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Cold War

A brief guide to local resources on the Cold War, with emphasis on primary source collections available through Western Libraries Archives & Special Collections..

Useful Search Terms

You may find it useful to search library and/or archival catalogs using some of the following subject search terms (you can also narrow results by adding a geographic location, e.g. Antinuclear movement--Washington (State)  OR Antinuclear movement--Washington (State)--Bellingham):

  • Antinuclear movement
  • Cold War
  • Communism
  • Nuclear warfare
  • Peace movements
  • United States--Foreign Relations
  • United States--Relations--Soviet Union
  • Soviet Union--Relations--United States
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1974
  • Washington (State).--Legislature.--Joint Legislative Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities.

For resources about social protest and/or civil rights movements during the Cold War period, the following search terms may be useful:

  • Black power
  • Civil rights movements
  • College students
  • College students--Political activity
  • Conscientious Objectors
  • Feminism
  • Gay college students
  • New Left
  • Protest Movements
  • Race relations
  • Radicalism
  • Student movements
  • Student protesters
  • Women's rights

Ask a reference librarian or archivist if you need assistance.


This guide suggests useful resources for studying the history and impact of the Cold War, with an emphasis on primary and secondary sources available through Western Libraries and the Libraries' Archives & Special Collections holdings. Please contact Archives & Special Collections' staff or the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio if you have questions and/or need assistance finding more information.

Searching Western Libraries' Catalog

Consult with your instructors about recommended readings and ask us if you need help finding a specific title or type of resource. Some of the following may be useful for background information & context (or for suggestions of primary source materials of local and regional interest): 


Western Libraries provides access to a wide variety of article and research databases (a WWU log-in is required). Follow this link to the Libraries' online guide to Databases A-Z and/or ask staff at the Libraries' Research Desk for assistance.