Locating the Cold War
By: Sara P. Chavarria and Rachel Hughes

Time: 1 day
Materials: textbook, Internet, world map handout


After WWII, countries sought a means to ensure stability and avoid a third world conflict. By identifying the two superpowers location on the map as well as their allies, students can learn how the world divided itself. This is in preparation for discussing what the Cold War was and how the alliances and international organizations that resulted from this conflict affected access to resource and the quest to control Earth resources.

Students will be able to:
1. Identify major players in the Cold War and place on a world map.

Standards (NCHS)
1. Analyze causes and consequences of the world’s shift from bipolar to multipolar centers of economic, political, and military power

Resource Websites



Engage (Day 1)
1. Setting the Stage: Ask the following question, “Who is James Bond?” Students will respond with a variety of answers, but almost invariably they will mention that he is a spy, he uses fancy gadgets, and that he is the good guy. Use these responses to address why he was a spy, why gadgets were important and which side he was on. This acts as an entry into talking about the Cold War and the international divisions between two diametrically opposing philosophies and the reality that the formation of the UN has not necessarily ended conflict. (Find image of James)

2. Note-taking: Ask students what they know about the Cold War. On an overhead write student responses. Can they identify what time period the Cold War covered? Can they identify the two major entities behind the division? Students will most likely identify Russia and the USA. Use the textbook definition or give them the following definition if can’t find one.
Cold War definition: Relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union between1945 and 1989. NO war is actually fought hence the term “cold war” as opposed to a “hot war”. It is a philosophical war using client states which fought for their beliefs (either communism or capitalism) on their behalf.
The Cold War was not a military confrontation between the two superpowers.

3. Elaborate for their notes that there was a strong sense of Nationalism on both sides. This included a ‘never back down’ attitude based on mutual distrust. This was a direct Lesson from WWII in which sides believed that if one side backed down the other would take advantage of I just like Nazi Germany did of France and Great Britain.

4.At this time have students identify where Russia is on their blank world map while you can note its correct location on the blank overhead world map. Also at this point you can introduce, if the students haven’t already, that Russia was part of a larger entity known as the USSR (identify on map.) Ask students what other major countries took a position in support of the USA or the USSR. If students are struggling ask them where the spies were and governments from which James Bond was sent to take on. (James, of course, is from the United Kingdom, an ally of the USA, foes included Cuba, China, East German, N. Korea, N. Vietnam).

5. More notes. To help students locate countries introduce the following two Military Alliances:
The 1949 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is formed between anti-communist countries. They agree that if one nation is attacked, the others will come to its aid. The USA allies were: (name 11 countries).
The 1955 Warwaw Pact is formed between communist countries. The USSR allies were: (name 7)
(Answer for NATO: Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Canada, Italy, and Portugal).
(Answer for the Warwaw Pact: Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania).

6. Give students time to look inside their textbook to locate countries and who they were allied with: USA or USSR.

7. Have students share answers and write on overhead. Students continue to fill in their maps.

8. Notes and Map will go into Student notes.

Embedded Assessment

PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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