Cold War competition for power

Lesson Abstract
Cooperative learning through document analysis, students summarize the worldwide efforts of the Cold War, including the competition for power between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Cooperative learning through document analysis

Rationale (why are you doing this?)

Summarize the worldwide efforts of the Cold War, including the competition for power between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Lesson Objectives - the student will

The students will be able to (TSWBAT) review the end of World War II with the United State’s possession of the Atomic Bomb. TSWBAT describe the impact of the Achenson-Lilienthal Report and the Baruch Plan. TSWBAT describe the creation of the Atomic Energy Commission and explain the reasons why it was overseen as a civilian organization instead of a strictly military institution. TSWBAT trace the world events the influenced the United State’s decision to create a nuclear military program. TSWBAT describe the development of the U. S. nuclear program from 1946-1948 and compare this to that after Sept. 1949 when the Soviet Union detonates its first fission bomb.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

South Carolina Social Studies Standards: Global Studies 6.2


2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world

6. Relationships of the individual and groups to institutions and cultural traditions

7. The use of tools of social science inquiry (such as surveys, statistics, maps, documents)\


Benchmark 3: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, ideas, developments, and turning points of the Era of World War (1914-1945).

4. (A) analyzes the causes and immediate consequences of WWII (e.g., German, Italian, and Japanese aggression; failure of the League of Nations; appeasement; development of American, British-Soviet alliance; Holocaust; Nanjing; introduction of nuclear weapons; war crime trials).


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


Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed
Technology Required

None Needed

Fully describe the activity or assignment in detail. What will both the teacher and the students do?

Activitiy 1: Read Pres. Truman’s Address to the Nation on Sept.23, 1949. Have students find and interview someone who remembers this event. Have them record this in a one-page paper. Ask them to ask questions such as:

1. What were you doing and did it change how you viewed the world?

2. What did the adults in the community say that might have helped you cope with any fears that you may have had?

3. Did you agree/disagree with the implementation of the nuclear age?

4. How did you feel when you found out that a nuclear facility was coming to our community?

5. others?

Activity 2: Present the following report as if the students are Kissenger reporting to the president. Have them interpret the report (with help) and then debate the issue with the president. The student will read the Kissenger Report of Dec. 1951 "Soviet Strategies with Possible U.S. Countermeasures" In pairs, with one student choosing the Soviet strategies and the other choosing the U. S. response, the students will create a chart that analyzes the U. S. position. They will then present this information for debate on the pro’s and con’s with the president.


TSWBAT describe the development of the Savannah River Plant, under the direction of Dupont, as the focal point in the product of tritium, an integral component in the "Super Bomb" Project: The student will create, in groups of 4-5, a technologically oriented presentation that analyzes the impact of the Savannah River Site socially, geographically, politically, economically, and environmentally on the Central Savannah Regional Area. The student groups will examine this in a two-part process:

1. The first part should focus on the time from the inception of the plant in 1950 until the end of the Cold War and the shut down of the reactors, which occurred at about the same time (1990-1991).

 2. The second part should cover the same categories but should look at a comparison to the present day: 2006. How have things changed or not changed for this community with the presence of SRS? Needed Vocabulary: Atomic Bomb Achenson-Lilienthal Report Baruch Plan Atomic Energy Commission Berlin Crisis Marshal Plan Truman Doctrine Iron Curtain Communism Korean War People: Dean Achenson Robert Oppenheimer David Lilienthal Harry Truman Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin