March 5: Class Posters

Here are the posters you all made in class.

March 1: Class Notes

Sphere of Influence

In international politics, sphere of influence refers to the claim by a state to exclusive or predominant control over a foreign area or territory. The term may refer to a political claim to exclusive control, which other nations may or may not recognize as a matter of fact, or it may refer to a legal agreement by which another state or states pledge themselves to refrain from interference within the sphere of influence. (brittanica.com)

During the Cold War, both the United States and the USSR attempts to expand their spheres of influence without coming into a direct military conflict with each other.

Iron Curtain

Iron Curtain, the political, military, and ideological barrier erected by the Soviet Union after World War II to seal off itself and its dependent eastern and central European allies from open contact with the West and other noncommunist areas. The term Iron Curtain had been in occasional and varied use as a metaphor since the 19th century, but it came to prominence only after it was used by the former British prime minister Winston Churchill in a speech at Fulton, Missouri, U.S., on March 5, 1946, when he said of the communist states, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” (brittanica.com)

You can watch Churchill's speech where he coined the famous phrase below.

Satellite State

A Satellite State is a political term that refers to a country or nation that was formally independent, but is now politically and economically influenced by another country. The term is often used to reference the Soviet Empire, Soviet Satellite States, or Eastern Bloc. The terms puppet state and client state mean the game thing.

Domino Theory

Domino theory, also called Domino Effect, theory in U.S. foreign policy after World War II stating that the “fall” of a noncommunist state to communism would precipitate the fall of noncommunist governments in neighbouring states. The theory was first proposed by President Harry S. Truman to justify sending military aid to Greece and Turkey in the 1940s, but it became popular in the 1950s when President Dwight D. Eisenhower applied it to Southeast Asia, especially South Vietnam. The domino theory was one of the main arguments used in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations during the 1960s to justify increasing American military involvement in the Vietnam War. (brittanica.com)


Containment, strategic foreign policy pursued by the United States in the late 1940s and the early 1950s in order to check the expansionist policy of the Soviet Union. In an anonymous article in the July 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs, George F. Kennan, diplomat and U.S. State Department adviser on Soviet affairs, suggested a “long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies” in the hope that the regime would mellow or collapse. The Truman Doctrine of 1947, with its guarantee of immediate economic and military aid to Greece and Turkey, was an initial application of the policy of containment.

Arms Race

Arms race, a pattern of competitive acquisition of military capability between two or more countries. The term is often used quite loosely to refer to any military buildup or spending increases by a group of countries. This definition requires that there be a competitive nature to this buildup, often reflecting an adversarial relationship. The arms race concept is also used in other fields. However, the discussion in this article is limited to military arms races.

An arms race is the typical outcome of a security dilemma.

Mutually Assured Destruction

In international relations, mutually assured destruction theory is the idea that if two more states in the international system have nuclear weapons capabilities, then this will be enough to deter any one state from carrying out a nuclear attack. The reason is that if the first state were to launch a nuclear strike, the second state (and any other states who have nuclear weapons) could retaliate, which in turn would lead to additional attacks by the first state. This would result in mutually assured destruction of the states involved. Because of this, the theory suggests that no state would be willing to initiate a nuclear strike for fear of the consequences that that initial strike would bring. (internationalrelations.org)

February 27: Class Notes



Liberal-democratic political system.

Who governs: Representatives are chosen by citizens through elections. Governments, in theory, are supposed to represent the needs and views of citizens.

Political parties: Citizens can join political party to compete in elections. Most prominent examples are the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Political freedoms: Examples include freedom of speech, press, assembly, suffrage, religion.


Communist-Bolshevik system.

Who governs: Major government decisions made by the Politburo, a committee of senior members of the communist party inside the government. Party, in theory, is supposed to represent the proletariat, or the working class.

Political Parties: One-party state. All decisions about how the society is governed made within the communist party.



Property rights: Property rights for individuals guaranteed by government.

Investment: Much of it comes from private individuals and firms. Supplemented, often, by the government.

Dominant economic idea: Capitalist economic ideas. Often called a “mixed-economy”, since it mixes private and government planning and investment.


Property rights: Government has extensive rights over all property in the state.

Investment: The government, controlled by the communist party, makes the major decisions about investment in the society

Dominant economic idea: Communist/Marxist


Means of Production: The places and goods used to produce goods in a society. For example, a factory where cars are produced. In the USA, for most goods, the means of production is owned by private individuals and firms. In the USSR, the means of production was owned and operated by the government.

Agrarian Society: Rural, peasant societies based on the cultivation and harvesting of crops.

Military Alliances


Military Alliance: NATO (North American Treaty Organization). Major military alliance of the “Western Bloc”.


Military Alliance: Warsaw Pact. Major military alliance of the “Eastern Bloc.”

February 16: Class Notes

Hi everyone,

Remember to bring ideas for your inquiry project to class next Wednesday. The question is:

For a person in your chosen country, what was the most significant event of the Second World War?

If you don't know where to start, here are some events you wrote on the board today from 1937-1943.

February 14: Class Notes

Five most significant events that led to the outbreak of the Second World War

These are the events that we came up with in today's class.


Appeasement of German Aggression

-rise of totalitarianism

-Treaty of Versailles

-fascism in Italy and Germany and Japan

-The Depression/Inflation in Germany


-Japanese invasion of China

-German military mobilization August 12

-Election of Adolf Hitler in Germany/ as leader of the Nazi party

Here's the video we watched.