Who was more responsible for increasing Cold War tension between 1945 and 1949, the USA or the USSR?

This lesson challenges students to prepare a court case against both countries. The case against the USA will be made by one half of the class. That against the USSR will be made by the other half containing the more able students. Within their teams they have to subdivide the task with each student taking responsibility for one piece of evidence. Four of the most able students act as advocates, 2 for the USA and 2 against. They have to work hard to decide how they will deploy the evidence before them provided by their research team. When it comes to the trial, all students apart from the advocates, are asked to give their evidence against one country. The lesson finishes with a short piece of cartoon to bring the ideas together.

Learning objectives

  • students can put forward a case against both the USA and the USSR
  • they can establish the relative importance of the evidence used against each country
  • more able students can tightly summarise the different sources of evidence showing ability to defend as well as prosecute

Starter

Set the scene. It is late 1949. Europe has just seen one of the tensest moments of the Cold War.

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