AP US Plans

April 9-13-2018

See Information below about your next unit test (take home MC-SA)


  • Examine the origins of the Cold War Period (1945 – 1991) (WOR-6,7) (POL-6)
  • Discuss the Cold War during the Truman Administration 1945 - 1952(POL-6)


PPT and video (w/questions)Lecture and Discussion L.CCR.2-3

Docs set 1940s sourcesClose Text Reading W.CCR.1-2

Student Skill Types

Chronological Reasoning (1, 2, 3)

Comp/Context (5)

Historical Evidence (6,7)


  • Throughout the year we have seen many terms that are misnomers. The Era of Good Feelings, the Gilded Age etc….). One final term that seems to defy true definition is the Cold War. We are about to enter a period of history that is very long and often times confusing. The term implies that the major powers never fought i.e. a “hot war.” And while the Soviets and the U.S. never truly fought, they did arm others. However, the U.S. did, during the Korean War fight Communist China.
  • There is a great tragedy about the Cold War because tensions developed between the Democratic West and the Communist East really before the Second World War ended. Winston Churchill said, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill expressed his belief that world peace was nearer the grasp of statesmen than at any time in history. "It would be a great tragedy," he said, "if they, through inertia or carelessness, let it slip from their grasp. History would never forgive them if it did."
  • Peace did slip through their grasp. World War II was followed by a Cold War that pitted the United States and its Allies against the Soviet Union and its supporters. It was called a Cold War, but it would flare into violence in Korea and Vietnam and in many smaller conflicts. The period from 1946 to 1991 was punctuated by a series of East-West confrontations over Germany, Poland, Greece, Czechoslovakia, China, Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and many other hot spots

The Yalta and Potsdam Conferences

  • The first blush of tensions occurred at the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences 1944 – 1945. At the Yalta Conference meetings between Stalin, FDR, and Churchill tried to organize the war effort but most importantly the post-war world. The dynamic between the three men shaped events. Churchill far more realistically did not trust Stalin and believed that he had plans to occupy Europe himself. FDR while he truly liked Churchill also did not fully trust that Britain was ready to abandon their empire and allow its people to determine their own fate. Stalin did not trust the western powers at all and sought to protect the Soviet Union from capitalist influences. To some degree all three had sound reasons for worry.
  • In 1945 following Germany’s surrender the Potsdam Meeting was held. FDR had died and Truman replaced him. Churchill while at the initial meeting was defeated in his re-election and was replaced by the new Prime Minister Clement Atlee. Only Stalin remained. Truman did not trust Stalin and tensions were palpable.
  • One source of conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union was the fate of Eastern Europe and especially Poland. The United States was committed to free and democratic elections in Eastern Europe, while the Soviet Union wanted a buffer zone of friendly countries in Eastern Europe to protect it from future attacks from the West. This zone would ultimately exist until 1988-89 against the will of the eastern European states.Even before World War II ended, the Soviet Union had annexed the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and parts of Czechoslovakia, Finland, Poland, and Romania. Albania established a Communist government in 1944, and Yugoslavia formed one in 1945. In 1946, the Soviet Union organized Communist governments in Bulgaria and Romania, and in Hungary and Poland in 1947. Communists took over Czechoslovakia in a coup d'etat in 1948.
  • Another source of East-West tension was control of nuclear weapons. In 1946, the Soviet Union rejected a U.S. proposal for an international agency to control nuclear energy production and research. The Soviets were convinced that the United States was trying to preserve its monopoly on nuclear weapons.
  • A third source of conflict was post-war economic development assistance. The United States refused a Soviet request for massive reconstruction loans. In response, the Soviets called for substantial reparations from Germany. The U.S. was against this and of course saw this as one cause of WWI.

