Hoover and Truman Working Together to Bring Post War Aid to Europe

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
one class time
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Cooperative learning through document analysis and discussion

Cooperative learning through document analysis and discussion.

Rationale (why are you doing this?)

Students will examine some events leading up to the need for the Marshall Plan after World War II by looking at war torn Europe and its needs through the lens of cooperative working of two presidents.

Lesson Objectives - the student will

Examine the origins of the Cold War including post war ravaged Europe and why the U.S. was compelled to help out with aid. 

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

Kansas state standards:

Benchmark 3: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, ideas, developments, and turning points in the era of the Cold War (1945-1990).

2. (A) analyzes the origins of the Cold War (e.g., establishment of the Soviet Bloc, Mao’s victory in China, Marshall Plan, Berlin Blockade, Iron Curtain).

3. (A) evaluates the foreign policies of Truman and Eisenhower during the Cold War (e.g., establishment of the United Nations, containment, NATO, Truman Doctrine, Berlin Blockade, KoreanWar, Iron Curtain, U-2 incident).


Missouri Standards

3bM. Analyze all significant wars of the twentieth century, including: causes, comparisons, consequences and peace efforts

6o. Determine the causes, consequences and possible resolutions of cultural conflicts

7a. Distinguish between and analyze primary sources and secondary sources

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed
Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed
Fully describe the activity or assignment in detail. What will both the teacher and the students do?
  • Divide the class up in groups with three in each group.  One can be the leader to keep the students on track, one can be the recorder of answers and one can be reporter at the end of the hour.  
  • Activity 1:  Groups read “Herbert Hoover” bibliography to read to get background knowledge of President Herbert Hoover.
    • The leader in each group leads discussion of the differences and similarities in the two men. The recorder can use a T chart to list the differences and similarities the group notes.
  • Read “Harry Truman” bibliography to read to get background knowledge of Harry Truman.


  • Activity 2:  Students will look at first four telegrams/letters from Hoover and Truman and discuss them. (dated April 12, 19, and May 24, 26, 1945)
  • Use the four letters and information you know about the letters to answer the following questions.  (taken from /hoover/highschool1.htm#2 )


  • 1. When were the letters written?
  • 2. Who wrote the first letter?
  • 3. What were the intentions of the first letter?
  • 4. What does the second letter tell you about Truman’s intentions?
  • 5. Why is Truman interested in talking to Hoover?
  • 6. How long was Hoover away from the White House?
  • 7. What are possible reasons Hoover was not invited to the White House?
  • 8. Can you consider Hoover and Truman to be friends at this point?
  • 9. What obstacles could prevent Hoover and Truman from becoming friends?


  • Activity 3:  Students will analyze the Propaganda poster of “The Great Humanitarian: Herbert Hoover’s Food Relief Efforts (page 2/Pre-Point IV section of The Legacy of the Marshall Plan primary sources) 
  • What does this say about the need in Europe? 
  • Who is hungry?
  • What is the point of the poster?


  • Students will look at primary photograph of Herbert Hoover visiting a school for displaced children in Helsinki, March 31, 1946. 
  • What can you imply is happening from the photograph?


  • Activity 4:  Students look at last three letters from Truman and Hoover.  (dated January 18, 19 and March 24, 1947)
  • What did Herbert Hoover do in behalf of the United States and President Truman?
  • What does President Truman want Hoover to do again? Why?
  • What is Hoover’s response?  What else does he suggest from Truman?
  • What has happened since the letter dated January 19 and the letter dated March 24?


  • Wrap-up activity:  Teacher wraps-up the lesson by having students share what they found Teacher does a quick introduction to the Marshall Plan and (can) assign reading in textbook relating to the Marshall Plan.
Assessment: fully explain the assessment method in detail or create and attach a scoring guide

Rubric for Participation in Class








Too frequent responses: dominates discussion, not allowing students (or sometimes even teacher) to contribute or is silent or creates distractions by playing with items.

Comments occasionally or a bit too much or at times that break the flow of the discussion. Sometimes talks over others.

Contributes regularly to discussions, and allows others their turns to share their comments as well.

Frequency of comments is optimal (just right: neither too frequent so as to dominate, nor so little that there is no contribution). Steps in when there are silences to move discussion along but keeps quiet when this allows others to contribute. Sensitive to when to comment.


Comments are not related to topic at hand, or go back to previous part of discussion or question. Language is so general or confused that it’s difficult to understand where comment fits.

Comments may only repeat what has been already said, or may be tangential or may sidetrack discussion from time to time. Language is fairly general; only personal experience has some specific details.

Contributions are related to the topic and some support is provided, at least in general ways, to make connections between the topic and the students’ comments. Clarification questions are asked. Language is clear, if somewhat general, and specific details are provided.

Contributions enhance lesson or discussion: they may ask a key question, elaborate, bring in relevant personal knowledge, move the discussion along, identify issues or take the discussion to another level. Students use the vocabulary of the topic to be precise and clear. Able to synthesize or indicate gaps or extensions to topic.

Growth of

School community

Comments may focus attention on self rather than on discussion. Comments may frequently interrupt others or be disrespectful. Side conversations, body language or actions, inappropriate comments or sounds may make class participation fragmented.

Listens intermittently as others speak, so comments are sometimes off topic or don’t follow thread of discussion. Comments and body language sometimes respectful. Sometimes follows the lead of others to disrupt participation. (Eye contact made intermittently if culturally appropriate.)

Listens as others contribute. Comments acknowledge others’ contributions. Student both asks and answers questions in discussion. Comments and body language are generally respectful. (Eye contact made if culturally appropriate.)

Listens actively and attentively to others prior to making own comments. Comments focus on and enhance consideration of topic rather than focusing on specific people. Comments and body language validate and encourage others’ contributions. (Eye contact and nodding as culturally appropriate.)


Comments: Items to consider in language use: ask questions, answer questions, take turns, give directions, elaborate on a topic

Regina Public Schools, October 1, 2003   

Other sources available:

Hoover & Truman a presidential friendship

The Great Humanitarian: Herbert Hoover’s Food Relief Efforts

Online Collection