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A Guide to Primary Resources for U.S. History
The Cold War Back to History Unit

(b) explaining the origins of the Cold War, and describing the Truman Doctrine and the policy of containment of communism, the American role in wars in Korea and Vietnam, and the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Europe;

Reds: 1947-53
CNN Interactive: The Cold War Experience

Description: This project website offers several resources on the McCarthyism period and allows students to investigate the multi-sided issues involved in the Communist purge.

Teaching Tips:

"Do Now" Suggestion
  • On the CNN site, there is a link to "Brinksmanship: You make the call." In this brief exercise, students decide how to respond to an interrogation from the House Un-American Activities Committee. They read a brief introduction to their character as a Hollywood screenwriter and advice from three of his/her advisors to help them make a decision about providing names to HUAC. In the "Multimedia" section of the website, there is a link to "Visit the Senate Caucus Room where the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings were held." After students already have an understanding of the Red hysteria during McCarthyism, they can watch a piece of the court proceedings during the Army-McCarthy hearings and respond to the following question (in a discussion, think-pair-share or journal entry): Following these hearings, McCarthy lost most of his credibility with Americans. How do you think he went too far in this clip?
Suggestion for Using this Resource as Part of a Lesson
  • There are a number of useful primary source documents from the McCarthy era on this site, including a link to "First Draft: How the East and West covered the Cold War." It contains an article from Time and from Pravda, offering two different examples of Cold War hysteria from the United Stated and the Soviet Union. Students could compare the American and Soviet experience during the period of the escalating Cold War in a Venn Diagram.

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