ALEX Classroom Resource

  

The Cold War Primary Source Documents

  Classroom Resource Information  

Title:

The Cold War Primary Source Documents

URL:

https://sheg.stanford.edu/history-lessons/cold-war

Content Source:

Other
Stanford History Education Group
Type: Lesson/Unit Plan

Overview:

In this lesson, students explore a variety of documents highlighting various issues and perspectives that led to the Cold War and address the question: Who was primarily responsible for the Cold War, the United States or the Soviet Union? Students will read and analyze four primary documents about the Cold War including excerpts from Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech and the Truman Doctrine, to answer the essential question. 

The website includes lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, primary source documents, and student graphic organizers. Teachers will need to create a free account to access the materials. 

Content Standard(s):
Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 6
United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
8 ) Describe how the United States' role in the Cold War influenced domestic and international events.

•  Describing the origin and meaning of the Iron Curtain and communism
•  Recognizing how the Cold War conflict manifested itself through sports
Examples: Olympic Games, international chess tournaments, Ping-Pong diplomacy

•  Identifying strategic diplomatic initiatives that intensified the Cold War, including the policies of Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy
Examples: trade embargoes, Marshall Plan, arms race, Berlin blockade and airlift, Berlin Wall, mutually assured destruction, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Warsaw Pact, Cuban missile crisis, Bay of Pigs invasion

•  Identifying how Cold War tensions resulted in armed conflict
Examples: Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, proxy wars

•  Describing the impact of the Cold War on technological innovations
Examples: Sputnik; space race; weapons of mass destruction; accessibility of microwave ovens, calculators, and computers

•  Recognizing Alabama's role in the Cold War (Alabama)
Examples: rocket production at Redstone Arsenal, helicopter training at Fort Rucker (Alabama)

•  Assessing effects of the end of the Cold War Era
Examples: policies of Mikhail Gorbachev; collapse of the Soviet Union; Ronald W. Reagan's foreign policies, including the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI or Star Wars)

Unpacked Content
Strand: Economics, Geography, History, Civics and Government
Course Title: United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Compare and contrast democracy and communism.
  • Describe the origins and meaning of the Iron Curtain.
  • Recognize the emerging roles of the super powers in influencing cultural, economic, and military changes throughout the world.
  • Recognize Alabama's role in the Cold War.
  • Summarize how the Cold War influenced domestic and foreign policy.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Cold War
  • domestic
  • international
  • Iron Curtain
  • communism
  • democracy
  • embargo
  • blockade
  • diplomacy
  • strategic diplomatic initiative
  • proxy war
  • destruction
  • invasion
  • crisis
  • weapons of mass destruction
  • Strategic Defense Initiative
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • How the role the U.S. played in the Cold War influenced domestic and foreign policy.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Appraise the value of technological advances during the Cold War.
  • Cite specific textual evidence to analyze the influence of the super powers on cultural, technological, and political changes during the Cold War.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • The United States played an important role in the Cold War and this influenced U.S. domestic and foreign policy.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.6.8- Define the Cold War; identify how after World War II, the United States became a military superpower and a leader in world affairs along with the Soviet Union; identify at least one goal and at least one challenge of the United States during the Cold War.
SS.AAS.6.8a- Identifying Alabama's role in the Cold War.


Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 11
United States History II: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
11 ) Describe the international role of the United States from 1945 through 1960 relative to the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Blockade, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). [A.1.b., A.1.c., A.1.d., A.1.e., A.1.g., A.1.i., A.1.k.]

•  Describing Cold War policies and issues, the domino theory, McCarthyism, and their consequences, including the institution of loyalty oaths under Harry S. Truman, the Alger Hiss case, the House Un-American Activities Committee, and the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
Examples: G.I. Bill of Rights, consumer economy, Sputnik, rock and roll, bomb shelters, Federal-Aid Highway Act

•  Locating areas of conflict during the Cold War from 1945 to 1960, including East and West Germany, Hungary, Poland, Cuba, Korea, and China
Unpacked Content
Strand: Economics, Geography, History, Civics and Government
Course Title: United States History II: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Describe the international role of the United States from 1945 through 1960 relative to the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Blockade, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • Describe Cold War policies and issues, the domino theory, McCarthyism, and their consequences.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Cold War
  • domino theory
  • McCarthyism
  • space race
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • The international role of the United States from 1945 through 1960.
  • Important events, policies, and issues such as the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Blockade, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the domino theory, Sputnik and the beginning of the space race, and the consequences of each.
  • Important domestic events, policies, and issues such as McCarthyism, the institution of loyalty oaths, the Alger Hiss case, the House Un-American Activities Committee, the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the G.I. Bill of Rights, growth in the consumer economy, rock and roll, bomb shelters, Federal-Aid Highway Act and the consequences of each.
  • Location of areas of conflict during the Cold War.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Locate specific points on a map and identify political, social, and geographic changes that occurred during or as a result of a historical event.
  • Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media.
  • Evaluate an author's premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information related to historical events.
  • Read and comprehend historical texts independently and proficiently on various topics related to historical events.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • The United States played an important international role from 1945 through 1960, including domestic and foreign policies and actions related to this expanded role and the Cold War.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.11.11- Understand how the international role of the United States greatly increased after 1945; identify key societal people and/or events during the Cold War; identify key locations of conflict during the Cold War.
SS.AAS.11.11a - Define containment, espionage, McCarthyism, and the domino theory. Recognize how the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan attempted to stop the spread of communism.
SS.AAS.11.11b - List the countries that were members of the Warsaw Pact.
SS.AAS.11.11c - List t


Tags: Churchill, Cold War, Iron Curtain, Soviet Union, Truman Doctrine
License Type: Custom Permission Type
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Comments

This lesson assumes students have an understanding of the differences between communism and capitalism. 

Students should also know the following:

  • The US and Soviet Union were allies in WWII.
  • After WWII, Europe was in ruins, and former colonial empires were crumbling.
  • This set the scene for increased competition between the two superpowers, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. 
  • The Soviet Red Army remained in Eastern Europe after the war, which led to the Soviet Bloc.
  • At the same time, the United States developed policies of containment – in particular, the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan.

This lesson assumes that students have learned how to write clear topic sentences and support them with evidence. If students have not practiced these skills in the past, you may want to provide more support and scaffolding for this activity.

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Author: Asia Hester