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The Marshall Plan from the Perspective Political Cartoons and Posters

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
Two or more 45 minute class periods will be required to complete the lesson
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Students will complete in-class and outside of class assignments using political cartoons, posters and documents.
  • Students will complete in-class and outside of class assignments using political cartoons, posters and documents.
  • Students will be directed to access a variety of Internet sites that include primary documents as well as guides for analyzing primary documents i.e. political cartoons and posters
  • Students will engage in cooperative learning and individual learning activities when they analyze political cartoons and posters related to the Marshall Plan
  • Students will analyze the speech delivered at Harvard on by Secretary of State George Marshall June 5, 1947
  • As part of the assessment, students will create their own political cartoon and a rubric will be provided for the teachers
Rationale (why are you doing this?)

To assist students in developing skills that will enable them to analyze political cartoons and political posters and develop an understanding of the different perspectives of the Marshall Plan.

Lesson Objectives - the student will
  • Analyze political cartoons and political posters via individual and cooperative learning activities
  •  Research pertinent Internet websites that provide different perspectives of the Marshall Plan  via political cartoons and political posters
  • Utilize primary sources (political cartoons and political posters)
District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

Omaha, NE  Public Schools 9th Grade U.S. History Standards

01: Examine and analyze conflict and resolution both domestically and internationally in the 20th and 21st centuries

03: Interpret (writing, discussion and debate) primary and secondary sources

Omaha, NE Public Schools 11th Grade. Modern History

04: Explain how certain cultural characteristics such as language, ethnic heritage, religion, political philosophies,

shared history and social and economic system can link or divide regions and cause global conflicts in the 20th

 Century such as World War II and the Cold War

05: Demonstrate historical research and geographic skills in the study of global interaction, global struggles, global

political and global economic and culture changes. 

  1. Utilize primary and secondary sources. 
  2. Select, classify and analyze major world events in various arenas
  3. Construct a timeline demonstrating effective writing and technology skills

 National United States History Standards for Grades 5-12

Standard 2: The student comprehends a variety of historical sources:

Standard 3: The causes and course of World War II, the character of the war at home and abroad, and its reshaping of

the U.S. role in world affairs 

Standard 4: The Causes and Global Consequences of World War II

Thinking Standard 3: The student engages in historical analysis and interpretation:

Thinking Standard 4: The student conducts historical research:

Thinking Standard 5: The student engages in historical issues-analysis and decision-making

National World History Standards:

 A Half-Century of Crisis and Achievement, 1900-1945 

Standard 4: The Causes and global consequences of World War II

Standard 5A: The student understands major global trends from 1900 to the end of World War II. 

The 20th Century Since 1945:  Promises and Paradoxes 

Standard 1B: The student understands why global power shifts took place and the Cold War broke out in the aftermath    of World War II. Explain the causes and international and local consequences of major Cold War crises

Standard 2B: The student understands how increasing economic interdependence has transformed human society. 


National Center for History in the Schools.  UCLA


Historical Thinking Standard 3

The student engages in historical analysis and interpretation: 

Therefore, the student is able to:

  • Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas, values, personalities, behaviors, and institutions by identifying

likenesses and differences. 

  • Consider multiple perspectives of various peoples in the past by demonstrating their differing motives, beliefs,

 interests, hopes, and fears.

  • Analyze cause-and-effect relationships bearing in mind multiple causation including

(a) the importance of the individual in history

(b) the influence of ideas, human interests, and beliefs

 (c) the role of chance, the accidental and the irrational.

  • Draw comparisons across eras and regions in order to define enduring issues as well as large-scale or long-term

developments that transcend regional and temporal boundaries.

  • ·         Distinguish between unsupported expressions of opinion and informed hypotheses grounded in historical  


  • Compare competing historical narratives.  
  • Challenge arguments of historical inevitability by formulating examples of historical contingency, of how

different choices could have led to different consequences.  

  • Hold interpretations of history as tentative, subject to changes as new information is uncovered, new voices

heard, and new interpretations broached.  

  • Evaluate major debates among historians concerning alternative interpretations of the past.
  • Hypothesize the influence of the past, including both the limitations and opportunities made possible by past



Kansas 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. 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, Korean
War, Iron Curtain, U-2 incident).

Benchmark 5: The student engages in historical thinking skills.
3.(A) uses primary and secondary sources about an event in U.S.
history to develop a credible interpretation of the event, evaluating
on its meaning (e.g., uses provided primary and secondary sources
to interpret a historical-based conclusion).


Missouri Standards

3aW:  Describe and evaluate the evolution of United States domestic and foreign policies including the Cold War.
3aY:  Describe the changing character of American society and culture.
7C:  Distinguish between fact and opinion and analyze sources to recognize bias and points of view.

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

All materials needed for this lesson are available online or incorporated into the lesson itself.  Consult the following bibliography for pertinent sources.

Diploma History with Mr. Conway Cold War Cartoons

Exploring the Marshall Plan Through Primary Documents. [Excellent lesson plan. Rubric for political cartoon/photograph/

For European Recovery. Exhibition. The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Marshall Plan Library of Congress

George C. Marshall Foundation [Excellent; various foreign posters submitted for contest with translations in English]

George C. Marshall. Soldier of Peace.  Exhibition