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1953 CIA Coup in Iran

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
3 class days
Subject(s)
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Students will use primary and secondary sources to learn about the Iranian revolution and the involvement of the U.S. government.
Description

The lesson is for use in an IB 20th Century World History class, made up of High School juniors and seniors.  It will take three blocks to complete, comprised of independent background reading, cooperative learning activities, which incorporate research and presentation skills, as well as analysis of key primary sources associated with the 1953 Coup.

Rationale (why are you doing this?)

This topic is a key component of the IB history curriculum that addresses Topic 3: The Cold War from the Paper 2 exam that students take in May in an effort to obtain an IB certificate in History.

Lesson Objectives - the student will
  • Examine the key events surrounding the 1953 coup that ended in the ousting of Mosaddeq.
  • Analyze the role Iran played in US-Soviet antagonism during the early Cold War period.
  • Examine and analyze the CIA report on the 1953 coup.
  • Discuss and debate the casual relationships between the 1953 coup and the subsequent 1979 Iranian Revolution.
District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

IB History Guide Goals:

  • Recall and select relevant historical knowledge
  • Demonstrate an understanding of historical context
  • Demonstrate an understanding of historical processes: cause and effect; continuity and change
  • Understand historical sources (SL/HL paper 1)

Common Core Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed
  • NYT on the Web--http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-cia-index.html
  • The Cold War by John Gaddis
  • The Cold War (IB publication)
  • CNN Cold War Series (video documentary)

Cold War Document Analysis

The 1953 Iranian Coup

 After reading the assigned document within your group, please assess the document as if you were historians studying the US coup and its potential impact on US-Iranian relations.  Keep in mind the Cold War policy of Containment and the US need for oil when assessing the documents as well.

Origin: (Address the author, government/country of origin, date, background on author)

Purpose: (Who is the intended audience?  What is the purpose of the document-why was it written?)

Value:  (How is this valuable in understanding the coup, US-Iranian relations, and Cold War policy during the Eisenhower administration?)

Limitation:  (How is this limiting in understanding the coup, US-Iranian relations, and Cold War policy during the Eisenhower administration?)

Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed
  • NYT on the Web--http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-cia-index.html
  • CIA Clandestine Service History, "Overthrow of Premier Mossadeq of Iran,
    November 1952-August 1953," March 1954, by Dr. Donald Wilber. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB28/
Fully describe the activity or assignment in detail. What will both the teacher and the students do?
  • Prior to the lesson students will be given an introductory reading and time line taken from the following NYT websites:

 

Students will be expected to read/review them as homework so they have some background knowledge concerning US policy and actions.

 

Day 1:

Students will be broken into seven groups that correspond with the sections highlighted on the NYT webpage: http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-cia-index.html

 

  • Group 1: The Roots
  • Group 2: The Pressure
  • Groups 3: The Coup
  • Group 4: The Success
  • Group 5: The Premier
  • Group 6: The Media
  • Group 7: The Spy

 

The class will have computer lab time to briefly read their particular article off the NYT website as well as the various primary sources cataloged there under the “Articles” and “Photos” links.  Each group will be required to create a summary of their article highlighting its main points; people involved, and address any associated primary sources they found under the “Articles” and “Photos” links.  They will then present their findings to the class through a Prezi, which should incorporate photos and accompanying documents.  This will allow students to gain greater background knowledge on the Coup.

 

Day 2:

    Students will again be broken into groups and will be given the following document:

    CIA Clandestine Service History, "Overthrow of Premier Mossadeq of Iran,
    November 1952-August 1953," March 1954, by Dr. Donald Wilber. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB28/ (full document is in sections at the bottom of the page)

     

    Students will read the document together (teacher might want to abbreviate and/or break up the document as it is quite lengthy) and analyze it using the IB document analysis method (See Document Analysis form). 

     

    In the time remaining groups will share out their findings for greater understanding and clarification.

     

    Day 3: (50 minute class period)

      Students will take part in a Socratic Seminar which will address the following “Essential Questions”:

      1.  What role did Iran play in the early Cold War period?
      2. How did failed US policy contribute to the Iranian Revolution?
      Assessment: fully explain the assessment method in detail or create and attach a scoring guide
      • Students will write a 500 word essay in which they “react” to their new knowledge of US clandestine efforts in Iran and the impact the 1953 Coup would have not only on Cold War policy making but more importantly on US-Iranian relations leading up to 1979. (see “Reaction Paper”)

       

                                                                                    Reaction Paper

       

      In a 500 word essay, please “react” to your new knowledge concerning US clandestine efforts in Iran and the impact the 1953 Coup would have not only on Cold War policy making but more importantly on US-Iranian relations leading up to 1979.  You need to incorporate your own readings, fellow students’ presentations, the primary source you examined, and the various points that were brought up in the Socratic Seminar.

       

      Essays will be assessed based on the incorporation of the above mentioned items as well as overall analysis of the various sources read.  The following rubric will be used to assess your essay:

       

       

      Advanced

      Proficient

      Unsatisfactory

      Ideas and Content (Development)

       

      This writing is clear and focused.  It holds the reader’s attention.  Relevant anecdotes and details enrich the central theme.

      The writer