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American Intervention in Russia 1918-1920

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
one to three 45-minute class periods
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Students will use computer technology to analyze Internet websites containing primary and secondary sources that contain a variety of documents related to U.S. intervention in Russia from 1918-20.
  • This lesson can be integrated into the classroom through any or all of the following strategies: activities by individual students through cross-curricular activities with Language Arts and/or cooperative learning endeavors.
  •  Students will use computer technology to analyze Internet websites containing primary and secondary sources that contain a variety of documents related to U.S. intervention in Russia from 1918-20.
Rationale (why are you doing this?)
  • To assist students in developing analytical skills that will enable them to evaluate primary and secondary sources such as written documents, photographs, and maps related to the United States decision to intervene in Russia from 1918-1920
  • To introduce students to the Stanford History Educational Group’s Reading Like A Historian teaching strategies to help them investigate historical questions by employing the following reading strategies: Sourcing, Contextualizing, corroborating and close reading
Lesson Objectives - the student will
  • Evaluate historical data through the use of primary and secondary sources
  • Develop a sense of historical understanding of the decisions made by President Woodrow Wilson to intervene in Russia beginning in 1918
  • Use document analysis worksheets to evaluate written documents, maps, photographs, etc.
District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

Nebraska District Standards


K-12 History: Students will develop and apply historical knowledge and skills to research, analyze, and understand key concepts of past, current, and potential issues and events at the local, state, national, and international levels.

  • SS 12.4.2.c (US) Analyze and evaluate the appropriate uses of primary and secondary sources
  • SS 12.4.3.a (US) Analyze and evaluate how multiple perspectives facilitate the understanding of the full story of US history
  • SS 12.4.3.b (US) Compare and contrast primary and secondary sources to better understand multiple perspectives of the same event
  • SS 12.4.4.a (US) Compare and evaluate contradictory historical narratives of Twentieth-Century U.S. History through determination of credibility, contextualization, and corroboration
  • SS 12.4.4.d (US) Analyze and evaluate multiple causes and effects of key events in US history (e.g., World War I}
  • SS 12.4.5.b (US) Obtain, analyze, evaluate, and cite appropriate sources for research about Twentieth-Century U.S. History, incorporating primary and secondary sources (e.g., Cite sources using a prescribed format.)
  • SS 12.4.5.c (US) Gather historical information about the United States (e.g., document archives, artifacts, newspapers, interviews)


Common Core


Key Ideas and Details

  • 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.

Craft and Structure

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.5 Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.6 Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.8 Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.9 Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed

Oral Presentation

Will Englund.  “Misreading Russia for 101 Years.” Oral Presentation on July 17, 2018. Truman Library.

          Truman Library 15th Annual Teachers Conference  “The United States and World War One.”           

             July 16–20, 2018.



Brinkley, Georg A.  The Volunteer Army and Allied Intervention in South Russia.  1917-1921.

 Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1966.


Englund, Will. March 1917.  New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2017.


Ferrell, Robert H.  American Diplomacy.  A History.  New York: W.W. Norton and Co. Inc., 1959


Rappaport, Armin. (Ed.)  Issues in American Diplomacy. Vol. 2.  New York: The Macmillan Co., 1965.





O’Connor, Richard.  “Yanks in Siberia”.  American Heritage. August, 1974.  Pp. 10-17; 80-83.


Hanna, William.  “American Intervention into Siberia.  American History Illustrated. April, 1984.  Pp. 8-17.


Young, Michael.  United States Foreign Relations with the Soviet Union, 1917-18. Perspectives, No.3. 1983-84. 

            Nebraska State Council for Social Studies. Pp.13-22.




Foreign Policy Journal.  Lessons from America’s intervention in Russia 1918-1920.  Kerry J.Bolton.

            Jan 13, 2011.  Asia Pacific, Essays, US.


Stanford History Education Group.



UMBC Center for History Education, 2013. Adapted from the work of the Stanford History Education Group ® and Bruce VanSledright, Assessing Historical Thinking and Understanding: Innovative Ideas for New Standards, (New York: Routledge, 2014).


War History Online. The Day That The USA Invaded Russia And Fought The Red Army.



Wiklpedia.  American