The Global Cold War

During the Cold War the United States and Soviet Union sought to exert their ideological, political, economic, and military influence around the world. This competition between the two lone superpowers following World War II impacted not only the United States at home and abroad, but also countries such as Germany, Korea, Guatemala, Cuba, and Vietnam. This course will take a close look at key moments of the Cold War, examine the events from an international perspective, and discuss American foreign policy and its impact on various regions of the world. In each class we will explore the options available to both the United States and Soviet Union and debate the pros and cons of the decisions that were ultimately made.

Key Information

  • The course begins on Tuesday, June 29, 2021.
  • Classes will occur once a week for six weeks.
  • Classes will begin at 4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. PT.
  • Weekly classes are 60 minutes in length on Zoom. These sessions will incorporate a combination of lectures, activities conducted on the Zoom chat, polls, Q&As, and discussions.
  • This course has an estimated weekly commitment of 60 minutes.

Intended Audience

This course is for middle and high school students (Grades 6–12). Parents, teachers, and other adults are welcome to attend the course but are asked not to participate in polls or submit discussion questions so that we may prioritize student learning.

Lesson Schedule and Registration

Registration is for the full 6-session course. Students must have a Gilder Lehrman account to register for a History School course. Create a free account here. Students under 13 must be registered by a parent/guardian. Please follow the instructions on the registration page.

Register Here

Classes

Week 1

Tuesday, June 29, 4:00–5:00 p.m. ET

Earth: Did the Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb Help Kick-start the Cold War?

How do interpretations of historical events change and differ? In this lesson, we will learn the background to the World War II alliance between the US and Soviet Union and the claim that the decision to use the atomic bomb was partly influenced by concerns about the Soviet Union.

Week 2

 

Tuesday, July 6, 4:00–5:00 p.m. ET

Europe: Berlin, A City Divided

What could have happened during the first major conflict of the Cold War? What were the decisions Stalin had to make and the outcomes that might have occurred?

Week 3

Tuesday, July 13, 4:00–5:00 p.m. ET

Asia: Who Started the Korean War?

Dive into the context of the Korean War by discussing US response to the war, why it is considered “the forgotten war,” and its legacy.

Week 4

 

Tuesday, July 20, 4:00–5:00 p.m. ET

Latin America: The CIA in Latin America

Look at the covert operations of the Cold War, the use of the CIA, and American interests in Latin America.

Week 5

 

Tuesday, July 27, 4:00–5:00 p.m. ET

Southeast Asia: The Vietnam War

Consider the Vietnam War from a different perspective. Why does the war continue to divide us? Was it justified? Did the US lose the war?

Week 6 

 

 

Tuesday, August 3, 4:00–5:00 p.m. ET

Caribbean: The Cuban Missile Crisis Reexamined

Examine the background to US interests in Cuba (Spanish-American War, Platt Amendment, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, economic activity, etc.) and learn the Cuban perspective on the decision to place missiles in Cuba.

Meet Your Teacher

Daniel Jocz is a leadership advisor, service learning coordinator, and social studies teacher at a high school in Los Angeles. He has also served on the Instructional Leadership Team, been an instructional coach, and participated in seven international teaching programs. Mr. Jocz was selected as the 2016 California Teacher of the Year and was one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year. In 2018 he was named the California History Teacher of the Year. He is well known for his dynamic APUSH and AP US Gov review and lecture series on YouTube. You can explore his channel here.

Participation Certificate

Students who attend 5 out of 6 classes can get a certificate from the Gilder Lehrman Institute confirming their participation in this History School course.

Please email historyschool@gilderlehrman.org if you have any questions.

learn more about our partner

RetroReport.org is a nonprofit news organization that connects the past to our present. They have over 200 short videos that provide both historical context and new perspectives.

Retro Report recently launched Retro Report in the Classroom, a free, easy-to-use education site for teachers. Each lesson plan includes an engaging 10–15 minute video that connects a chapter from history to students’ world today. The videos and lesson plans are meant to inspire critical thinking and discussion on a variety of subjects, including history, civics, and science. 

Browse over 200 Retro Report short videos

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