Week 7 :: The Cold War, Chapter 7: The Triumph of Hope and Epilogue 

Thought Questions

  • Compare and contrast the process and results of the French Revolution and the Russian February / October Revolution. 
  • How do governments that base their legitimacy on inherited right or ideological foundations differ from governments that base their legitimacy on a constitutional framework? 
  • In what ways does a government based on a constitutional framework create stability and how do governments based on inherited rights or ideological foundations create instability? 
  • What are the results of the above mentioned stability / instability for people and societies that are effected by those systems? 
  • How did the Cold War come to a “conclusion” and what lessons does the author draw from it about “what did it all mean”? 
  • What does the author mean when he says war became an “anachronism”? 

Thought / Response Quotes

  • “The French Revolution was a Utopian attempt to overthrow a traditional order—one with many imperfections, certainly—in the name of abstract ideas, formulated by vain intellectuals, which lapsed, not by chance but through weakness and wickedness, into purges, mass murder and war. In so many ways it anticipated the still more terrible Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.”
  • “One of the questions the Gorbachev Foundation wrestled with, but never resolved, was: what did it all mean?”
  • “war itself—at least major wars fought between major states—had become a health hazard, and therefore an anachronism.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Week 6 :: The Cold War, Chapter 6: Actors

Thought Questions

  • How was the personality of Pope John Paul significant in the course of the Cold War?
  • What factors contributed to the collapse of Détente? 
  • How did the arms control process change during and after Détente?
  • What were the “Basic Principles” adopted by Nixon and Brezhnev?
  • How did events in the Middle East and East Africa effect the Cold War powers? 
  • What were the principle agreements of SALT I and SALT II? 
  • How did events unfold in Poland in the era of Solidarity? 
  • How did the Reagan administration’s approach to the Cold War evolve and how did this effect the Soviet Union? 
  • How did the Soviet Union’s perspective on the Cold War evolve and how did the domestic circumstances and the changing perspectives of Reagan and Gorbachev effect this? 
  • What was the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and how did the United States and the Soviet Union view it differently? 

Thought / Response Quotes 

  • “The West won’t contain communism, it will transcend communism. It won’t bother to . . . denounce it, it will dismiss it as some bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written.”
  • “From Stettin in the Baltic to Varna on the Black Sea, the regimes planted by totalitarianism have had more than 30 years to establish their legitimacy. But none—not one regime—has yet been able to risk free elections. Regimes planted by bayonets do not take root.”
  • “This event also changed Gorbachev. It revealed “the sicknesses of our system . . . the concealing or hushing up of accidents and other bad news, irresponsibility and carelessness, slipshod work, wholesale drunkenness.” For decades, he admonished the Politburo, “scientists, specialists, and ministers have been telling us that everything was safe. . . . [Y]ou think that we will look on you as gods. But now we have ended up with a fiasco.””

Primary Sources

Articles and Links

Week 5 :: The Cold War, Chapter 5: The Recovery of Equity

Thought Questions

  • What does the author mean by The Recovery of “Equity”?
  • How did the downfall of President Nixon effect the American course during the Cold War?
  • How did idealism and pragmatism factor into the Cold War from the perspective of the United States, the British-Franco empires, Russia, its eastern and southern empires and various “non-aligned” powers?
  • How did United States support for ideologically opposite regimes effect the United States?
  • How did the debate over “guns and butter” reflect the recovery of equity in the United States?
  • What was the significance of NSC-68?
  • What were the “Pentagon Papers” and how did it effect the course of the Nixon administration?
  • What was the War Powers Act and how does it represent the recovery of equity? 
  • What events occurred in Chile that represent the idealogical conflict in the United States?
  • How did Détente effect the recovery of equity in the United States? 
  • How did a cold war counter culture effect the Soviet Bloc in the same ways as the United States?

Optional Supplemental Viewing and Listening

Primary Sources

Articles

 

Week 4 :: The Cold War, Chapter 4: The Emergence of Autonomy

Thought Questions

  • What is the significance of the opening quotes from Jonathan Schell and Nikita Khrushchev?
  • How was Euro-American Colonialism related to the Cold War? 
  • How was European Colonialism different from American Colonialism and how was this difference related to the Cold War? 
  • What was the reasoning behind the “Domino Theory”? How was it supported and how was it flawed? 
  • What was the non-alignment movement and how was Yugoslavia and Egypt involved? 
  • How did small powers use soft power to influence the major powers in the Cold War? 
  • How was Mao and China/Taiwan symbolic of autonomy from the Great Powers and how did it show the limits of this world position? 
  • How did East and West Germany and France display major power autonomy from the super powers?
  • How did demographic changes in Europe effect the course of the Cold War? 
  • Describe how Nixon and Mao are examples of autonomy shifting the balance in the Cold War? 
  • What was the Brezhnev Doctrine and how did it start the beginning of the end of the Cold War?