The Truman Doctrine

  • So, by 1946 with WWII not even a year old the first shot in the ideological war had begun. Winston Churchill had been invited to give the commencement address at Westminster College in Missouri, the home state of President Truman. In the speechWinston Churchill announced that "an iron curtain has descended across" Europe. On one side was the Communist bloc; on the other side were non-Communist nations. This was like a call to arms for the young graduates in the crowd. Sadly most of these young people would live their whole lives with specter of World War III.
  • Another cornerstone of action was a telegram from George Kennan. He wrote a 8,000-word telegram from George Kennan, an Embassy official. This has become known as 'the Long Telegram', and it said exactly what the American government wanted it to.
  • Kennan hated Communism and the Soviet government. However, he had lived in Moscow since 1933 and knew what he was talking about. His telegram was re-written as a paper entitled: The Sources of Soviet Conduct and read by many Americans. It formed the basis of American policy towards Russia for the next quarter of a century. As an expert on Russian History his views were taken very seriously. To President Truman and many in the State Department believed that Stalin had merely replaced Hitler as a threat to world peace. With this in mind the U.S. made an important policy shift. Isolationism was now dead forever.
  • By February 1947, Britain informed the United States that it could no longer afford to provide aid to Greece and Turkey. The situation seemed urgent. The Greek monarchy was threatened by Communist guerrilla warfare, and the Soviet Union was seeking to control the Dardanelles in Turkey, a water route to the Mediterranean. The U.S. government feared that the loss of Greece and Turkey to communism would open Western Europe and Africa to Soviet influence. The U.S government also worried that if the Soviet Union gained control over the Eastern Mediterranean, it could stop the flow of Middle Eastern oil. This was the first time in a long history of U.S. fears over oil.
  • President Truman responded decisively. He asked Congress for $400 million in economic and military aid for Greece and Turkey. This was an unprecedented amount of foreign aid during peacetime. He also declared that it was the policy of the United States "to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."
  • Truman's overarching message described two ways of life that were engaged in a life-or-death struggle, one free and the other totalitarian. The United States would help free people to maintain their free institutions and their territorial integrity against movements that sought to impose totalitarian regimes.
  • The Truman Doctrine committed the United States to providing aid to countries resisting communist aggression or subversion and provided the first step toward what would become known as the Containment Policy This idea was supported by Dean Acheson who became Truman’s Secretary of State in his second term. It was based upon a fairly valid assumption: Communism was like a virus that infected states especially those that were poor. The Containment Policy would adopt two approaches. One approach was military; the other was economic. In 1947, U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall who had been the head of the military during WWII proposed a program to funnel American economic aid to Europe. Faced with a rapid growth in the size of Communist parties, especially in France and Italy, the U.S. proposed a program of direct economic aid

The Marshall Plan

  • Marshall a meeting in Paris to discuss the proposal with world leaders. He called on Europeans to collectively agree on what kind of assistance they needed. Even the Soviet Union was invited to participate in the planning.
  • The Soviet delegation abruptly quit the summit in Paris to discuss the Marshall offer. When two Soviet satellites--Czechoslovakia and Poland--indicated that they wanted to take part in the Marshall Plan, the Soviet Union said no. The Soviet refusal to participate made it easier to secure congressional passage for the plan. When the Czechoslovakian government was overthrown in a Communist coup, congressional passage was assured.
  • It is doubtful that the U.S. could now perform such a huge task. The Marshall Plan committed more than 10 percent of the federal budget and almost 3 percent of the United States' gross national product to rebuilding Western Europe. Over the next 40 months, Congress authorized $12.5 billion in aid to restore Western Europe's economic health and to halt the spread of communism. Marshall's plan actually cost the United States very little, since it was largely paid for by European purchases of American coal, agricultural crops, and machinery

The First Chance for World War III: Berlin 1949

  • The Soviet Union was now set to challenge the will of the Allied powers. At the end of the war Berlin was divided into zones of control as agreed upon at Yalta. There was supposed to be free movement between all sectors. In 1947, the United States, British, French, and Soviet officials met in Moscow to discuss the future of Germany. The participants were unable to agree about whether to end the occupation of Germany or to reunify the country. The conference's failure led the Western Allies to unify their German occupation zones in June 1948 and to establish West Germany.

Berlin Blockade

  • Outraged by Western plans to create an independent West Germany, Soviet forces imposed a blockade cutting off rail, highway, and water traffic between West Germany and West Berlin. A day later, an airlift began called Operation Vittles. Transport planes began flying in food and supplies for West Berlin's two million residents. By September, the airlift was carrying 4,500 tons of supplies a day. Over the next 11 months, 277,000 flights brought in 2.5 million tons of supplies until the Soviet Union lifted the blockade.
  • Why would the Soviets not shoot down the planes? First, they were unarmed and second, Truman very publicly deployed nuclear capable B-29 bombers to Britain, easy flying range to Moscow or Leningrad.


  • In April 1949, a month before the Soviet Union lifted the Berlin Blockade, the United States, Canada, Iceland and nine European nations formed NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Member states pledged mutual assistance against an armed attack and cooperation in military training and strategic planning.
  • The U.S. stationed troops in Western Europe, assuring its Allies that it would use its nuclear deterrent to protect Western Europeans against a Soviet attack. The admission of West Germany into NATO in 1955 led the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites to form a competing military alliance called the Warsaw Pact. To a degree the world was now bipolar as it had been just before WWI. It would largely stay this way until the 1970s when Nixon and Kissinger went to China and developed closer relations.

The Arms Race

  • In September 1949, President Truman announced that the Soviet Union had successfully detonated an atomic bomb. Four months later, President Truman advised the Atomic Energy Commission to proceed with the development of a hydrogen bomb.
  • U.S. government officials had predicted that it would take the Soviet Union as long as a decade to develop an atomic bomb. The speed with which the Soviets produced a bomb led to charges that development of the device was a product of Soviet espionage. The United States set off its first hydrogen bomb in 1953, and the Soviet Union tested its first bomb in 1955.


You will be completing the Unit Test for WWII and the 1940s Cold War at home. This is a MC and SA format test with no essay. It will be due upon completing on Friday and I will be taking NO emailed versions. You need to make arrangements to print on your own or you can simply hand write it. Below you will find a few extra questions that could appear on the test related to the Truman years.

