The Cold War Era: An Oral History

Oral history is uniquely valuable because it gives students a “you are there” experience and gives life to the words in their history textbook. In this assignment, students will interview a person who lived during the Cold War. From the responses and from studentsʼ knowledge of that time period, each student will write a paper that includes a summary of the intervieweeʼs experience and background information, placing their subject’s experiences within the broader context of the Cold War era. In addition, students will use their oral history subjectsʼ words, summaries of key events, and images from the Cold War era to create a poster. The class as a whole will view each poster and students will do a peer evaluation of one other studentʼs poster.

Subjects: Social Studies, US History

Prior Knowledge: Students should know how to use the Internet to locate reliable search engines, websites, and databases to research information on the Cold War. Students should be able to work both independently and in small groups to accomplish individual roles and contribute to group tasks. Students must know how to use a voice-recording device, such as a micro-cassette or a digital recorder.

Key Concepts and Terms: Afghanistan, Berlin Crisis, Berlin Wall, Cold War, Communism, Communist China, Cuba, Cuban Missile Crisis, Domino Effect, Fallout Shelter , Guatemala, Hollywood Ten, House Un-American Activities Committee, Iron Curtain, Korea, McCarthy Era, Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), Nicaragua, Nuclear Disarmament, Nuclear Missiles, Nuclear Proliferation Treaties, Second Red Scare, Soviet Union, Sputnik, Vietnam, Yalta Conference

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