11.9 - Cold War

From EngageNY

In the period following World War II, the United States entered into an extended era of international conflict called the Cold War which influenced foreign and domestic policy for more than 40 years.

After World War II, ideological differences led to political tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. In an attempt to halt the spread of Soviet influence, the United States pursued a policy of containment.
  • Students will trace key decisions made at wartime conferences as they applied to Poland, Eastern Europe, and postwar Germany, and note how continuing disagreements over these decisions helped bring about the start of the Cold War.
  • Students will trace United States containment policies, including the Truman Doctrine (1947), the Marshall Plan (1948), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949), and actions taken during the Berlin blockade, and consider how they represent a shift in American foreign policy.
  • Students will examine domestic concerns about the spread of communism and the rise of McCarthyism.
  • Students will examine the consequences of Truman’s decision to fight a limited war in defense of South Korea.
  • Students will trace the United States involvement in Vietnam, including President Johnson’s decision to escalate the fighting in Vietnam.
  • Students will examine reasons for declining public confidence in government, including America’s involvement in Vietnam, student protests, the growing antiwar movement, and the Watergate affair.
  • Students will examine the congressional effort to limit presidential power through the War Powers Act.
11.9b The United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a nuclear arms race that eventually led to agreements that limited the arms buildup and improved United States-Soviet relations.
  • Students will trace the acceleration of the nuclear arms race, beginning with from the detonation of an atomic bomb by the Soviet Union in 1949, through 1969, including the effects of Sputnik and the Space Race.
  • Students will examine Soviet motives for placing missiles in Cuba and the impact of the Cuban missile crisis on Soviet-American relations, leading to the adoption of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
  • Students will examine the policy of détente and its effect on the nuclear arms race.
11.9c American strategic interests in the Middle East grew with the Cold War, the creation of the State of Israel, and the increased United States dependence on Middle Eastern oil. The continuing nature of the Arab-Israeli dispute has helped to define the contours of American policy in the Middle East.
  • Students will examine United States foreign policy toward the Middle East, including the recognition of and support for the State of Israel, interaction with radical groups in the region.
11.9d A combination of factors contributed to the end of the Cold War, including American policies and Soviet economic and political problems that led to the loss of Soviet control over Eastern Europe.
  • Students will trace factors that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, including American policies, Soviet economic problems, Soviet efforts at reform, and the loss of Soviet control over Eastern Europe.

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