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Causes of the Cold War

Causes of the Cold War

Challenges & Opportunities

Available to teachers only as part of the Teaching Causes of the Cold War Teacher Pass

Teaching Causes of the Cold War Teacher Pass includes:

  • Assignments & Activities
  • Reading Quizzes
  • Current Events & Pop Culture articles
  • Discussion & Essay Questions
  • Challenges & Opportunities
  • Related Readings in Literature & History

Sample of Challenges & Opportunities

Your students are part of the first post-Cold War generation. They have no immediate sense of the anxieties that filled the 40 years following World War II. They did not wake up in the morning fearing nuclear war or imagining the Soviet Union to be "the bad guy."  Therefore, one of the challenges in teaching this material is to bridge the "generation gap"—bring to life a sense of a world full of imminent danger that preoccupied your students' parents and grandparents.

One of the activities included here asks your students to re-imagine the sort of anxieties engendered by air-raid drills and fallout shelters, by the wide circulation of information about megatonnage and secondary blast effects. But you might want to couple this examination to a discussion about the unsatisfying nature of the policy of containment. Having decided that communism was a deadly menace threatening world domination, American policymakers could only pledge to contain, not eradicate, the evil. Exploring how the public might have felt about the limitations of this policy will help your students understand the policy shifts during the Korean War, the appeal of General MacArthur's alternative strategy, and the political risks taken by President Truman in dismissing MacArthur.


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