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HIST212: Introduction to United States History - Reconstruction to the Present

Unit 7: The Cold War   *The economic destruction and loss of life caused by World War II devastated Great Britain, Germany, France, and much of Eastern Europe and Asia. Only the democratic United States and the totalitarian Soviet Union emerged from the war as strong international superpowers. Mutual distrust, fear, and hostility in both nations led to decades of military, economic, and political conflict throughout the globe. Both nations possessed powerful military arsenals and could not take one another on directly without fear of mutual destruction. Instead, they engaged in indirect conflicts as the Soviet Union tried to support Communist revolutionaries in many developing nations and the U.S. tried to keep anti-communist forces in control of these countries. 

At home, some Americans grew worried that Soviet spies and secret Communists were infiltrating American society and attempted to persecute suspected Communists for disloyalty and treason. This unit will examine the military and political dimensions of the Cold War and the Second Red Scare and take a look at the cultural trends, demographic changes, and economic prosperity in the United States during the 1950s.  
 *

Unit 7 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 15.5 hours:

☐    Subunit 7.1: 5.5 hours

☐    Subunit 7.2: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 7.3: 5.5 hours

☐    Unit 7 Assessment: 1 hour

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • identify the causes of the Cold War;
  • analyze the strategies of the United States in conducting the Cold War;
  • define “McCarthyism” and analyze its causes and effects on American culture;
  • analyze the causes of economic growth in the 1950s; and
  • explore social and cultural developments in the post-World War II era, especially in popular culture.

  • Reading: America.gov’s Outline of U.S. History: “Chapter 12: Postwar America” Link: America.gov’s Outline of U.S. History: “Chapter 12: Postwar America” (PDF)

    Instructions: Read Chapter 12 through the end of the section titled “The Culture of the 1950s.”
     
    Note on the Text: This chapter focuses on the origins of the Cold War and the international and domestic impact of the growing conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union.

    Reading this chapter should take approximately 45 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: The material above is available in the public domain. 

  • Web Media: YouTube: Khan Academy’s “Communism” Link: YouTube: Khan Academy’s “Communism (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Watch the above video which provides an overview of communist doctrine and Marxist-Leninist States.

    Watching this video and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to the Khan Academy and the original version can be found here.

7.1 Defending the “Free World”   Note: This topic is also covered by the video in subunit 6.3.

  • Lecture: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “Cold War America” presentation Link: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “Cold War America presentation (YouTube)

    Instructions: Watch this video lecture, which discusses the origins of the Cold War and examines the international and domestic impact of the conflict during the 1950s and early 1960s.

    Watching this video should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.1.1 Postwar America   Note: This topic is also covered by the video in subunit 6.3.

  • Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 65—End of War” presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 65—End of War” presentation (Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the presentation. Watch the entire video presentation and read the accompanying text.
     
    Note on the Media: This presentation focuses on the end of World War II and the postwar international settlement. It also discusses President Harry Truman’s domestic reform policies following the end of the conflict.

    Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.1.2 The Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine   Note: This topic is also covered by the video in subunit 6.3.

  • Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 66—Containment” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: ** “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 66—Containment” Presentation (Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the presentation. Watch sections 1 (“U.S.-Soviet Relations”) and 2 (“Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan”) of the video presentation and read the accompanying text. 
     
    Note on the Media: This presentation discusses American efforts to rebuild Europe in the wake of World War II and support nations threatened by internal and external Communist movements.

    Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately 50 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Yale Law School: Lillian Goldman Law Library’s version of “The Truman Doctrine” Link: Yale Law School: Lillian Goldman Law Library’s version of “The Truman Doctrine (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the speech delivered by President Truman to Congress on March 12, 1947. In this address to Congress, Truman laid out what would become known as the Truman Doctrine. After reading this document, consider the following questions: On what grounds did Truman maintain that the United States ought to provide aid to Greece and Turkey? In establishing the principles on which aid to these countries should be delivered, how did Truman describe the threat that these and other countries faced and the possible consequences of failing to provide this aid?

    Reading this resource should take approximately 25 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.1.3 Containment of Communism   Note: This topic is also covered by the video in subunit 6.3.

  • Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 66—Containment” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: ** “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 66—Containment” Presentation (Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the presentation. Focus on sections 3 (“Berlin Airlift”) and 4 (“NATO”) of the video presentation and read the accompanying text. 
     
