Documentaries from Class

Canadian Peacekeepers in Yugoslav Wars.

The Suez Crisis

Guiding Questions for class essay

Inquiry Question: Whose story from the Cold War should everyone remember?

Guiding Questions:

1)Whose perspective will you research? - This can be an individual, organization, or government.

2)How were they involved in the Cold War? -Explain how their actions relate to the wider struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union.

3)What were they trying to achieve that is so important for us to remember?

4)When did all of this happen?

5)Why did they do the things that they did? - Make sure to explain in its proper historical context!

|February 20: Important events from the Cold War

Truman Doctrine

The Truman Doctrine was pronouncement by U.S. Pres. Harry S. Truman on March 12, 1947, declaring immediate economic and military aid to the governments of Greece, threatened by Communist insurrection, and Turkey, under pressure from Soviet expansion in the Mediterranean area. As the United States and the Soviet Union struggled to reach a balance of power during the Cold War that followed World War II, Great Britain announced that it could no longer afford to aid those Mediterranean countries, which the West feared were in danger of falling under Soviet influence. The U.S. Congress responded to a message from Truman by promptly appropriating $400,000,000 for this purpose. (Encyclopedia Britannica.) Closely related to American policy of containment.

Marshall Plan

The Marshall Plan, formally European Recovery Program, (April 1948–December 1951), was a U.S.-sponsored program designed to rehabilitate the economies of 17 western and southern European countries in order to create stable conditions in which democratic institutions could survive. (Encyclopedia Britannica) The Marshall Plan is also closely related to policy of containment.

Korean War

On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began when some 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean People’s Army poured across the 38th parallel, the boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-Western Republic of Korea to the south. This invasion was the first military action of the Cold War. By July, American troops had entered the war on South Korea’s behalf. As far as American officials were concerned, it was a war against the forces of international communism itself. After some early back-and-forth across the 38th parallel, the fighting stalled and casualties mounted with nothing to show for them. Meanwhile, American officials worked anxiously to fashion some sort of armistice with the North Koreans. The alternative, they feared, would be a wider war with Russia and China–or even, as some warned, World War III. Finally, in July 1953, the Korean War came to an end. In all, some 5 million soldiers and civilians lost their lives during the war. The Korean peninsula is still divided today. (

Space Race

The Space Race refers to the 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US), for dominance in spaceflight capability. It had its origins in the missile-based nuclear arms race between the two nations that occurred following World War II, aided by captured German missile technology and personnel from the Aggregat program. The technological superiority required for such dominance was seen as necessary for national security, and symbolic of ideological superiority. The Space Race spawned pioneering efforts to launch artificial satellites, uncrewed space probes of the Moon, Venus, and Mars, and human spaceflight in low Earth orbit and to the Moon. (Wikipedia)

The three most important events to remember is the first satellite launched into space (Sputnik from the USSR in 1957), the first person in space (Yuri Gagarin from the USSR in 1961) and the first person to walk on the moon (Neil Armstrong from the USA in 1969).

Bay of Pigs Invasion

On January 1, 1959, a young Cuban nationalist named Fidel Castro (1926-) drove his guerilla army into Havana and overthrew General Fulgencio Batista (1901-1973), the nation’s American-backed president. For the next two years, officials at the U.S. State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) attempted to push Castro from power. Finally, in April 1961, the CIA launched what its leaders believed would be the definitive strike: a full-scale invasion of Cuba by 1,400 American-trained Cubans who had fled their homes when Castro took over. However, the invasion did not go well: The invaders were badly outnumbered by Castro’s troops, and they surrendered after less than 24 hours of fighting. (

Cuban Missile Crisis

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, leaders of the U.S. and the Soviet Union engaged in a tense, 13-day political and military standoff in October 1962 over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles on Cuba, just 90 miles from U.S. shores. In a TV address on October 22, 1962, President John Kennedy (1917-63) notified Americans about the presence of the missiles, explained his decision to enact a naval blockade around Cuba and made it clear the U.S. was prepared to use military force if necessary to neutralize this perceived threat to national security. Following this news, many people feared the world was on the brink of nuclear war. However, disaster was avoided when the U.S. agreed to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s (1894-1971) offer to remove the Cuban missiles in exchange for the U.S. promising not to invade Cuba. Kennedy also secretly agreed to remove U.S. missiles from Turkey. (

February 15: Important ideas from the Cold War

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. (

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.” (

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. (


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. (

February 13: 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.”