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American History - Chapter 27

Pages 842-863

The Cold War

and the

American Dream
Unit Packet & Study Guide

Name: KEY
Social Studies Teacher:

Learning Goal: Students understand how the Cold War and domestic changes in the postwar years affected the nation.

Focus on:

  • Postwar economy

  • Fear of communism

  • Korean War

  • International competition/conflict

  • Life at home


Students understand how the Cold War and domestic changes in the postwar years affected the nation in all five specified areas listed in the Learning Goal, and can teach others by writing an essay detailing the relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War, and comparing it to the relationship between Russia and the United States today.


Students understand how the Cold War and domestic changes in the postwar years affected the nation in four of the five specified areas listed in the Learning Goal.


Students understand how the Cold War and domestic changes in the postwar years affected the nation in three of the five specified areas listed in the Learning Goal.


Students understand how the Cold War and domestic changes in the postwar years affected the nation in two of the five specified areas listed in the Learning Goal.


Students do not understand how the Cold War and domestic changes in the postwar years affected the nation in any of the five specified areas listed in the Learning Goal.

Unit Essential Question: How did the Cold War and domestic changes in the postwar years affect the nation?

Write the definition for each of the following. You may use a separate sheet of paper, but it must be stapled to the back of this packet.

Section 1 – pgs. 844-849

  1. Harry S. Truman – U.S. president from 1945-1953

  2. Fair Deal – social reforms proposed by Truman; built on Roosevelt’s New Deal

  3. Cold War – conflict between the United States and Soviet Union following WWII

  4. Truman Doctrine – policy promising aid to countries fighting to maintain democracies

  5. NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a military alliance that included Canada, the United States, and ten European countries

  6. Containment – policy to stop the spread of communism

Section 2 – pgs. 850-855

  1. Joseph McCarthy – senator who accused many Americans of having communist ties

  2. 38th parallel – line of latitude dividing North and South Korea

  3. Korean War – conflict involving US-led UN forces against North Korea and China

  4. Arms race – competition between the United States and the Soviet Union to develop more destructive weapons

  5. H-bomb – hydrogen bomb

  6. Space race – competition between the United States and the Soviet Union to lead in space exploration

  7. Brinkmanship – policy of going to the brink of war to combat communism

Section 3 – pgs. 858-863

  1. Rock ‘n’ roll – musical style based on rhythm and blues that became popular in the 1950s

  2. Baby boom – a sharp increase in the US birthrate following WWII

  3. Suburbs – residential areas surrounding a city

  4. Sunbelt – warmer states in the southern and southwestern United States

Conform – to agree with the beliefs and ideas of the majority

The Cold War and the American Dream

  1. Use the map in the Chapter Opener (page 843) and the map “The Division of Berlin 1945” in section 1 (page 847) to locate the following countries, city, and bodies of water. Then label them on the outline map on the next page.







Great Britain



Bodies of Water




Black Sea




North Sea




Adriatic Sea


Soviet Union


Mediterranean Sea

East Germany



Atlantic Ocean

West Germany



Baltic Sea



  1. After labeling your map, use it to answer the following questions.

  1. What countries border the Soviet Union to the west?

Finland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, & Romania

  1. Which European countries lie completely south of 45˚N latitude?

Portugal, Spain, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, & Turkey

  1. The western border between the Soviet Union and Poland lies along approximately what line of longitude?


  1. What body of water separates Norway and Sweden from the Soviet Union?

The Baltic Sea

  1. What country was split into two parts after World War II? Why?

Germany, terms of the treaty that ended WWII

  1. What countries border East Germany to the south and east?

Czechoslovakia and Poland

  1. In which part of Germany was Berlin located?

East Germany

Baltic Sea

Atlantic Ocean

Mediterranean Sea

Adriatic Sea

North Sea

Black Sea














Soviet Union






West Germany

East Germany





Great Britain


Peacetime Economics and Politics

  • Peacetime Adjustments

    • After the war, defense industries reduced their workforce and began to lay off workers. In addition, more than 10 million returning veterans flooded the job market

    • Women began to return to more traditional jobs such as nursing and teaching

  • The Postwar Economy

    • The postwar economy boomed

    • Increased demand for goods led to skyrocketing prices

  • Labor, Unrest, and Reaction

    • More than 4 million union workers went on strike for better pay

    • In response, Harry S. Truman threatened to draft workers into the army to run the trains

