the stage. Give each student a copy of Handout 1. Students
will fill out the sheet in order to better comprehend
the difference between the two philosophies. (~7 minutes)
2. When done, review the answers with the students to
make sure they have the correct information.
3. On the back of the sheet have the students write the
Cold War was about an Arms Race and a Space Race with strong
Russia is upset that the USA ‘secretly’ built
the atomic bomb leading to a healthy distrust of the USA.
Both sides built inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)
that could wipe out each other and the entire world. The
race for having the most destructive weapon continued to
Special Preventative measures needed to be put in place in
the form of a hotline was set-up between the US and the USSR
and a treaty (Nuclear Test-Ban Agreement 1963) was signed
by both counties to reduce risk of accidental nuclear war
and to end nuclear testing.
This was a power gambit to showcase each countries technological
advancements. This begins when the Russians are the first
to put a space ship in outer space with the Launching of
Sputnik 1 (space satellite). The US meets the challenge by
putting the first person on the moon.
To the United States, Communism was a threat to US business
since communist countries would not purchase products from
the US. This scared the USA since they did not want to
experience another depression. To Russia, it had suffered
during WWII with a loss of 25 million citizens and was
determined that it would never be invaded again. It did
so by buffering
itself with Eastern European countries (Poland, E. Germany,
Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Czechoslovakia), creating
the USSR. These countries were referred to as Satellite
Examples of Satellite States:
The Berlin wall (1961) went up dividing Germany into two
parts – one part supported by communism (E. Germany
was next to the USSR), the other by capitalism (W. Germany).
The non-tangible “Iron curtain” was created
in which Russia enveloped smaller countries (known as satellites)
just outside its borders to buffer against capitalist and
socialist countries. The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) was
when USSR came into Cuba to build armaments in support
Communist Cuba. They left without doing so.
each student Handout 2. Give students time to fill out
using their book as a resource. ( 15 minutes).
5. Using your background notes give students correct
6. Vocabulary Hunt: Using their notes, have students
locate the following terms and confirm that they have
a good definition
or explanation for each one.
that students must comprehend:
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles
Cuban Missile Crisis
End the lesson by posing the question: Why did the Cold
War happen? Make
sure students understand that the Cold War was a ‘fight’ over
land and philosophy. This is seen through the US containment
policy to stop communism from spreading to other countries.
Obviously, the USSR wanted to convert as many countries
to its philosophy. The US wanted to stop the spread of
Another reason it happened was because there was concern
over the idea of a nuclear war. A nuclear war would
be devastating to land, lives, and other animals. So
arms race began in which both superpowers competed
technologically to keep up with each other. This way,
no one had the