 

Week 3 :: The Cold War, Chapter 3: Command versus Spontaneity

Thought Questions

  • Describe how the author frames the social context of the Cold War?
  • How did Khrushchev set the tone for relations during the Cold War?
  • How did the author show that economics was a central factor in the Cold War?
  • What was Wilson’s Fourteen Points and how did they effect the way the Cold War unfolded?
  • Compare the values of Wilson’s Fourteen Points with the values in competition during the Cold War? 
  • How and why did the idea of collective security fail at the end of World War I and what were the consequences? 
  • How was the end of World War I a lesson for the end of World War II? In what ways was the lesson learned and in what ways was it ignored? 
  • What was the Communist view of the reasons for the first two world wars and how to prevent a third? In what ways did they have valid and invalid points and concerns?
  • What was the Capitalist view of the reasons for the first two world wars and how to prevent a third? In what ways did they have valid and invalid points and concerns?
  • In what ways were the world views and systems behind Communism and Capitalism incomparable with each other?
  • What ideological streams and events led to the division of Europe at the end of World War II?
  • What role did Churchill play in the opening days of the Cold War? 
  • What does the conclusion that “they don’t want war” but “they want the fruits of war” mean from the democratic and authoritarian points of view? 
  • How was democracy linked to capitalism? 
  • How was authoritarianism linked to communism? 
  • How was the establishment democractic socialism in Western Europe created by the Marshall Plan and its after effects act as a compromise between capitalism and communism?
  • What was the Marshall Plan and how did it effect the opening of the Cold War?

 

Week 2 :: The Cold War, Chapter 2: Lifeboats and Deathboats

Thought Questions

  • What purpose does the author have in creating the fictional narrative at the beginning of the chapter? 
  • Describe the circumstances under which Korea was divided and the start of the Korean War
  • How did views on nuclear weapons evolve at the beginning of the Cold War?
  • How did Harry Truman set precedents for policy regarding nuclear weapons?
  • Describe the development of Soviet nuclear weapons at the start of the Cold War?
  • What does Gaddis mean when he says “they were canaries in the most dangerous mineshaft ever”? 
  • How did Truman and Eisenhower approach the issue of nuclear weapons from differently?
  • How did Kennedy and Eisenhower approach the issue of nuclear weapons from differently? 
  • What was the “BRAVO” test and why is it significant? 
  • Describe the events around the Hungarian revolt in 1956 and the Suez Crisis?
  • What did Khrushchev mean when he said “Berlin is the testicles of the West. Every time I want to make the West scream, I squeeze on Berlin.”?
  • What was the “Open Skies” proposal?
  • Describe the events around the downing of Francis Gary Powers U-2 plane 
  • What role did fear play in the opening of the Cold War? 

Articles and Primary Sources

 

Week 1 :: The Cold War, Chapter 1: The Return of Fear

Thought Questions

  • In what ways was the beginning of the Cold War a “return of fear” and how was this experienced differently in different nations and political groups? 
  • How did unintentional and intentional misunderstandings effect the beginning of the Cold War?
  • Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of the American alliance and Soviet bloc. 
  • What did the United States want at the end of World War II? What did the Soviet Union want? 
  • How did leadership changes effect the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War?
  • Describe the process of determining “Spheres of Interest” at the end of World War II
  • What was the process Germany went through from being an occupied nation to a West-East division?
  • What were the different “security dilemmas” at the beginning of the Cold War? 
  • Who is George F. Kennan and what was the “Long Telegram”? 
  • What was the Truman Doctrine and how did it effect security at the beginning of the Cold War?
  • What was the Marshall Plan and how did it effect the development of Europe after World War?
  • How did Yugoslavia break from the normal eastern European mold? 
  • What was the Berlin Blockade?
  • How did Korea come to be a divided nation and how did the Korean War begin? 

Articles and Primary Sources