    • The strike ended before Truman could carry out his threat

  • Reelection and Fair Deal

    • During his reelection campaign, Truman blamed the “do-nothing” Congress for blocking many of his ideas

      • Worked – he won reelection

    • Truman introduced the “Fair Deal”

      • Extension of FDR’s “New Deal”

      • Called for new housing and employment projects and an end to racial discrimination in hiring

      • Congress fought against him, few measures passed

America Fights a Cold War

  • Origins of the Cold War

    • Most important issue: future of Eastern Europe

    • When WWII ended, Stalin installed pro-Soviet governments throughout Eastern Europe

    • Tensions grew between capitalist Western democracies and communist Soviet Union

      • Each side suspected the other of trying to dominate world affairs

    • Result- Cold War: Although the two nations never actually met on a battlefield, the threat of deadly contact would last for decades

  • The Berlin Airlift

    • Germany was divided into four zones after WWII

    • The Western countries decided to combine their zones into West Germany

    • Stalin feared that a united Germany would threaten the Soviet Union

      • The capital of Germany, Berlin, was blockaded by the Soviet Union

      • Western countries sent in packages of food, fuel, and equipment into the city for more than a year

      • When the blockade finally ended, Germany had been divided into a democratic West Germany and a communist East Germany

  • The Politics of Containment

    • Truman had a policy of containment and included the Truman Doctrine

      • The Marshall Plan aimed to prevent the spread of communism by reviving war-torn economies in Europe

    • Alarm over communist control led to the creation of NATO

      • Included United States, Canada, and ten Western European nations

      • In response, the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries created the Warsaw Pact

The Cold War at Home

  • Americans on Trial

    • Alger Hiss was accused of passing military information to the Soviet Union

      • He was jailed for lying under oath

    • Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were convicted of passing atomic secrets to the Russians

      • They were both executed

  • Uncovering “Un-American Activities”

    • Truman ordered government workers to undergo loyalty checks – many lost their jobs

    • The House Un-American Activities Committee began targeting people in the movie industry

      • Many were blacklisted

Additional Notes:

Directions: Use section two of chapter 27 to answer the following questions. Questions must be answered in complete sentences. If you use a separate sheet of paper, that paper must be stapled to the back of this packet.

The Cold War Heats up in Korea

  1. How was Korea divided up after WWII? Which side was communist? Which was democratic?

Korea was divided at the 38th parallel. North Korea was communist, South Korea was democratic.

  1. What event in June 1950 started what is known as the Korean War?

North Korea forces crossed the 38th parallel .

  1. What prompted China to enter the war?

UN forces pushed North Korea armies toward the Chinese border. China saw it as threat and entered the war.

  1. Why did President Truman refuse to blockade China? What happened to MacArthur?

He feared it would draw the Soviet Union into the conflict.

  1. Explain the outcome of the Korean War.

Stalemate – the two Koreas remained spilt at the 38th parallel

McCarthy and Communism

  1. Why does the term McCarthyism refer to reckless charges against innocent citizens?

Senator McCarthy would accuse innocent citizens of being communist or being loyal to the communist cause.

  1. How did Senator McCarthy lose his political power?

He went too far and criticized too many innocent and influential people. The Senate condemned his actions, and he faded from public view.
The Cold War Around the World

  1. How was Eisenhower’s foreign policy different than Truman’s when it came to communism?

Truman believed in containment. Eisenhower believed in brinkmanship.

  1. What was the arms race? How did it lead to the United States and the Soviet Union both stockpiling weapons?

Both US and the Soviet Union were trying to create more and more devastating weapons. The competition led to both countries stockpiling the weapons as they were created.

  1. How did the Soviet Union push the United States to research outer space?

Soviet Union launched Sputnik and the United States began to research outer space in response.

  1. How did the U-2 incident end peace talks between the Soviet Union and the United States?

The Soviets shot down an American U-2 plane, Eisenhower denied it was spying until he learned the pilot had been captured. The Soviet Union demanded an apology, Eisenhower refused.

