Timeline: Post WWII-Korean War
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 9-12
Difficulty Level 1 (Introducing / Reinforcing)
Type of Assignment Individual or Partner
Have students use a timeline to outline and define events immediately following the end World War II. Students will be able to explain and analyze what events led to the beginning of the Cold War, and how initial hostilities between the Soviet Union and U.S. developed.
Teachers may pre-select events, conferences, or actions for students to use; recommended timeline ideas include:
- The Yalta Conference
- The Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- The Potsdam Conference
- The Truman Doctrine
- The Berlin Airlift
- The Warsaw Pact
This will allow students to see initial attempts at Soviet and American negotiations, as well as how the Cold War begins to heat up.
Timeline: Major Events of the Initial Cold War
Yalta ConferenceOn the cusp of World War II coming to an end, the "Big Three", Joseph Stalin, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, met in Yalta to discuss post-war Europe. All agreed on peace, yet were divided on what to do with countries like Poland. It was also decided to split Germany up between the three countries.
Bombing of Hiroshima and NagasakiIn a show of military power, and what some would argue as a necessary measure, the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945. This effectively drew Japan's surrender and the end to WWII. However, the Cold War was already in the works between the U.S. and U.S.S.R.
Potsdam ConferenceIn another meeting between the "Big Three", with newly appointed U.S. president Harry Truman, further negotiations took place. Again, conflict arose over controlled areas between the Allies and Soviet Union. Truman, although inexperienced in foreign affairs, remained strong on his anti-communist influence position.
Truman Doctrine IssuedIn a 1947 address to Congress, President Truman released his Truman Doctrine, or foreign policy in regards to Soviet imperialism. In it, Truman pledged aid, financially and militarily, to any country of free people opposed to communist influence. Initially, the doctrine was aimed at supporting free elections in Greece and Turkey.
Berlin AirliftAs tensions continued to rise, East Berlin, controlled by the Soviet Union, was soon cut off from supply lines as a response to a merger of British, American, and French control over West Berlin. In response, Allied forces conducted air drops of food, coal, medicine, and other necessary supplies to aid the peoples of East Berlin.
NATO FormedWith the Berlin Crisis, among others, revolving around the growing divide between the Soviet Union and free states, Allied powers soon formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO alliance. In essence, this alliance of free states declared an attack against one, was an attack against all.
Korean War BeginsWith the end of the Chinese Civil War, and a victorious communist party, the U.S. and U.N. aimed to protect their control in Korea, once controlled by Japan. After Japan's defeat, the country became divided as communist North Korea and democratic South Korea. The war would be the first of the "hot" wars throughout the Cold War.
Have students further analyze how both superpowers became even further alienated from each other by exploring who was involved in the alliance organizations: NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Students should identify how both groups geographically separate communist controlled satellite nations from democratically influenced nations of western Europe.