Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Cuban Missile Crisis
Author:
Henry Grubb
Course:
World History, US History
Time Frame:
1 day= 80 minute block
Subjects:
Soviet Union versus United States

Grade Levels:
10

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • The students will engage in a cooperative learning assignment on the Cuban Missile Crisis. They will work in groups to explore the presidential decision making and the US, Cuban and USSR perspectives on the 1962 Crisis.  

Rationale:
  • The assignment will help the students understand the Cold War.  It will attempt to put the Cuban Missile Crisis in the context of the time, in so doing present the real fear of a nuclear war. 

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:


  • National Standards Era 9-1. How post- World War II reconstruction occurred, new international relations took shape, and colonial powers broke up. B. Why global power shifts took place and the Cold War broke out in the aftermath of World War II
  • Missouri Standard 7. E.- Knowledge of the use of tools of social science inquiry.  E. Distinguish between fact and fiction and analyze sources to recognize bias and points of view.    
  • Missouri Standard 2. B.-Knowledge of principles of governance systems. B. Compare and contrast governmental systems, current and historical, including those that are democratic, totalitarian, monarchic, oligarchic and theocratic, and describe their impact.

KANSAS STANDARDS

Benchmark 3: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, ideas, developments, and turning points in the era of the Cold War (1945-1990).

4. (A) evaluates the foreign policies of Kennedy and Johnson during the Cold War (e.g., Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Wall, Vietnam War, Peace Corp).

Benchmark 5: The student engages in historical thinking skills.

1. (A) analyzes a theme in United States history to explain patterns of continuity and change over time.

2. (A) develops historical questions on a specific topic in United States history and analyzes the evidence in primary source documents to speculate on the answers.

3. (A) uses primary and secondary sources about an event in U.S. history to develop a credible interpretation of the event, evaluating on its meaning (e.g., uses provided primary

4. (A) compares competing historical narratives in United States history by contrasting different historians’ choice of questions, use of sources, and points of view, in order to demonstrate how these factors contribute to different interpretations.

Benchmark 4: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, ideas, developments, and turning points of the World Since 1945.

(A) analyzes the Cold War as the competition between two competing ideologies or world views and its impact on various regions of the world. (e.g., roots in WWII, Mao’s China; the Cold War in Europe; NATO, Warsaw Pact, and the competition for nonaligned nations; collapse of Communism in Europe)

Benchmark 5: The student engages in historical thinking skills.

(A) analyzes a theme in world history to explain patterns of continuity and change over time.

2. (A) develops historical questions on a specific topic in world history and analyzes the evidence in primary source documents to speculate on the answers.

3. (A) uses primary and secondary sources about an event in world history to develop a credible interpretation of the event, forming conclusions about its meaning (e.g., use provided primary and secondary sources to interpret a historical-based conclusion).

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • The LIFE Magazine article, September 15, 1961
  • Documents 1-19 in packet from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum packet- Perspectives on: The October Crisis, The Caribbean Crisis, the Cuban Missile Crisis documents include:  1. MRBM Launch Site, October 14, 1962;  2. Cuban Map October 1962;  3. Soviet Military Build Up in Cuba, October 1962;  4.Top Secret Missile Range Map of North America;  5. Audio recording (transcript) after evening meeting about the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 18, 1962;  6. Minutes from the October 22, 1962 meeting of the Presidium;  7. Letter to President Kennedy from the Soviet Premier Khrushchev, October 23, 19622. Cuba map, October 1962;   8. Presidential Doodles, October 25, 1962;  9. Letter from Fidel Castro to Soviet Premier Khrushchev, October 26, 1962;  10. Copy of Outgoing Ciphered Telegram No. 20076, October 27, 1962;  11. Minutes of the Presidium October 27, 1962;  12. Letter from Soviet Premier Khrushchev to President Kennedy, October 27, 1962;  13. Letter from Soviet Premier Khrushchev to Fidel Castro, October 28, 1962;  14. Letter from President Kennedy to Chairman Khrushchev, October 28, 1962;  15. Letter from Soviet Premier Khrushchev to Fidel Castro, October 30, 1962;  16. Letter to Soviet Premier Khrushchev from Fidel Castro, October 31, 1962;  17. Press release of the United Nations reprinting Fidel Castro’s letter of November 15th to U Thant, Acting Secretary of the UN, November 16, 1962;  18. Political Cartoons;  
  • The World on the Brink: John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis http://www.jfklibrary.org  click on Education and Public Programs 2. For Teachers or for students 3. Materials, Resources and Activities 4. World on the Brink 

Full description of activity or assignment.
  • Then I will divide the students into groups of four or five and give them the 19 documents in the packet. 
  • Each group will spend one class period reading and evaluating the documents.
  • Each person in the group will create an interview with an “realistic but fictional” person from 1962.  Each group must have a person from the United States, The Soviet Union and Cuba. That person is to tell about living through the crisis from their perspective. 
  • The  students are all to write a personal reflection what it would be like to live under threat of a nuclear war   
  • Each student will also be able to be able to explain one other document.                                                                
  • The following day we will cover the documents by asking someone to report out on each document.  Hopefully, all documents will be covered, if not the teacher will explain the remaining ones.
  • One student from each group will report on their interview.
  •  There will be a discussion about living under the threat of nuclear war.

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
  • Each student will be expected to hand in their evaluation of one document, the interview of someone from the period and their personal reflection about nuclear war.

A student who does all three assignments well and works together cooperatively with the group and presents once, will receive an A.

A student who does all of the work more than satisfactorily with no presentation or an average presentation will receive a B. (However a student doing satisfactorily but with a great presentation could get an A)

A student who does all the work satisfactorily will receive a C.  (However, if the student does a good presentation they could get a B)

A student doing all the assignment poorly and no presentations will receive a D.  (However a goog presentation could get C)

A student doing two or less assignments and no presentations will receive an F.  (However, if they do a really good presentation they could receive a D)