Speech at Wheeling, West Virginia

Setting the Stage: In February 1950, Joseph McCarthy made headlines across the country when he claimed that Communists were shaping policy in the U.S. government.
“Today we are engaged in a final, all-out battle between communistic atheism1 and Christianity. The modern champions of communism have selected this time as the time, and ladies and gentlemen of the chips are down – they are truly down. . . In my opinion the State Department, which is one of the most important government departments, is thoroughly infested with communists. . . I have in my hand 57 cases2 of individuals who would appear to be either card carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party, but who nevertheless are still helping to shape our foreign policy. . . One of the important reasons for the graft, the corruption, the dishonesty, the disloyalty, the treason in high government positions – one of the most important reasons why this continues – is a lack of moral uprising on the part of the 140 million American people. In the light of history, however, it is not hard to explain. It is the result of an emotional hangover and a temporary moral lapse which follows every war. . . However, the morals of our people have not been destroyed. They still exist. This cloak of numbness and apathy has only needed a spark to rekindle them. Happily, this spark has finally been supplied. As you know, very recently the Secretary of State proclaimed his loyalty to a man guilty of what has always been considered the most abominable of all crimes – of being a traitor to the people who gave him a position of great trust. The Secretary of State, in attempting to justify his continued devotion to the man who sold out the Christian world to the atheistic world, referred to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount3 as a justification and reason therefore. . . When this pompous diplomat in striped pants, with a phony British accent, proclaimed to the people that Christ on the Mount endorsed communism, high treason, and betrayal of a sacred trust, the blasphemy was so great that it awakened the dormant indignation 4of the American people. He has lighted the spark which is resulting in a moral uprising and will end only when the whole sorry mess of twisted warped thinkers are swept from the national scene so that we may have a new birth of national honesty and decency in government.”

See it Now

Setting the Stage: In March 1954, newscaster Edward Murrow devoted the entire half hour of his See it Now program to an attack on Senator McCarthy.
“It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in confusing the public5 mind, as between internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent6 with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men – not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend the causes that were, for the moment, unpopular. . .
As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.
The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it – and rather successfully.”

Document-Based Questions:

  1. How does McCarthy explain the “corruption” and “dishonesty” in government?

“Lack in moral uprising” by the American people

  1. Whom does Murrow blame for the results of McCarthy’s actions?

The situation of fear in the country and the citizen’s reactions

  1. Explain the different points of view about how Americans should react to the threats of communism.

McCarthy wants them punished and shunned from society. Murrow wants people to look closely at the evidence and relax in their persecutions.

Directions: As you read, use the diagram below to record important changes that took place in the 1950s. Keep in mind, you need to be able to explain and describe each change thoroughly on your test.

1950s American Life

Cultural Changes: Rock ‘n’ Roll became popular with Elvis Presley being known as the king of rock ‘n’ roll. Television became prominent with 9 out of 10 households owning a set. Televised debated allowed JFK to be elected President.

Forgotten Poor: With the growth of suburbs, city life declined leaving mainly African Americans and Latinos behind. Mexican workers from the bracero program were often taken advantage of by their employers.

Social Conformity: Magazines, films and TV shows praised women housekeepers. Social pressure to fit in increased. “Beatniks” resisted the movement.

Consumerism: Advertisements led to more conveniences at home such as the vacuum cleaner and televisions. Life became easier for the people.

Suburban growth: caused in part by the baby boom and the booming economy. Led to increased car sales and movement of the population to the sunbelt.

  1. Completion: Write the key term or name that best completes each sentence.

    1. Alarm over Communist control of Eastern Europe led to the formation of NATO in 1949

    2. The huge population growth in the 1950s was mostly an effect of the baby boom.

    3. Although U.S. and Soviet forces never actually met on the battlefield, the Cold War caused tensions between the nations for decades.

    4. Korea is divided into two countries at the 38th Parallel .

    5. Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard played rock ‘n’ roll, a type of music that became popular in the 1950s.

  1. Riddles: Write the term or name best described in each riddle.

    1. I declared that I had a list of 205 State Department officials who belonged to the Communist Party. Who am I? Joseph McCarthy

    2. It was a competition between the United States and the Soviet Union, in which both sides built up stockpiles of nuclear weapons. What is it? Arms race

    3. During the 1950s, families left crowded cities for a different lifestyle in these communities. What are they? suburbs

    4. I proposed the Fair Deal to help people get jobs and housing. Who am I? Harry S. Truman

    5. It promised aid to countries fighting to maintain democracies. What is it? Truman Doctrine

  1. Summarizing: Read the passage about Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, two spies who gave the Soviet Union vital American atomic secrets during the Cold War. Then, write a one-paragraph summary on a separate sheet of paper which will be attached to the back of this packet when complete.

