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Social Studies Curriculum Social Studies - United States History II
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U.S. II Strand 7: THE COLD WAR ERA AND A CHANGING AMERICA

(Ca. 1950-2000)

Cold War ideologies have shaped American life and influenced foreign policy since the middle of the 20th century. Cold War rivalries escalated into hot wars in Korea and Vietnam. Alliances led to proxy wars in a number of contested areas. An arms race escalated fears. Eventually, American and Soviet leaders eased Cold War tensions, and the Soviet Union dissolved, ushering in a period of uncertainty in global affairs. American interests in the Middle East have complicated international policies. Differing political philosophies spurred debates over the size and role of government. Throughout the era, American society, education, culture, and politics were shaped by Cold War tensions, technological developments, and changing demographics.

Possible Guiding Questions to Consider:

  • How did the Cold War shape domestic policies, foreign policies, and popular culture?
  • What lessons can be learned from the Vietnam and Korean Wars?
  • How was McCarthyism a reflection of Cold War tensions?
  • How did wartime technologies lead to peacetime innovations, such as nuclear weapons/ power, space exploration, computers, and communication?
  • What were the main goals of President Johnson's Great Society?
  • What philosophy regarding the role of government influenced President Reagan's New Federalism?
  • How did America's relationship with Israel affect its relationship with other Middle Eastern nations?
  • How has American culture been influenced by technological developments?
  • How did the Watergate crisis demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of modern U.S. politics?
  • Nothing to Buy
    Students compare the Soviet-era market place with present-day Russian marketplace.


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