The Cold War Objectives: United States History

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The Cold War
Objectives: United States History

  • Identify what actions Allied Powers took to stabilize Germany and Japan after the war and punish war criminals and explain why some people were dissatisfied with the war crimes trials.

  • Explain why the United Nations was founded and how it was organized.

  • Summarize the events that led to the founding of the new country of Israel and how Arabs responded.

  • Outline the causes of the Cold War and the U.S. strategy during the Cold War.

  • Discuss how the U.S. government attempted to control the development of atomic weapons.

  • Describe how the Marshall Plan, the formation of a West German government, the Berlin Airlift and the creation of NATO helped to limit Soviet expansion and the spread of communism in Europe.

Objectives: Economics

  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of capitalism.

  • Describe the differences among the doctrines of socialism, capitalism, and communism.

  • Compare the features of communism to other types of economic systems.

  • List four problems encountered when an economy makes the transition to capitalism

  • Recognize the major countries and regions that are making the transition to capitalism

Objective: United States Government/Comparative Governments

  • Examine the United States policy of resisting Soviet aggression during the cold war.

Time Required

One class period block schedule (with pre-assigned homework assignment)
Standards Addressed United States History

  • 1A, 1B, 1C, 6C, 6D, 20A

Materials Needed

Computer lab


In the class period preceding the strategy assign students to do internet research on the cold war. Have them concentrate on United States policies as well as the policies the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (Make sure your students are aware that this country no longer exists and that it is currently broken into many independent or semi-independent states, the largest of which is Russia.) Additionally, have them assemble arguments for each side that would blame the other for the tense, forty year struggle know as the Cold War.


On the day of the class, group students into sets of two. Assign each an A or a B. Have each A student take the role of a patriotic American. Have each B student take the role of a patriotic Russian. Give each group 15 minutes or more to debate the cases of their countries. When the set time limit has been reached, direct each group to construct a diagram with “Cold War” as its title and to compare the points of view of the two Superpowers.

Assign a position paper defending the position of one of the Superpowers. The paper should be typed and three pages, 12 font, in length.

A sample rubric:

20 points grammar and punctuation

50 points accuracy and evidence

20 points timeliness

10 points creativity
The following are books and websites students might find useful, interesting, or insightful:
Web sites

The Cold War by John Lewis Gaddis

We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History by John L. Gaddis (foreign relations)

America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945—2002 by Walter LeFeber

The Cold War: A Post-Cold War History by Ralph B. Levering

Cold War Era: Political Paranoia”

Target You! Cold War Educational Films from the Golden Age of Homeland Security”

Cold War Era” (three DVD set)

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