Cold War Inquiry

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Curriculet Details
26 Questions
23 Annotations
1 Quiz

In this activity students will explore several key events in Cold War history--the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War and the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua--in an effort to determine how the Cold War impacted people around the world. For each event there are a series of documents that compare perspectives of the involved parties, civilians, soldiers, leaders, etc. It is suggested that students are allowed some time to talk to a peer or small group a few times while they are working in order to help them process the information more fully. It would also be helpful if they had a basic idea about the context of the Cold War, related academic vocabulary, key figures and the outcomes.

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Cold War Inquiry

This chart helps detail the ideological and strategic differences between USSR and the US. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.6
Despite the key ideological differences between the Americans and the Soviets, did you notice any similarity in their objectives?  
This video will summarize the entire Cold War, and it serves as an excellent preview for the rest of the activity. It is important to know yourself as a learner. If you do not feel confident in your understanding of the "CW" you should be taking more detailed notes, but if you feel like you just need a brief refresher a short outline should suffice.  (This annotation contains a video)
In this clip from the BBC series "World War II Behind Closed Doors" you can see what Germany was like following the end of the war, the destruction, the new propaganda, etc. It also does an excellent job of explaining the tensions between the Soviets and the Western Allies. It isn't necessary to watch the full 57 minutes, but the first 15 minutes are relevant to your study of the airlift. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.8
Imagine that you are Stalin, what does it look like the Western Allies are trying to do? How would you react to this move? Why? 
Civilians in Berlin waiting for much needed supplies. (The photograph and caption below were taken from Wikipedia.) (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.6
Looking at the map, what can you infer about lives of the German people under the supervision of so many outside forces? Explain. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.8
What does Molotov's quote reveal about the Soviet government's feelings about the Berlin Blockade and Airlift?   
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.8
Look closely at this advertisement from Douglas.  Notice the details, such as the light shining down from the heavens, the planes delivering milk, etc. What do you think Douglas was trying to imply about their planes and the mission of Allied pilots? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7
How do you think this outcome made the American public feel?  Why? 
This is a rare opportunity to hear detailed explanations of events from the people who lived through something, rather than read about it generally in a textbook. This video offers a treasure trove of narratives, and it will help you better understand the impact this event had.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.1
Summarize the feelings troops had towards this conflict. (Particularly in light of the fact that it closely followed World War II.) How do you imagine participating impacted them personally?   
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7
Put yourself in Eddie Ko's position. How do you think you would react to seeing the invasion of Seoul, and the executions of others? Explain. 
In this clip Eddie Ko, a South Korean native, explains his traumatic introduction to the war.  (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.1
Look closely at the North Korean soldiers/hostages in the picture above. What do you notice? What does that say about how North Koreans were impacted by the war?   
For more photographs of the Korean War you can visit the History Channel's website. (This annotation contains a link)
The Kennedy Presidential Library has but together an extensive online resources related to the crisis. If you want more in depth information it is a wonderful site to visit. (This annotation contains a link)
This map was printed in an American newspaper during the crisis. It shows how many miles Cuba is from large American cities.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.8
McNamara notes that Kruschev’s state of mind seemed stressed. What does this indicate about the pressure leader’s felt about defending their ideology and their allies? How do you think average citizens felt during those 13 days? Explain. 
In this clip Former Secretary of Defense William McNamara offers a behind the scenes look into how executives deal with crises. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.8
What does the use of a Nazi swastika indicate about how some Cuban's felt about the US government and their policies? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.6
Do you agree with McNamara's statement that mutually assured destruction is the key to deterring aggressive enemies? Explain. How could this point of view lead to a nuclear arms race? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7
In your opinion, what was the biggest lesson to come out of the Cuban Missile Crisis? Explain. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.6
In the "Fog of War" clip McNamara notes the importance of empathy. Do you agree that empathizing with your enemies is important? Explain why or why not. 
This PBS link offers comprehensive resources on the Vietnam War. If you are curious about the war, details of the fighting or interested in seeing primary sources this is a wonderful website to visit. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7
Considering our ideology, what about this US foreign policy seems hypocritical? Explain.  
Follow this link to LIFE Magazine's page related to this atrocity. They have a very detailed account of the massacre. Please note that the photographs are quite disturbing, and you may just want to read the story. (This annotation contains a link)
You can follow this link to find out more about this now infamous protest.  (This annotation contains a link)
In this Sky News mini-documentary you will see a description of how the Vietnam War spilled over into neighboring Cambodia, and gain an understanding of how that fostered genocide. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7
What message do you think this sent to the American people? How would you feel about this outcome if you had fought in this conflict? 
In this BBC documentary you will get a clear sense of what was happening at the end of the war.  (This annotation contains a video)
In this short clip you will see a history of the war through statistical information. When you follow the link it is necessary to click on the sixth video titled "Vietnam" (1:42 running time). (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.8
After watching the "Search and Destroy" clip, what can you infer about the impact US military tactics were having on the Vietnamese people? How do you think they felt towards Americans? Explain. 
This clip will offer an insiders look at early US policies in Vietnam. When you follow the link it is necessary to click on the seventh video called "Search and Destroy" (3:01 running time). (This annotation contains a link)
This link will take you to some of the most intimate photographs taken during the war. The images are raw, intense and help to paint an honest portrait of life on the battlefield.  (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.8
Imagine you were a Vietnamese farmer. How might numerous airstrikes, and the use of chemical weapons, impact you and your family? Try to explain how it would effect you psychologically and physically. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.8
What does this photograph reveal about the emotional toll of the war was having on the Vietnamese people? Please cite evidence in your explanation. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7
Take a minute and really try to notice all of the details in this very complex photograph. Scenes like this were repeated all throughout the war. What impact would participating in such a conflict have on soldiers? Why? 
This link will take you to an interview with the photographer. He explains what happened immediately before and after this image was captured.  (This annotation contains a link)
In this interview Nick Ut reflects on the power of his famous image 40 years after it was taken. Travel back to Vietnam with him to discover what it was like to witness the scene, and how he reacted after he snapped the picture. (This annotation contains a link)
Napalm was only one of the chemical weapons used in Vietnam. Agent Orange, a chemical that helps kill crops, was also widely used. Follow this link to see how the chemical has had a devastating and long-lasting impact on the country and its people. (This annotation contains a link)
Follow this link to see a 1967 news reel covering this protest. The war was highly polarizing, and all over the country protests were held. College campuses became ground zero for political rallies and protests, civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King spoke out against the war, by the end of the 1960s many Americans were tired of the conflict and called for peace. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.3
Why might the fact that the Sandinistas were supported by Cuba strike fear in the American public and government leaders? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7
In this deal Reagan sold weapons to Iran, which had only a few years earlier held numerous Americans hostage in Tehran at the US embassy.  What does this deal with Iran reveal about Reagan's beliefs and fears about Communists?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7
Do you think Reagan should have been held accountable for this policy, or that he did what was right to protect Americans?  Explain. 
Follow this link to see Al Jazeera's short documentary about the revolution in Nicaragua, and gain a better understanding of how the US impacted the conflict.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7
How do you think witnessing such events impacts the children of war torn nations? Explain. 
Cold War Inquiry Quiz 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.1
What seems to be the overarching message of the three cartoons? What common theme do you see among them? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7
In a short essay explain how you believe the Cold War impacted people around the world. Please consider a wide range of effects--psychological, physical, economic, etc.--and use evidence to support your analysis.