Cambridge University. He linked the left-wing violence of the R.A.F/ ‘Baader Meinhof Komplex’ with developments in the Cold War, arguing that events in West Germany could not be understood in a vacuum but were only explicable by looking at the wider context of the struggles of the Cold War.

The Onset of the Cold War in Europe, by Professor Matthew Jones, a member of the School of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham. He set out the various historiographical approaches to the start of the Cold War, providing teachers with the framework for their own teaching of the controversy. He explained the arguments of the different approaches and schools of thought, and encouraged teachers and students to look for the strengths and weaknesses in each.

Crossing the Lines, by former Soviet journalist Andrei Ostalski, who started his career at the TASS News Agency and became special correspondent at Izvestia in 1986. He spoke of his personal recollections of journalism and politics in the era of the Cold War, especially of his time in the Middle East, and of the fall of the USSR. He pointed out the contradictions inherent in the communist state, which eventually led to its downfall, and the rôle of Gorbachev.