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The Cold War and Propaganda

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Daniel Horowitz
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The Cold War and Propaganda

The Cold War and Propaganda

Rationale: This unit fits into a study of the Cold War and the “Atom Age”, in particular US/China relations during the Korean War and 1950s. The unit can be used in a World History or US History course (or Asian Studies if we ever offer it). Students will have been studying the general principles of the opposing ideologies that shaped the Cold War and will look at images from popular media to see how popular media supported both rationales.

CA World History Standards 10.9.3 Understand the importance of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, which established the pattern for America’s postwar policy of supplying economic and military aid to prevent the spread of Communism and the resulting economic and political competition in arenas such as Southeast Asia (i.e. Korean War)

CA US History Standards 11.9.3 Trace the origins and geopolitical consequences (foreign and domestic) of the Cold War and containment policy, including the following: Korean War

Analyzing Cold War Propaganda from the Korean War

Lesson objectives: Students will analyze imagery from both America and China to see how the imagery supports the opposing narratives of the Truman Doctrine and   the Communist Revolution in China. Students will explain how the imagery supports (or negates) the narrative, and discuss how the imagery creates a singular vision of “us” and “them”.  The final product will be a 750-1000 word essay describing how the imagery supports each sides narrative.

Text: HMH World History 2019  Module: Cold War Conflicts Lessons 2 and 3 “Communists Take Power in China” and Wars in Korea and Vietnam”.

Text: HMH American History 2019  Module: The Cold War  Lesson 2: “Cold War Heats Up”

Students will be familiar with the parameters of the cold war conflicts from readings in the class texts.

Posters and popular culture materials for observation:

Chinese posters from the Korean War:  https://chineseposters.net/gallery/theme-03.php

Posters and stamps  from North and South Korea c1950: https://www.nknews.org/2015/06/the-story-of-the-korean-war-in-posters-2/

Anti-communist propaganda: http://www.openculture.com/2014/11/the-red-menace-a-striking-gallery-of-anti-communist-propaganda.html

This lesson can be used in an independent study format and can be adapted for the classroom  where students can interpret and discuss in groups. The final product is a writing assignment.

Day One: Students will analyze the imagery from three different archival websites (above). In a classroom setting students can work in groups discussing the imagery and how to interpret it. Each group will document multiple interpretations for each image. Independently students will use an expanding bubble “thought” map to group some general characteristics seen in presenting a point of view.

Day Two:  Students in the classroom can use the beginning of classroom time to finish poster analysis. Students can work on their thought maps to outline an essay in which students explain how the imagery supports (or negates) opposing narratives. Essays can be begun in class and finished at home.

Day Three: Students groups present their findings to the class. After each presentation there will be time for questions and answers and alternative explanations. The final product from each student to be turned  in will be a comparative analysis essay and length should be 750-100 words.

Historical thinking chart to guide students: https://achieve.lausd.net/site/Default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=172&PageID=7314&ViewID=dedccd34-7c24-4af2-812a-33c0075398bc&FlexDataID=18039

General Scoring Guide for Writing: http://www.lausd.k12.ca.us/orgs/Project_Inspire/score/picture1.gif

Further exploration: Soviet Posters and propaganda, Great Leap Forward Posters, imagery from the Vietnam War era