From World War to White Heat: the RAF in the Cold War
Explore the role that the Royal Air Force played in the Cold War through the collections of the RAF Museums at Hendon and Cosford.
This free online course is a collaboration between the Royal Air Force (RAF) Museums and the Department of History at Royal Holloway, University of London. It will introduce you to some of the major turning points in the history of Britain in the post-1945 era.
Explore the changing role of the RAF during the Cold War
Guided by Dr Ross Mahoney, Aviation Historian, RAF Museum, and Dr Emmett Sullivan, Senior Lecturer in History, Royal Holloway, the course will examine:
- The role of the RAF in the early Cold War period;
- RAF’s operations across the globe in an era of decolonisation;
- Britain’s decision to develop a nuclear deterrent;
- The development of the RAF’s strategic nuclear capability, the V-Force;
- The role of the RAF in defending UK airspace;
- The re-focus on NATO after East of Suez and the transfer of the strategic nuclear role to the Royal Navy;
- The RAF’s contribution to NATO.
Consider how the RAF is remembered and memorialised
Finally, we will consider how the RAF has been remembered and memorialised through the Cold War and beyond, with the establishment of the RAF Museums at Hendon and Cosford, the National Cold War Exhibition, and the erection of statues and monuments after 1945.
The course makes extensive use of material from the archives of the RAF Museum to illustrate the Cold War history of the RAF and was filmed on site at RAF Museum Hendon and Cosford.
Who is the course for?
This course is intended for anyone with an interest in 20th-century history, the Cold War or the history of aviation. It doesn’t require any reading before you start or previous experience of studying the subject.