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HIST313: War and American Society

Unit 10: The End of the Cold War   Following a decade of détente and diplomatic engagement with the Soviet Union, the United States assumed a more confrontational attitude towards the Communist regime in the 1980s.  This new attitude came in response to Soviet military aggression in Afghanistan and other parts of the world.  The U.S. began a large rearmament program centered on the Strategic Defense Initiative, or “Star Wars,” a space-based system of satellites that could destroy nuclear missiles and prevent Soviet attacks on the U.S.  While many of these advanced military systems never moved beyond the testing stage, Soviet efforts to counter new American military technologies eventually bankrupted the regime and hastened its fall at the end of the 1980s.  With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. had to realign its national defense objectives.  During the 1990s, the nation began to downsize its regular military forces while increasing its commitments to peacekeeping missions across the world. 
           
In this unit, we will examine how the end of the Cold War changed American political and social expectations about the role that the American military should play in international affairs.  We will also look at the regional conflicts in which U.S. military forces engaged in the 1990s, including the Gulf War and peacekeeping missions in Somalia and the former Yugoslavian republics, exploring the ways in which these wars affected American society and politics.

Unit 10 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 10 hours to complete.

☐    Introduction: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 10.1 and 10.2: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 10.3 – 10.5: 6 hours

Unit10 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

10.1 Reagan and the New Strategy of Global Engagement Against Communism   - Web Media: PBS Video: The American Presidents: “Ronald Reagan” Link: PBS Video: The American Presidents:Ronald Reagan     (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please watch the entire 3 hour documentary to better understand Ronald Reagan as president and commander in chief.  This documentary addresses subunits 10.1 and 10.2.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

10.1.1 Support of Anti-Communist Forces in Latin America   10.1.2 American Military Build-Up in Europe   10.1.3 “Star Wars” and Global Nuclear Defense   10.1.4 Support of Mujahideen Forces in Afghanistan   10.1.5 The New Brinkmanship   10.1.6 Social Consequences   10.2 Collapse of the Soviet Union   - Lecture: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History: Thomas Blanton’s “The End of the Cold War” Link: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History: Thomas Blanton’s “The End of the Cold War” (YouTube)

 Instructions: Watch this video lecture (42 minutes) concerning the
events surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Empire beginning in
1989.  

 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 Thomas Blanton and the original version can be found
[here](http://vimeo.com/21807730).

10.3 Post-Cold War Military Conflict: The Persian Gulf War   - Reading: Wikibooks: US History: “Bush & Clinton” Link: Wikibooks: US History:Bush & Clinton” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read this webpage in its entirety.  This reading addresses subunits 10.3 through 10.4.4.
 
Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original Wikibooks version of this article here (HTML).

  • Web Media: PBS Video: The American Presidents: “George H.W. Bush” Link: PBS Video: The American Presidents:George H.W. Bush” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the entire 3 hour documentary to better understand George H.W. Bush as president and commander in chief.  This documentary addresses subunits 10.3 through 10.4.4.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: C-SPAN: “Desert Shield and the Gulf War” Link: C-SPAN: “Desert Shield and the Gulf War    (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the entire 2 hour discussion to better understand the Gulf War.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

10.3.1 Support of War   10.3.2 Opposition to War   10.3.3 New Military Strategies   10.3.4 Modern Warfare   10.3.5 Curing the Vietnam Syndrome   10.3.6 Consequences   10.4 Peacekeeping   10.4.1 Somalia   10.4.2 Bosnia   10.4.3 The Politics of Peacekeeping   10.4.4 American Society and War