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Origins of the Cold War

Our next unit will explore the origins of the global conflict that overshadowed the second half of the 20th Century, the Cold War.  This unit will be driven by the below key questions:

1. What was the historical (pre-World War II) relationship between the Soviet Union and the West and how did it influence the collapse of the Grand Alliance?


2. How did differing visions of post war Europe and Asia  increase tensions between the United States and the USSR?

3. What role did economics play in origin of the Cold War?

4. What are the causes, key events and consequences of the Berlin Blockade?


To support our analysis of the origins of the Cold War we are going to draw from a number of primary and secondary sources including: The Cold War: Superpower Tensions and Rivalries by Alexis Mamaux, America, Russia and the Cold War, 1945-1996 by Walter LaFeber and the CNN documentary series Cold War.

Assessment: The Origins of the Cold War unit connects directly to I.B. World history topic 12: The Cold War: Superpower tensions and rivalries (20th century).  To evaluate your mastery of this material, you will complete a timed on-demand essay (45 minutes) in class.

Introduction to Unit


Cold War: Episode 1-Comrades

HW: Read section 1.2 and take notes on the conferences using the table on pg.28.  Read Chapter 1 of LaFeber and find 1 quote of historiography evaluating the impact of the conferences for each of the members of the Grand Alliance

Evaluation of pre-1946 Relations

Role of Conferences 1943-1945

Casablanca, Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam


Iron Curtain Speech



Soviet Expansionism

Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and Rising Competition for Control

Short Answer (Thesis and 3 paragraphs):
"The fundamental aim of the Marshall Plan was to protect the countries of Europe from the threat of communism by rebuilding their economies." Discuss

Monday - Friday 11:00 - 18:30

Saturday 11:00 - 17:00

Sunday 12:30 - 16:30 


Evaluation Check In #1

Connecting Themes to Our Notes

Episode 4- Berlin

First Cold War Crisis- Berlin Blockade

Origins of the Cold War Cartoon Analysis

Setup for Fish Bowl Socratic Discussion

Monday - Friday 11:00 - 18:30

Saturday 11:00 - 17:00

Sunday 12:30 - 16:30 


Theme Based Small Group Socratic Discussions

Class Discussion- Which theme most clearly explains why the Cold War begins?

HW: Prepare for On-Demand Essay

On-Demand Essay-Origins of the Cold War

Introduction to Dynastic China and the Collapse of the Qing Dynasty

HW: Read Chapter 19 of Hsu
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