Unit 14: The Cold War

Essential Questions

  • How and why did the leadership of the United States differ after World War II and World War I?
  • How and why did the United States help the nations of Europe after World War II?
  • What was the Cold War? How was different from previous wars?
  • How were World War II and the Vietnam War different?
  • How were the Vietnam War and the Gulf War different?
  • How has our relationship with Latin America changed?


A. Role of the United Nations

  1. Human rights issues; United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)—role played by Eleanor Roosevelt on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
  2. Actions of the United Nations to promote peace

B. United States and the Soviet Union emerge as world leaders

  1. The Cold War
  2. Truman Doctrine and Marshall plan
  3. Alliance systems: e.g., NATO, Warsaw Pact

C. Communist expansion leads to United States policy of containment

  1. In Europe: Berlin airlift, Berlin Wall
  2. In Asia: Communist China, Korean War
  3. In Latin America: Cuban missile crisis
  4. In Southeast Asia: Vietnam War

D. Superpower rivalry

  1. The spread of nuclear weapons
  2. The arms race
  3. From Sputnik to astronauts on the moon

E. Shifting foreign policies help lead to the end of the Cold War

  1. Detente and arms control beginning with President Nixon
  2. Military buildup and treaties to bring about reductions
  3. Fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the collapse of the Soviet Union

F. The United States seeks a new role in the world

  1. Arab-Israeli conflicts; Camp David Accord
  2. Persian Gulf War
  3. Peacekeeping missions; Somalia, Bosnia

G. Western Hemisphere relations

  1. Economic competition and cooperation: NAFTA
  2. Immigration patterns between the United States and Mexico, Latin America
  3. Spread of democratic principles in Latin America