Understanding and Teaching the Cold War

UTCW cover

“A superb collection of authoritative, imaginative, and even provocative essays on teaching the history of the Cold War, effectively merging historiography, methodology, and innovative use of primary documents.”

—Jeremi Suri, author of Henry Kissinger and the American Century

“Inspired. Brings together historians and master teachers who offer transformative approaches to teaching the complexities of global Cold War history. The focus on a range of textual and visual primary sources from a variety of geographic spaces that work in the classroom is invaluable.”
—Mark Philip Bradley, author of Imagining Vietnam and America

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Proven, innovative, classroom-tested content, methods, and resources

For nearly a half century, from 1945 to 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union maneuvered to achieve global hegemony. Each forged political alliances, doled out foreign aid, mounted cultural campaigns, and launched covert operations. The Cold War also deeply affected the domestic politics, cultures, and economic policies of the two superpowers, their client states, and other nations throughout the world.

Teaching the Cold War is both necessary and challenging. Understanding and Teaching the Cold War is designed to help collegiate and high school teachers navigate the complexity of the topic, integrate up-to-date research and concepts into their classes, and use strategies and tools that make this important history meaningful to students.

The volume opens with Matthew Masur’s overview of models for approaching the subject, whether in survey courses or seminars. Two prominent historians, Carole Fink and Warren Cohen, offer accounts of their experience as long-time scholars and teachers of the Cold War from European and Asian perspectives. Sixteen essays dig into themes including the origins and end of the conflict, nuclear weapons, diplomacy, propaganda, fear, popular culture, and civil rights, as well as the Cold War in Eastern Europe, Western Europe, East Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the nonaligned nations. A final section provides practical advice for using relevant, accessible primary sources to implement the teaching ideas suggested in this book.