World War II to present

World War II to the Present examines the causes, impact, and consequences of World War II, the deadliest conflict in history. It then explores major developments and events around the globe from 1945 until the present.

What’s it about?

World War Two was the deadliest conflict in world history. Between the outbreak of war on 1 September 1939 and the end of the war on 15 August 1945, there were an estimated 50 to 85 million casualties. This course will begin by examining the causes of World War Two, followed by the major events and crucial battles during the war. It will examine the Holocaust and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that finally brought an end to the war.

In the aftermath of the war, new political, economic, and ideological alignments led to the emergence of the US and Soviet Union as global superpowers. This course will explore what led to the Cold War and nuclear arms race, and consider its global impact. It will examine the proxy wars fought in the developing world and the decolonization process. In the aftermath of the Cold War, the position of the US as the only superpower has led to new political and economic alignments, and a period of increasing globalization. The final section of this course will examine the world today. 

What will I learn?

In this micro course you will:

  • Learn about the origins of World War II
  • Examine the key events and battles of World War II
  • Learn about the Holocaust
  • Explore the aftermath of World War II
  • Examine how the US and the Soviet Union emerged as global superpowers
  • Learn about the Cold War and its aftermath
  • Discover what motivated the decolonization process
  • Learn about the Developing World
  • Reflect on the positive and negative impacts of Globalization
What’s involved?

There are nine learning pathways each containing multiple resources, such as videos, readings and primary source material. Each learning pathway begins with an overview, and concludes with a review quiz. The learning pathways are:

  • The Causes of World War II
  • The Global Impact of World War II
  • The Aftermath of World War II
  • The Reconstruction of Europe and Asia
  • The Cold War and Decolonization in the Developing World
  • Global Effects of the Cold War
  • The End of the Cold War and its Aftermath
  • Developing Nations in Modern Times
  • Globalization 

The micro-course can be completed in approximately 40 hours, including preparation for assessment. 


To be determined

World War II to the present is one of three micro-courses required for formal credit towards World History from 1600-present, a 1st year-level Bachelors course at Thomas Edison State University. Each micro-course can be studied independently in any sequence. 

WHME101 World history in the early modern era
WHME102 Imperialism and war
WHME103 World War II to the present


Image credit: SR-71A reconnaissance aircraft, sourced from the Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain. 

Course Code: WHME103
Estimated Start: 2019Q2
Duration: 4 weeks,10 hours per week
Type: Micro course

Credentialing: Official course credit
Course Credit: World History in the Early Modern and Modern Eras
Credential: Certificate of General Studies
Level: 1st year Bachelor’s

Who are the developers:
Dr. Deborah Mayersen, Deborah Mayersen is an historian based at the University of Wollongong. Her research expertise is in comparative genocide studies, including the Armenian Read More

The course materials for this micro-course (WHME101) were proudly remixed for OERu from the Saylor Academy course on World History in the Early Modern and Modern Eras  published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported  license.