Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


The Cuban Missile Crisis in 10 Steps
Author:
Kurtis Werner
Course:
US/World History II (1900-present)
Time Frame:
45 minutes (1 bell period)
Subjects:
Soviet Union versus United States

Grade Levels:
10

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • This is a technology-based instruction that will be about 20 minutes of lecture and a 10 minute activity that will involve the use of a SmartBoard and also the program Notebook for the Macintosh computer. However, any program comparable with a PC can also be used. Technology is not absolutely necessary to run this activity and can be adapted to more basic lessons.

Rationale:
  • The Cuban Missile, or October Crisis was the pinnacle of the Cold War in terms of the significance of how close the United States and Soviet Union came to nuclear war. Students need to understand the events leading to the 13 long days in October and United States enduring mission during the Cold War to contain communism.

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


Show-Me Standards: Social Studies

  • 2. continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world
  • 5. the major elements of geographical study and analysis (such as location, place, movement, regions) and their relationships to changes in society and environment

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 U.S. National Archives and Records Administration: http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/

Full description of activity or assignment.
  • This is both a presentation and direct instruction activity. The students will have a lecture and view some political cartoons and maps during the time period of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The students will have a background on the Cuban Missile Crisis and be able to participate in the Notebook activity at the end of the lesson. If available, the teacher can also put a list of events on a timeline (rather than note taking). Give the students time to try and put the 11 steps of the Cuban Missile Crisis in order. The eleventh step can be made into a bonus. Discretion can be used for point values for putting the steps in the correct order. Powerpoint

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

 

Cuban Missile Crisis

Purpose: To identify the 10 steps of the Cuban Missile Crisis and what the U.S. did to stop the spread of communism.

Directions:

Please break-off into groups of 5-6

Each group will be provided with an envelope

In the envelope are 10 pieces of paper.

Your group’s goal is to place the 10 pieces of paper in the correct order of the events.

Good luck! Don’t fail.

1 A ! flight over Cuba showed that the Soviet Union was building missile bases there.

2. CIA Report at least 16 Soviet missiles in Cuba. 20 Soviet ship were spotted in the Atlantic, apparently

bound for Cuba, carrying what seemed to be missiles.

3. President John F. Kennedy summons the National Security Council Most of the members advise an

air strike against Cuba.

4. Kennedy reaches decision with “ for blockade

5. Kennedy addresses nation in his “ Build Up in Cuba” speech.

6. The World Waits Blockade comes into effect. USA prepares for war. However, almost immediately, some Soviet ships turned back. The remaining ones held their positions. One ship does go through the blockade. Kennedy allows it to pass.

7. U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson challenges the Soviet ambassador to admit to nuclear missile sites in Cuba. The Soviet ambassador refuses.

• Soviet PremierNikita Khrushchev and the Soviet Union raise possibility of a deal. If the Soviet Union withdraws missiles from Cuba, the United States must publicly promise not to invade Cuba.

9. Attorney General Robert Kennedy met the Soviet ambassador and agreed informally that US missiles would be removed in time from Turkey and Italy

10. The Soviet Union and the United States accept the peace agreement between the two countries.

11. Both sides realize how close to nuclear war they actually came to.