People, places & events

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1. The U.S. in a Nuclear Age

2. US GIs & the post-war challenges

3. The “Munich analogy” & the USSR

4. The onset of the Cold War

5. America’s cold war strategy in the Truman administration

6. The Truman administration & containment

7. The Truman Doctrine

8. The Marshall Plan

9. Soviet post-war actions in Berlin, Hungary and Czechoslovakia

10. The US-USSR squabble over nuclear disarmament

11. Lack of U.S. troops & nuclear deterrence

12. The postwar economic boom

13. Minority workers & “last hired, first fired” rules

14. Truman’s efforts to revive the New Deal

15. The Taft Hartley Act of 1947

16. The Fair Deal & desegregation of the armed forces

17. The “Second Red Scare”

18. Integration of major league baseball

19. Alger Hiss

20. The “Shocks of 1949”

21. McCarthyism: the myth of the betrayal of the spirit of Americanism in high places

22. Senator Joseph McCarthy’s crusade against domestic communists

23. NSC 68 & the military –industrial complex

24. The American “police action” in Korea

25. Results of the Korean War

26. General MacArthur in Korea

27. The end of the Korean War

28. The 1952 election slogan “K1C2”

29. President Eisenhower’s plans


  1. America’s basic cold war strategy, known as [ ], emerged when the Truman administration adopted the recommendations of U.S. diplomat and Soviet specialist George Kennan.

  2. The program to rebuild Europe economically was known as the [ ].

  3. The U.S. decision to join in a historic peacetime collective security alliance was prompted by a Soviet move to blockade western access to [ ].

  4. In reaction to the Soviet blockade, the Western powers initiated a massive [ ] to supply the besieged people.

  5. Truman adviser Bernard Baruch proposed a plan for international control of [ ] that the Soviets rejected.

  6. The three major growth industries in the decades after World War II were health care, education, and [ ].

  7. Access to [ ] was a major benefit for veterans under the GI Bill of Rights.

  8. [ ] was the surprise winner in the four way presidential campaign of 1948.

  9. One of two unsettling events in 1949, the “Year of Shocks,” was [ ].

  10. The secret document that recommended a sharp rise in military spending, thus establishing the framework for U.S. cold war policy, was [ ].

  11. The general label given to a series of investigations reflecting fear of communist subversion of American institutions, [ ], bears the name of one of the leading scare mongers.

  12. The McCarran Act of 1950 required [ ] to register with the government.

  13. Officially the United States fought in Korea under the auspices of [ ].

  14. What changed America’s near victory in Korea into a retreat, then a stalemate, was the entry of forces of the nation of [ ].

  15. Republicans campaigned in the presidential election of 1952 under a slogan charging the Democrats with failing with Korea, communism, and [ ].


Students should be able to describe the following key terms, concepts, individuals, and places, and explain their significance:

Terms and Concepts

cold war


segregation by gender


Truman Doctrine


Munich analogy


“Long Telegram”

Marshall Plan


Federal Employee Loyalty Program

Atomic Energy Commission




GI Bill of Rights

Fair Deal


police action

Checkers Speech

Individuals and Places

Robert Taft

Winston Churchill

George Kennan

Berlin Blockade

Leslie Groves

Bernard Baruch

George Marshall

Alger Hiss

Syngman Rhee

Henry Wallace





Students have been given the following map exercise: On the map on the following page, label or shade in the following places. In a sentence, note their significance to the chapter.

  1. Berlin

  2. Czechoslovakia

  3. Hungary

  4. Turkey

  5. Iran

Critical Thinking


  1. Berlin is the capital of West Germany; locate it on the map of cold war Europe (page 919). Where is it? Why is it not in West Germany?

  2. Looking at the cold war map on page 919, identify the countries that had fallen under Communist control since the outbreak of World War II. Based on the narrative in the text, identify those countries in which crises led to the Cold War and the development of a policy of containment.

  3. Looking at the Korean War map on page 934, locate MacArthur’s landing at Inchon, then his drive into North Korea. Why did the decision to cross the 38th parallel prove so fateful?


  1. “Politics are more image than substance.” Apply that comment to the photograph of McCarthy, Cohn, and Schine (page 932). Apply it to the authors’ selection of that photo for inclusion in the text.


Students have been asked to read carefully the following excerpt from the text and then answer the questions that follow.

