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Harry S. Truman: Presidential Decision Making

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
1 week
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Students will take a position on one of the many topics listed and create an argument that is supported with the use of primary sources found on the Truman Presidential Library website.

Students can be assigned a topic, or choose, one of the major decisions that President Truman had to contend with during his presidency between 1945 and 1953. They will use the documents on the website, associated with that event/decision, to create their argument supported with the evidence they have chosen. This could be completed over the course of one to three class periods. What follows are the topics with guiding questions followed by the procedure.  

Online Digital Resources: Students will conduct their own research using the Truman Library “Online Collections” page where they will find a dedicated tab that links to documents related to one of the specific topics.  

Possible Topics 

Guiding Question 


Evaluate the extent to which McCarthyism contributed to the  Second Red Scare. 

Recognition of Israel 

Evaluate how the recognition of Israel altered the international  identity of the United States after the Second World War. 

The Berlin Airlift 

Evaluate the relative importance of the airlift and the role the  United States took during this Cold War event. 

The Truman Doctrine 

Evaluate how the role of the United States was transformed as  a result of the Truman Doctrine.