Cold War Liberalism (found starting on page 818 in your text)

1. Though President Truman was an ardent New Dealer, what factors limited his ability to completely fulfill FDR's legacy?

2. Essentially what was "Cold War liberalism?

3. What was the background leading to the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947? Why was it seen as a defeat for organized labor?

4. What factors led to a major split in the Democratic Party leading into the 1948 election and, who were the Dixicrats? See the election map on page 820. What states were won by the Dixicrats and what old party made a brief return

5. What factors saved the Election for Truman in 1948 but also illustrated problems for the future of the Democratic Party?

6. What were some of the basic ideas behind Truman's Fair Deal?


  • Examine the causes and effects of the Korean War (WOR-6,7) (POL-6)


PPTAssessment-Lecture L.CCR.2-3

Student Skill Types

Chronological Reasoning (1, 2, 3)

Comp/Context (5)

Historical Evidence (6,7)


  • While Truman successfully won the showdown against Stalinism in Europe, the Far East was a whole other matter. The Communist Revolution in China that had subsided during the Japanese occupation now restarted. In October 1949, Chinese Communists under Mao-Tse-tung proclaimed the birth of the People's Republic of China. Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Nationalists were forced to flee to Formosa (now Taiwan). The "fall" of China shocked many Americans and would contribute to the myth that American government officials were somehow responsible for the country's loss to the Communists. The Republicans began to say that Truman and Acheson had “lost China.”

The Korean War 1950 – 1953

  • Only 5 years after WWII President Truman would be forced to commit U.S. forces once again. On June 25, 1950, Communist North Korean forces invaded South Korea, beginning a three-year war. Three days later, the South Korean capital of Seoul fell to the North Koreans. President Truman immediately ordered U.S. air and sea forces to "give the Korean government troops cover and support." The conflict lasted until July 27, 1953. The United States suffered 54,246 battle deaths and 103,284 wounded.

The Background Causes and the War

Tensions had festered since the Korean peninsula had been divided into a Communist North and a non-Communist South in 1945. With the partition, 10 million Koreans were separated from their families.

  • For three months, the United States was unable to stop the communist advance. Then, Douglas MacArthur successfully landed two divisions ashore at Inchon, behind enemy lines. The North Koreans fled in disarray across the 38th parallel, the pre-war border between North and South Korea.
  • The initial mandate that the United States had received from the United Nations called for the restoration of the original border at the 38th parallel. But the South Korean army had no intention of stopping at the pre-war border, and on Sept. 30, 1950, they crossed into the North. The United States pushed an updated mandate through the United Nations, and on Oct. 7, the Eighth Army crossed the border.
  • By November, U.S. Army and Marine units thought they could end the war in just five more months. China's communist leaders threatened to send combat forces into Korea, but the U.S. commander, Douglas MacArthur, thought they were bluffing. In mid-October, the first of 300,000 Chinese soldiers slipped into North Korea. When U.S. forces began what they expected to be their final assault in late November, they ran into the Chinese army. There was a danger that the U.S. Army might be overrun. The Chinese intervention ended any hope of reunifying Korea by force of arms.
  • General MacArthur called for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff to unleash American air and naval power against China. But the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Omar Bradley, said a clash with China would be "the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy."
  • By mid-January 1951, Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway succeeded in halting an American retreat 50 miles south of the 38th parallel. A week and a half later, he had the army attacking northward again. By March, the front settled along the 38th parallel and the South Korean capital of Seoul was back in South Korean hands. American officials informed MacArthur that peace negotiations would be sought.
  • In April, President Truman relieved MacArthur of his command after the general, in defiance of Truman's orders, commanded the bombing of Chinese military bases in Manchuria. The president feared that such actions would bring the Soviet Union into the conflict.
  • The Korean War was filled with lessons for the future. First, it demonstrated that the United States was committed to the containment of communism, not only in Western Europe, but throughout the world. Prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, the Truman administration had indicated that Korea stood outside America's sphere of vital national interests. Now, it was unclear whether any nation was outside this sphere.
  • Second, the Korean War proved how difficult it was to achieve victory even under the best circumstances imaginable. In Korea, the United States faced a relatively weak adversary and had strong support from its allies. The United States possessed an almost total monopoly of sophisticated weaponry, and yet, the war dragged on for almost four years.
  • Third, the Korean War illustrated the difficulty of fighting a limited war. Limited wars are, by definition, fought for limited objectives. They are often unpopular at home because it is difficult to explain precisely what the country is fighting for. The military often complains that it is fighting with one armed tied behind its back. But if one tries to escalate a limited war, a major power, like China, might intervene.
  • Finally, in Korea U.S. policymakers assumed that they could make the South Korean government do what they wanted. In reality, the situation was often reversed. The South Korean government played a pivotal role in defining military strategy and shaping the peace negotiations. In the end, the United States was only able to extricate itself from the war by making a long-term commitment to the South Korean government in terms of money, men, and materiel