It was less clear, however, whether anticommunism could be contained. Eisenhower prided himself on being a “modern” Republican, distinguishing himself from what he called the more “hidebound” members of the GOP. Their continuing anticommunist campaigns were causing him increasing embarrassment. Senator McCarthy’s reckless antics, at first directed at Democrats, began to hit Republican targets as well. In 1953 the Wisconsin senator tried to defeat the appointment of Soviet expert Charles Bohlen as ambassador to Moscow. Only the parliamentary skill of Senator Robert Taft saved the appointment and grave embarrassment to the administration.

By the summer of 1953 the Senator was on a rampage. He dispatched two young staff members, Roy Cohn and David Schine, to investigate the State Department’s overseas information agency and the Voice of America radio stations. Behaving more like college pranksters, the two conducted a whirlwind 18 day witch hunt through Western Europe. To the chagrin of the administration, they insisted on purging government library shelves of “subversive” books, including those by John Dewey and Foster Rhea Dulles, a conservative historian and cousin of Eisenhower’s Secretary of State. Some librarians, fearing for their careers, burned a number of books. That drove President Eisenhower to denounce “book burners,” though soon after he reassured McCarthy’s supporters that he did not advocate free speech for communists....

In such a climate—where Democrats remained silent for fear of being called elitists and Eisenhower refused to “get in the gutter with that guy”—McCarthy eventually lost all sense of proportion. When the army denied his staff aid David Schine a commission, McCarthy decided to investigate communism in the army. The new American Broadcasting Company network, eager to fill its afternoon program slots, televised the hearings. The public had an opportunity to see McCarthy badger witnesses and make a mockery of Senate procedures. When Joseph L. Welch, the outraged lawyer for the army, asked, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” he laid bare the Senator’s weak spot. The Senate gallery and the wide television audience had seen for themselves the Senator’s abusive behavior. As McCarthy’s popularity dwindled and the 1954 elections safely passed, the Senate finally moved to censure him. He died three years later, destroyed by alcohol and the habit of throwing so many reckless punches.

PRIMARY SOURCE: A Blueprint for National Security*

The National Security Council’s position paper NSC 68 served both as a summary of major American cold war assumptions and as a blueprint for its foreign policy over the next two decades. Although the document accurately reflected the views of Secretary of State Dean Acheson, it provoked a dissent from the State Department’s two leading experts on the Soviet Union and containment, George Kennan and Charles Bohlen. Kennan questioned the assumptions about Soviet expansionist designs and the proposal to militarize containment.

Two complex sets of factors have now basically altered [the older] distribution of power. First, the defeat of Germany and Japan and the decline of the British and French Empires have interacted with the development of the United States and the Soviet Union in such a way that power has increasingly gravitated to these two centers. Second, the Soviet Union, unlike previous aspirants to hegemony, is animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our world. Conflict has, therefore, become endemic and is waged, on the part of the Soviet Union, by violent or non violent methods in accordance with the dictates of expediency. With the development of increasingly terrifying weapons of mass destruction, every individual faces the ever present possibility of annihilation, should the conflict enter the phase of total war.

On the one hand, the people of the world yearn for relief from the anxiety arising from the risk of atomic war. On the other hand, any substantial further extension of the area under the domination of the Kremlin would raise the possibility that no coalition adequate to confront the Kremlin with greater strength could be assembled. It is in this context that this Republic and its citizens in the ascendancy of their strength stand in their deepest peril.

The issues that face us are momentous, involving the fulfillment or destruction not only of this Republic but of civilization itself. They are issues which will not await our deliberations. With conscience and resolution this Government and the people it represents must now take new and fateful decisions

The fundamental design of those who control the Soviet Union and the international communist movement is to retain and solidify their absolute power, first in the Soviet Union and second in the areas now under their control. In the minds of the Soviet leaders, however, achievement of this design requires the dynamic extension of their authority and the ultimate elimination of any opposition to their authority.

The design, therefore, calls for the complete subversion or forcible destruction of the machinery of government and structure of society in the countries of the non communist world and their replacement by an apparatus and structure subservient to and controlled from the Kremlin. To that end Soviet efforts are now directed towards the domination of the Eurasian land mass. The United States, as the principal center of power in the non Soviet world and the bulwark of opposition to Soviet expansion, is the principal enemy whose integrity and vitality must be subverted or destroyed by one means or another if the Kremlin is to achieve its fundamental design.

*From NSC 68: A Report to the National Security Council from the Executive Secretary on United States Objectives and Programs for National Security, April 14, 1950.

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