    Note on the Media: Sections 3 and 4 of the video presentation focus on the growing military and diplomatic tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union the led to the Berlin Blockade in 1948 and the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization later the same year.

    Exploring this resource should take approximately 45 minutes. 
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.1.4 The Cold War Goes Nuclear   - Reading: Authentichistory.com: “Origins of the Cold War (1946 -1950)” Link: Authentichistory.com: “Origins of the Cold War (1946 -1950)” (PDF)

 Instructions: Read this article which chronicles the major events
at the beginning of the Cold War including the successful testing of
the atom bomb by the Soviet Union in 1949.  

 Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
license](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Authentichistory.com and the original version can be
found
[here](http://www.authentichistory.com/1946-1960/1-cworigins/index.html). 
  • Reading: Los Alamos National Laboratory’s A History of National Security: “Postwar World,” “The Debate,” and “The Development of the Hydrogen Bomb” Links: Los Alamos National Laboratory’s A History of National Security: “Postwar World”“The Debate”, and “The Development of the Hydrogen Bomb” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read these articles.
     
    Note on the Text: These articles discuss the development of American nuclear weapons following the Second World War, which culminated in the creation of the Hydrogen Bomb in 1952.

    Reading the text should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: The public may copy and use this information without charge, provided that this Notice and any statement of authorship are reproduced on all copies. The original licensing details are available here.

  • Web Media: Authentichistory.com: “Radio News Report: The Execution of the Rosenbergs” Link: Authentichistory.com: “Radio News Report: The Execution of the Rosenbergs” (MP3)

    Instructions: Listen to the original radio broadcast announcing the execution of the Rosenbergs. The acquisition of the atom bomb by the Soviet Union in 1949 resulted in efforts to find and punish spies who were suspected of passing along sensitive information including nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union.

    Listening to this original radio broadcast should take approximately 3 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. It is attributed to Authentichistory.com and the original version can be found here

7.1.5 The Korean War   Note: This topic is also covered by the video in subunit 6.3.

  • Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 67—Conflict in Asia” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 67—Conflict in Asia” Presentation (Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on the “Start Lesson” button to launch the video. Watch the video and read the accompanying text.
     
    Note on the Media: This presentation focuses on the factors that led to the North Korean invasion of South Korea in 1950 and the United States’ bloody three-year involvement in the conflict.

    Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “America and the Cold War: The Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy Years” Link: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s  “America and the Cold War: The Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy Years” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the section of the webpage titled “The Cold War Turns Hot: Korea, the Forgotten War.”

    Reading the text should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: YouTube: Khan Academy’s “Korean War Overview” Link: YouTube: Khan Academy’s “Korean War Overview (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Watch the above video which discusses the conflict between the Northern communist government and the Southern capitalists of Korea.  

    Watching this video and taking notes should take approximately 20 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to the Khan Academy and the original version can be found here.

7.1.6 World’s Policeman   Note: This topic is also covered by the video in subunit 6.3.

  • Reading: Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Message to Congress,” January 5, 1957 Link: President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Message to Congress,” (PDF) January 5, 1957
     
    Instructions: Read this primary-source document.
     
    Note on the Text: In this speech to Congress, President Dwight D. Eisenhower justifies American economic and military support for nations of the Middle East. He argues that the Soviet Union wishes to undermine Middle Eastern governments and install Soviet-friendly leaders and the United States must prevent this from happening. After reading this document, consider the following questions: How does Eisenhower’s address to Congress compare and contrast with President Truman’s speech to Congress in 1947 (see section 7.1.2)? What recent events did Eisenhower mention in this speech and how did these events in Eisenhower’s opinion necessitate a new course of action by the United States in respect to the Middle East?

    Reading this document should take approximately 20 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: The material above is available in the public domain. 

  • Reading: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “America and the Cold War: The Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy Years” Link: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “America and the Cold War: The Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy Years” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this section of the webpage beginning with the section titled “Dwight D. Eisenhower: The General as President” down to the end of the webpage. Note that this webpage discusses the expansion of the Cold War into developing nations throughout the world. America used covert tactics to support pro-American leaders in the Third World, while also trying to destabilize Communist-friendly regimes in parts of Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

    Reading this webpage should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.2 Domestic Anti-Communism   7.2.1 Postwar Red Scare   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 68—Red Scare—Again” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 68—Red Scare—Again” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the presentation. Watch the first section of the video presentation titled “Un-American Activities” and read the accompanying text. 
 
