Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Cuban Missile Crisis Spy
Author:
Derek Frieling
Course:
World or American History
Time Frame:
20-30 minutes
Subjects:
Soviet Union versus United States

Grade Levels:
10, 11

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

This will be a classroom activity. It will start as an individual assignment, proceed to a cooperative learning project, and finish as a classroom discussion.

Rationale:

The purpose of this lesson is to enhance student interest in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Also, students will evaluate primary documents.

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


MO 3aW:Describe and evaluate the evolution of United States domestic and foreign policies from Reconstruction to the present, Including:  the Cold War

MO 7C: Distinguish between fact and opinion and analyze sources to recognize bias and points of view.

SHOW ME STANDARDS  2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world

6. Relationships of the individual and groups to institutions and cultural traditions

7. The use of tools of social science inquiry (such as surveys, statistics, maps, documents)

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).

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
Full description of activity or assignment.

Students will be placed in the role of a KGB agent in the United States.

They will be given the instructions on the following page. 

Students will have to choose the top five of 11 documents to choose to send back to the Soviet Union. In the first stage, students must choose their top five documents individually. Then students will be arranged into groups of 4.  Students must agree on the top five documents. Finally, each group will reveal their choices to the class and they will defend their choices in a class discussion. 

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

No formal assessment. The purpose of this lesson is to increase student interest and involvement in their examination of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Also, the teacher should informally assess student knowledge of the event.  

Date:  October 27, 1962

From:  KGB Headquarters

To: Agent 700, American Operative 

Situation:  The Americans have discovered of our plans to install nuclear tactical weapons in Cuba. President Kennedy has declared his "quarantine" of our comrade nation, disallowing us to further the weapons system.

Mission: The Supreme Soviet and Premier Khrushchev must know of intentions President Kennedy.   Find any documentation indicative of the American leader's intents and probable actions.  Information is needed to provide assurance that the American leader does not intend to begin nuclear holocaust if there is not Soviet withdrawal from Cuba.  The Soviet Union must not back down from this "Cuban Missile Crisis." At the very least, we must not be embarrassed in the eyes of the world in a possible cessation of this eminent danger.