Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Recognize Israel? You Decide
Robert Brosseau
U.S. History
Time Frame:
1-2 class days
Recognition Of Israel
Analyzing Primary Sources

Grade Levels:

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • Students will analyze two primary source documents, then use the collection to make & defend their own decision.

  • to give students practice using primary sources
  • to expose students to the challenges of government (and executive) decision-making
  • to teach students some of the historical context of the time

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

  • Common Core:  CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH 11-12.2 , 7 , 8, 9, and 10.
  • Common Core:  CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL 11-12.1 and 2. 

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff memo 21 June 1946 favoring stability (http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/israel/large/documents/index.php?documentdate=1946-06-21&documentid=2-14&collectionid=ROI&pagenumber=1)


  • May 12 meeting notes of Clark Clifford

1 – Clifford interview, items 96-98 (http://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/cliford2.htm#95)

2 – Clifford long-hand notes (http://www.trumanlibrary.org/israel/7b.htm

Technology Required:

computer and internet access

Full description of activity or assignment.
  • I hand out hard copies of the two documents in question (JCS memo and Clifford notes) to allow students to take notes and read “offline” if they prefer. 

-       Options here include handing out overnight to allow more time to read, and/or to use groups.

-       Option here to have students defend their choice to the class.  

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
  • Possibly a simple completion grade:  all four parts necessary for an A, 3 for a C, 2 or less is failing. 
  • Four parts to the assignment: two document analysis sheets, decision on recognition, document justification. 

-       Break down the assessment into four parts.  The decision on recognition and document justification are worth 30 % each (or, say, 30 points each).  That is passing.  That leaves the two document analysis sheets to be slightly less (20% or 20 points each) and you can feel free to be harsher on the proper/successful completion thereof.