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Truman Presidency Lesson Plans


In one of the most pivotal moments in history, Vice President Harry S. Truman was sworn in as president following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. President Truman faced a daunting legacy, following in the footsteps of one of America’s most beloved leaders. He worked to preserve the democratic ideals of the United States and prevent the spread of communist influences. Students will study the events and policies during Truman's presidency that contributed to the complex relationship with the Soviet Union.

Student Activities for The Truman Presidency Include:




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The Truman Presidency

Through strong leadership and technology, Truman and the United States ended World War II. The war was over and the impending peace brought hope along with it. But instead of peace, the United States had begun to prepare for what would be a struggle between the two remaining superpowers of the world: themselves and the Soviet Union.

While one country celebrated and promoted ideas of democracy, capitalism, and individual liberties, the other sought to expand and spread ideas of socialism, true equality, and the final stage of socialism itself, communism. Both the United States and Soviet Union contradicted each other on nearly every reputable quality that defined both socio-economic institutions. More so, both nations had decided to preserve and spread their institution in the post World War II world… at any cost.

Enter Harry S. Truman, whose foreign policy and actions would come to define the immediate post WWII world, as well as America’s policy and stance against communism. Truman navigated the turbulent seas that defined the early Cold War, and set in motion what would become a history-altering relationship up until, and after, the Soviet Union’s eventual collapse in 1991.


Discussion Questions for The Truman Presidency

  1. What are the principles of communism? A Democratic-Republic? What conflict existed between these two ideologies?
  2. What major conflict lay between the United States and Soviet Union?
  3. How did President Truman attempt to contain communist influence? How did this influence his actions in terms of his foreign policy?
  4. How did the Truman Doctrine complement the policy of containment?
  5. How did Truman’s actions as president define the early years of the Cold War?

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