Note on the Media: Section one of the presentation focuses on the post-World War II “Second Red Scare” that spawned fears about Communist infiltration of American society and government agencies and led to political and social efforts to root out and expose covert Communist activities.

 Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately
25 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

7.2.2 Exposing “Un-American” Activities   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 68—Red Scare—Again” presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 68—Red Scare—Again” presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the presentation. Watch the second section of the video presentation titled “The Hunt for Subversives” and read the accompanying text. 
 
Note on the Media: This presentation focuses on efforts by Congress and federal officials in the late-1940s and early-1950s to investigate and expose so-called Communist subversives in federal agencies who were secretly spying for the Soviet Union. 

 Reading this text and watching the video should take approximately
25 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

7.2.3 McCarthyism   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 68—Red Scare—Again” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: ** “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 22: HST and IKE, Lesson 68—Red Scare—Again” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the presentation. Watch the third section of the video presentation titled (“McCarthyism”) and read the accompanying text.
 
Note on the Media: Section 3 focuses on the ignominious career of Senator Joseph McCarthy and his efforts to identify and expose Communists in the U.S. government through public investigations. McCarthy specialized in publicly smearing the reputations of federal employees with little-to-no evidence to support his charges against them.

 Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately
20 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

7.3 The 1950s: Cold War Conformity   - Lecture: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “1950s America” presentation Link: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “1950s America presentation (YouTube)

 Instructions: Watch this video.  

 Note on the Lecture: This multimedia presentation focuses on the
major economic, social, and political trends in the United States
during the 1950s.  

 Watching this video should take approximately 25 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

7.3.1 Birth of the “Baby Boom” Generation   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 10: Turbulent Decades, Chapter 25: Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay, Lesson 73—Baby Boom” presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 10: Turbulent Decades, Chapter 25: Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay, Lesson 73—Baby Boom” presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on the “Start Lesson” button to launch the video. Watch all 3 sections of the presentation, and read the accompanying text.
 
Note on the Text: This presentation focuses on American society in the 1950s. It examines the emergence of a widespread and pervasive consumer culture in the postwar years and discusses the dramatic population shift in the United States from cities to suburbia.

 Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately 1
hour.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Web Media: YouTube: Archive.org’s “In the Suburbs (1957)” Link: YouTube: Archive.org’s “In the Suburbs (1957)” (YouTube)
                           
    Instructions: Watch this video which was produced as a promotional film for Red Bookmagazine. Note that this film presents an idealized portrait of suburban life in the 1950s. After watching this film, consider the following question: What does this film tell us about the values of middle class families in this era?

    Watching this video and contemplating the above questions should take approximately 25 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.3.2 Dwight D. Eisenhower and American Foreign Policy in the 1950s   Note: This topic is also covered by the video in subunit 6.3.

  • Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 23: Eisenhower, Lesson 70—Foreign Policy” presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 23: Eisenhower, Lesson 70—Foreign Policy” presentation (Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the presentation. Watch each section of the video presentation, and read the accompanying text.
     
    Note on the Media: This presentation examines President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s foreign policy concerns during his two terms in office during the 1950s. It highlights his efforts to contain the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

    Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.3.3 Eisenhower’s America   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 23: Eisenhower, Lesson 69—Internal Improvements” Presentation and “Unit 10: Turbulent Decades, Chapter 25: Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay, Lesson 74—Material Culture” Presentation Links: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 9: The Cold War, Chapter 23: Eisenhower, Lesson 69—Internal Improvements” Presentation and “Unit 10: Turbulent Decades, Chapter 25: Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay, Lesson 74—Material Culture” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on the “Start Lesson” button to launch the video presentations. Watch all 3 sections of Lesson 69 and all 3 sections of Lesson 74 and read the accompanying text.
 
Note on the Media: These presentations focus on domestic concerns in the United States during Eisenhower’s time in office and discuss popular culture during the 1950s.

 Reading the text for both lessons and watching the video should
take approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

Unit 7 Assessment   - Assignment: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Cold War” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Cold War (PDF)

 Instructions: Complete this written assignment. When you are
finished, check your work against this
[“](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/HIST212-Guide-to-Responding-Unit-7.FINAL_.pdf)[Guide
to
Responding](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/HIST212-Guide-to-Responding-Unit-7.FINAL_.pdf)[”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/HIST212-Guide-to-Responding-Unit-7.FINAL_.pdf)
(PDF).  

 Completing this assessment should take approximately 1 hour.