• Why did the USA-USSR alliance begin to break down in 1945?
• How had the USSR gained control of Eastern Europe by 1948?
• How did the USA react to Soviet expansionism?
• What were the consequences of the Berlin Blockade?
• Who was the more to blame for starting the Cold War: the USA or the USSR?
A comprehensive pack of sources and questions in the style of GCSE/IGCSE examinations, designed to be printed off at the beginning of the unit and used as homework exercises over the course of several weeks. This pack covers the period 1945-1947.
A. The Beginnings of the Cold War, 1917-1939
Although not strictly necessary, the following three resources help to put the origins of the cold war into context.
1. Introduction: Cold War Timeline
Students start the topic with an introduction to what the Cold War was, and then they conduct their own research to produce an illustrated timeline of the main events.
1. The Yalta Conference: Photographs as evidence Students compare several photographs of the Big Three at Yalta, and produce a newspaper headline to accompany each one highlighting how different pictures can create sharply differing impressions.
2. The Yalta Conference: Interactive Computer Simulation! [Interactive]
An artificial intelligence simulation, complete with a worksheet: students choose whether to play as Churchill, Roosevelt or Stalin, and then pit their wits against their opponents to achieve their objectives. Complete with a worksheet, this computer lesson runs itself and is a great way of learning about the personalities, issues and results of the Yalta Conference.
3. Yalta and Potsdam: What really happened?
In this exercise, students learn about what really happened at Yalta and decide who got the most out of the conference; they then compare this to the results of the Potsdam Conference.
4. Yalta and Potsam: How similar were they?
Students answer the key question, then
the class is divided into groups representing USA, USSR, UK, Germany and Poland. Each person in the group needs to produce a biased news report about the outcomes of the two conferences.
5. The stakes are raised: The Atomic Bomb
In this lesson, students consider the ethical implications behind the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by reconstructing a scientific debate chaired by Farrington Daniels in 1945. Some excellent multimedia materials are available at the Atomic Archive.
6. End of Unit Test: The Roots of the Cold War, 1917-45 [Interactive]
A 20-Question "Fill the Gaps" exercise which gives a handy one-sided summary of the main events up to 1945. Students should be encouraged to play one of the following games prior to completing the test - either as a homework exercise, or as "last minute revision" for the first half of the test lesson in a computer lab:
2. The Berlin Blockade: Timeline Challenge [Interactive]
This can be used as a follow-up from the previous exercise or (if pushed for time) an alternative. Students are presented with a series of information feeds, each one of which contains an error. Students get points for their teams if they identify the error correctly.
3. Origins of the Cold War: "Who Am I?" Challenge
Each team will be presented with a clue about a key historical figure. They get 50 points if they guess it correctly. If they wish to 'pass', they get further (easier) clues but the points available steadily decline. An incorrect guess at any point means they get zero points for that round. You can play as many rounds as you wish. It's a great way to revise!
Picture montage from Diesel Advertising Campaign, 2003. The "Big Three" did not really get on quite this well...