S. II 8a-d; 9b Letter #1 1950’s



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Cold War Letters Study Guide (U.S.II 8a-d; 9b)

Letter #1 1950’s

Key ideas to understand about the 1950s

  • The U.S. had a strong economy (healthy job market, increased productivity, increased demand for American products).

  • Immediately following WWII, the work force shifted back to men, and most women returned full time to family responsibilities.

  • Americans continued to purchase goods on credit.

  • With rationing of consumer goods over, businesses converted from production of war materials to consumer goods.

  • There was a greater investment in education.

  • The “Baby Boom” was when people were having more children and it led to changing demographics

  • The interstate highway system was created.

  • Labor unions merged and became more powerful; workers gained new benefits and higher salaries

  • Eleanor Roosevelt helped to expand human rights & worked as a delegate to the United Nations

  • Women were expected to play supporting role in the family while increasingly working outside the home.

  • African Americans increased aspirations (goals / hopes) for equal opportunities

  • As economic prosperity continued and technology boomed, the next generation of women entered the labor force in large numbers.

  • Civil Rights legislation led to increased education, economic, and political opportunities for women and minorities.

What gave educational, housing, and employment benefits to veterans? G.I. Bill of Rights

Which President desegregated the armed forces? Harry S Truman



Letter #2 Beginning of the Cold War and Korea

Which organization was formed near the end of World War II to create a body for the nations of the world to try to prevent future global wars? United Nations (U.N.)

The containment policy was started by the U.S. during the Cold War to try to stop the spread of communism.

The Marshall Plan (created by George C. Marshall) was instituted by the United States and provided massive financial aid to help rebuild European economies after World War II and to prevent the spread of communism.

Much of Europe was in ruins following World War II. Who occupied most of Eastern and Central Europe and the eastern portion of Germany? the Soviet Union

Who felt it was in its best interest to help rebuild Europe and prevent political and economic instability? the United States

What term means the state of tension without actual fighting between the two superpowers after WWII, which divided the world into two camps? Cold War

What two superpowers emerged after World War II? the Soviet Union and the United States

What type of government and economy did the United States have? democratic; capitalist

What type of government and economy did the Soviet Union have? dictatorship; communist



North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was an alliance formed after WWII by Canada, the U.S. and countries of Western Europe.

The Warsaw Pact was an alliance formed after WWII by the Soviet Union and countries of Eastern Europe.

After World War II, Germany was partitioned into two countries.



    • Which country became communist and remained under the domination of the Soviet Union and did not adopt democratic institutions? East Germany

    • Which country became democratic and resumed self-government after a few years of American, British and French occupation? West Germany

The Korean War began in 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea because North Korea wanted South Korea to be communist. China and the Soviet Union came to the aid of North Korea. The UN and the United States came to the aid of South Korea to fight North Korean aggression. (The US was the police force for the UN)

Red China joins after General MacArthur makes the mistake of crossing the Yalu River and China joins the war with 300,000 troops, pushing the US/UN police forces back across the 38th Parallel.

3 years very little movement, called a stalemate. No one winning, no one loosing.

Which war ended in a stalemate, leaving the country divided? Korean War



What happened: Beginning, Middle and End of the Korean War?

Letter #3 JFK, Berlin Wall, Cuban Missile Crisis and Space Race

The space race started in 1957 when the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite called Sputnik.

One year later, the U.S. started a new space organization called NASA

What event symbolized the Cold War? the construction of the Berlin Wall symbolized division between the West and East (democracy and communism)

What did the United States do when they discovered the Soviet Union had placed nuclear missiles in Cuba? Created a blockade of USSR ships to Cuba. Afterwards, after having been on the brink of war, President JFK and Khrushchev agreed:


  1. The U.S. would not invade Cuba; (2) missiles would be removed from Cuba

Leaders: US- JFK USSR Nikita Khrushchev Cuba-Fidel Castro

What happened: Beginning, Middle and End of the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Letter #4 Vietnam War

The containment policy was started by the U.S. during the Cold War to try to stop the spread of communism.

In which war were Americans divided over whether or not to be involved militarily? Vietnam War

What was considered to be the only war that the U.S. lost because they were unable to prevent an Asian country from falling to communism? (It ended in a cease-fire agreement in which U.S. troops withdrew.) Vietnam War

Name two wars that took place after World War II that started when one nation invaded another to spread communism. Korean War and Vietnam War

Vietnam was the first war Americans could see on TV. It was not something people were used to seeing.

This lead to people protesting against the war and not supporting it.

What was considered to be the only war that the U.S. lost because they were unable to prevent an Asian country from falling to communism? (It ended in a cease-fire agreement in which U.S. troops withdrew.) Vietnam War



What happened: Beginning, Middle and End of the Vietnam War?

Letter #5 Middle and End of the Cold War

The containment policy was started by the U.S. during the Cold War to try to stop the spread of communism.

What two superpowers emerged after World War II? the Soviet Union and the United States

What type of government and economy did the United States have? democratic; capitalist

What type of government and economy did the Soviet Union have? dictatorship; communist

The Marshall Plan (created by George C. Marshall) was instituted by the United States and provided massive financial aid to help rebuild European economies after World War II and to prevent the spread of communism.

Who was leader of the Soviet Union who instituted economic and social reform, which helped bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union? Mikhail Gorbachev

Which former all-communist country is now divided into independent countries? the Soviet Union

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was an alliance formed after WWII by Canada, the U.S. and countries of Western Europe.

The Warsaw Pact was an alliance formed after WWII by the Soviet Union and countries of Eastern Europe.

What theory said that if one nation fell to communism, others would soon follow? the Domino Theory



What event symbolized the Cold War? the construction of the Berlin Wall symbolized division between the West and East (democracy and communism)

    • The Berlin Wall came down in 1989, thus exemplifying the collapse of communism in Europe

What brought about an end to the Cold War? increased openness, freedom and democracy in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union; the Berlin Wall came down; the USSR was split up into independent countries


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