Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Source Analysis: Truman & Containment
Author:
Molly Gray
Course:
20th Century World History
Subjects:
Cold War

Grade Levels:
11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

The lesson is for use in an IB 20th Century World History class, made up of High School juniors and seniors.  It is a cooperative learning assignment which uses key primary source documents from the Truman administration.

Rationale:

This topic is a key component of the IB history curriculum that addresses Topic 3: The Cold War from the Paper 2 exam that students take in May in an effort to obtain an IB certificate in History.

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


IB History Guide goals

  • Recall and select relevant historical knowledge
  • Demonstrate an understanding of historical context
  • Demonstrate an understanding of historical processes: cause and effect; continuity and change
  • Understand historical sources (SL/HL paper 1)

Missouri Standards:

3bM. Analyze all significant wars of the twentieth century, including: causes, comparisons, consequences and peace efforts

6o. Determine the causes, consequences and possible resolutions of cultural conflicts

7a. Distinguish between and analyze primary sources and secondary sources

Kansas Standards:

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.

Benchmark 5: The student engages in historical thinking skills.
(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:
  • The Cold War by John Gaddis
  • The Cold War (IB publication)
  • CNN Cold War Series (video documentary)

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
Full description of activity or assignment.
  • After studying the origins of the Cold War, students will participate in a document analysis of key documents shaping the Truman administration’s policy regarding early events in the Cold War, with specific reference to the Truman Doctrine & the Marshall Plan.
  • Students will be broken into five groups and each given a primary source relating to the topic.  The members of each group will read and evaluate their specific documents using the IB document analysis structure, assessing Origin, Purpose, Value & Limitation. 
  • After completing their particular document, each group will then present their findings to the class, who will then complete forms for each document for their own personal use (Students are expected to read the other documents not assigned to them for the unit assessment).
  • Students are expected to question and challenge each group so that they get a better understanding of each document. 

 

Cold War Document Analysis

Truman Doctrine & Containment

 

After reading your assigned document within your group, please assess the document as if you were historians studying the effects of containment theory in the early years of the Cold War Period.  Pay particular attention to the role that aid played in the effort to combat communism in this period.

 

Document Title:_______________________________________________

 

Origin: (Address the author, government/country of origin, date, background on author)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purpose: (Who is the intended audience?  What is the purpose of the document-why was it written?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Value:  (How is this valuable in understanding the effects of containment theory in the early years of the Cold War Period, with regards to the role that aid played in the effort to combat communism in this period.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limitation:  (How is this limiting in understanding the effects of containment theory in the early years of the Cold War

Period, with regards to the role that aid played in the effort to combat communism in this period.)

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
  • Students will be assessed on their group evaluation of their document as well as their individual involvement in each group’s presentation.
  • A formal assessment will be given at the conclusion of the Unit in the way of a two essay exam worth 100 points covering the origins of the Cold War and the importance of the five documents in US policy decisions.  Students will be expected to make reference to the documents and historical events surrounding them.