Perhaps no criminal case in American history has aroused greater controversy than that of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, the only Americans executed for espionage during peacetime. Though many still proclaim the Rosenbergs’ innocence, recent evidence leaves little doubt that Julius, at least, was indeed the center of a spy ring that smuggled information out of the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico, to the Soviet Union.

The Source of the information was a technician at Los Alamos named David Greenglass – Ethel’s brother. Like his sister and her husband, Greenglass was a devoted Communist; working for ideological reason, he smuggled drawing and other bits of information to Santa Fe and on to New York through a courier named Harry Gold; there Julius (and perhaps Ethel) directed the material to a Soviet controller. The operation began in the early 1940s and continued for several years. The defection of a clerk from the Soviet embassy in Canada, however, led the FBI to Gold, Greenglass, and the Rosenbergs.

The federal agents, however, were even more concerned about an industrial espionage ring the Julius was still working with; the FBI tried to use the charges in the atomic-secrets case – especially the charges against Ethel, who might indeed have been largely innocent – to get him to talk. Julius refused to give up his fellow agents. At the Rosenbergs’ trial, Greenglass testified against his sister and brother-in-law, earning them both convictions. In a sentencing procedure that involved several irregularities, . . . the Rosenbergs were both condemned to death. Despite a flurry of appeals by left-wing sympathizers convinced of the Rosenbergs’ innocence, the couple were sent to the electric chair in New York on June 19, 1953.

Answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper.

Section 1

  1. How did the U.S. economy and political climate change after WWII?

Economy boomed. Raising prices fueled labor unrest.

  1. Why were the tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States called a “Cold War”?

The two never actually met on a battlefield. Just the threat of deadly impact would last for decades.

  1. How did the fear of communism affect people in the United States?

Americans were accused of spying, forced to resign from their jobs, and were blacklisted.
Section 2

  1. What events led up to the Korean War and what was the outcome?

Communism came to power in North Korea, Americans supported a non-communist government in South Korea. North Korean forces crossed the 38th Parallel, and Truman saw this as a threat to his containment policy. In the end, Eisenhower compromised to end the war, but tensions remained and Korea was still divided.

  1. How did Senator McCarthy gain and lose political power?

McCarthy claimed to have a list of 205 officials who supported Communism. Lead to a witch hunt. In the end, with no real evidence, the public finally turned against him.

  1. How did the United States and the Soviet Union compete with each other?

Arms race: competition to develop weapons with more destructive power.

Space race: competition to conquer space.

Section 3

  1. How did American life change during the 1950s?

Prosperity, baby boom, suburbs, consumerism, and social conformity. People had larger, new homes, cars, and modern conveniences.

  1. What groups were left out of the prosperity of the 1950s? Why?

African Americans, Latinos, and Mexicans. African Americans and Latinos were left in the decaying cities. Mexican braceros were taken advantage of by their employers.

  1. What cultural aspects influenced Americans in the 1950s?

Rock ‘n’ roll became popular and introduced a new cultural identity. Television swept the nation and introduced the ideal American family. A youthful president was elected due to his attractiveness and charisma on television.

1 Atheism: rejection of a belief in god or gods

2 57 Cases: According to news reports of this speech, McCarthy claimed to have a list of 205 Communists or Communist loyalists in government. In the text of the speech that was released to the Congressional Record two weeks later, that number reduced to 57. McCarthy’s list was never shown or proven to exist. Why do you think the number changed?

3 Sermon on the Mount: McCarthy refers to Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s public statement that he would not “turn [his] back on Alger Hiss” after Hiss was charged with providing information to the Soviets and found guilty of lying under oath. According to McCarthy, how has Acheson affected the American people?

4 Indignation: anger

5 Confusing the public: McCarthy made charges against respected military officials and politicians, famous writers and artists, and average Americans such as an Army dentist and a cleaning woman at the Pentagon. Why was it hard for people to defend themselves against McCarthy’s accusations?

6 Dissent: different of opinion

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