Friday! January 15

While the Cold War ‘lasted from’ the end of WWII thru the early 1990’s, there are many contemporary issues related to the conflict between the Russian Federation and the United States of America.  In June of 2017, a classified National Security Administration document was leaked showcasing the mechanical logistics of HOW the Russian government was able to interfere in the 2016 U.S. General Elections.  Later that week, former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Select Senate Intelligence Committee regarding this issue and how President Trump might have obstructed justice into the U.S. government’s inquiry into Russian interference into the election.  Apparently we’re living in the THAW of the Cold War…

To spend a bit of time highlighting the geographic realities of the breakup of the Soviet Union, it’s critical that we revisit what we know about the two competing economic alliances during the Cold War: the capitalist North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Soviet Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) (and the broader Warsaw Pact), and the IRON CURTAIN separating these two superpowers.   Here is a map of the early division of the capitalist versus communist alliances:

MAP 1:

As the Cold War raged on from the 1950’s thru the late 1980’s, the economic alliances expanded and contracted.  The early 60’s were pretty tense:

Ultimately, this tense alliance system became a bit more complex, below, by 1990:

MAP 2:

If you’re really interested in the causes of the dissolution/breakup of the Soviet Union, take AP Comparative Government and Politics with Mr. Cameron; we’re just focused on the geographic reality of what territory the USSR (now the Russian Federation, aka Russia) lost as a result of what current Russian President Vladimir Putin described as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the (20th) century.”

MAP 3:

Since the collapse of the USSR, NATO has seen an expansion of its member countries:

MAP 4:

MAP 5:

Much of the Cold War seemed to be a sort of Public Relations campaign to shape public opinion – vilifying one side while glorifying the other.  How did people in the USA and USSR perceive these topics?  How might we describe the perceptions  held by the authors of the documents in “The Early Cold War” DBQ?


Using the above maps, complete this here Breakup of the Soviet Union and the Thaw of the Cold War worksheet.  If you’re interested in how some of the struggles to reassert the dominance of the Soviet Bloc under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, take a look at some recent events involving the arrests of people your age.  Read Human Rights Watch’s, “Russia: Children, Students Targeted after Protests: Protesters, Parents Face Intimidation, Charges”.



Finally, to consider the 21st century we live in and how drastically different our world is from the world of only 100 years ago, let’s take a short read through the late Oliver Sack’s (2019) comment/op-ed in the New Yorker Magazine titled, “The Machine Stops.”

Using information from Sack’s article and the video below, evaluate the extent to which disciplines outside of the social sciences inform our understanding of history:


  • Please return your Modern World History textbook to Mr. Cameron ASAP.

With our final essay on The Early Cold War (DBQ), we’re going to hear a lot about two socioeconomic systems in hot competition with one another after WWII – communism and capitalism.  Before we jump into the DBQ, we should really spend some time differentiating between these socioeconomic systems.  Mr. Cameron began with a short lecture on The 3 Big Socioeconomic Systems, and then we set off to work on identifying which 3 systems are being described using this here: Capitalism? Socialism? Communism?.  John Green’s Crash Course gives a great overview of these competing socioeconomic systems, so take a gander tonight for homework.

Using the evidence from this video, evaluate the extent to which NFL players in the late 1980’s acted as an extension of the labor movement of the early 20th century.

Let’s start class with a group conversation on yesterday’s essential question based on the groups we formed yesterday, seen in this here Atomic Bomb Group Pairing.  Our goal is to not necessarily argue our point, but rather to hear and understand as many perspectives as possible, and explain why the author has the stance they do. Afterward, we’re getting into how decisions made decades ago can impact our current events and relationships.

Students will read this awesome article highlighting how U.S. presidents to this day deal with the aftermath of the decision made by President Harry Truman in August of 1945: “In Obama’s Visit to Hiroshima, a Complex Calculus of Asian Politics”. Respond to the following questions in this here graphic organizer: The Atomic Age after WWII!

  • What was unique about President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima?
  • What was/were the goal(s) of President Obama’s visit?
  • Draw one comparison between how a decision at the end of both World Wars have incredibly long-lasting impacts on a country on a losing side of war.
  • Assess why President Obama did not apologize for the U.S.’ use of the Atomic Bomb.
  • A Survivor’s Tale: How Hiroshima Shaped a Japanese-America Family (click to read.) How did the atomic bomb shape Kikue Takagi’s family?

Finally, watch John Oliver’s video on the incredibly precarious situation America’s nuclear arsenal is in.  Write a short paragraph reflecting on the totality of this information.  What does it mean to live in the Nuclear/Atomic Age? What BIG IDEA has all of this information left you to consider about the world we live in an age of massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons (see: NUKEMAP) and the remnants of military fallout (see: Propublica’s Bombs in Your Backyard).

It is important to consider the scientific developments leading toward our era of nuclear energy.  Consider this presentation by a nuclear physicist as he weaves the historical context of the development of a radioactive element in impacting our understanding of nuclear energy.

And just for some historiographic cultural inquiryyy, check out this internet sensation from 2003:


By Friday at the end of class, students will submit the following (in order).  Each assignment is worth 10 points.

  1. Imperialism in Asia during the Age of Anxiety (Monday, Jan. 14)
  2. WWII Endgame and Fallout – Lecture Guide & A-Bomb Sources (Tues., Jan. 15)
  3. The Atomic Age after WWII! – Reading Response Guide (Wednesday, Jan. 16)

We’re beginning our inquiry into the endgame of WWII and the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945.  Our essential question is complex in it’s simplicity: was the U.S. government justified in dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan? We will use the following documents to help us answer that question, and this worksheet – WWII Endgame and Fallout– to organize our ideas, and then break into groupsdepending on the stances students take on the question.

Welcome back! Let’s continue our work with our focus of study: imperial powers exerting their influence during the Age of Anxiety.

Imperial powers are extending into new territories – this is not just a phenomena of European nations, so too are imperial nations in Asia responsible for the same sort of aggressive territorial expansion. Today, we will examine the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, China.  We will organize our work using Imperialism in Asia during the Age of Anxiety.


  1. Context: What prior international treaty set limitations on imperial powers?  See: the Nine Powers Treaty of 1922 & the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928
  2. “The Spark:”What caused Japan to invade China? See the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928.
  3. Justification: How did Japan justify its invasion of China?  See: A Japanese Ambassador on the “Far East Situation”
  4. Concrete Details: Quantify the human loss of the invasion using the chart.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 7.44.27 AM

  • Concrete Details: Examine the role of Unit 731.  Summarize the work of this unit.  What purpose did this unit serve in actualizing the goals of the Japanese military? (Trigger Warning: thoughts of suicide, rape scenes, and paralysis.)
  • Concrete Detail: Read “Report #5” from this New York Times article from December, 1937.  Consult a map of China to see the extent and scope of the Japanese invasion that spanned from Manchuria to Nanjing.  Describe the nature of the Japanese invasion of Nanjing.  (Trigger Warning: thoughts of suicide, rape scenes, and paralysis.)
  • Outcomes: How did the international community respond to Japan’s invasion of China?  Read an excerpt from a news article highlighting some of the most pressing diplomatic developments.
  • Synthesis:watch the video below.  Describe any changes or continuities between the periods of imperial Japan and the contemporary rise of Japanese nationalism.

Recognizing the rise of fascism throughout Europe and the ascent of Adolf Hitler fueled by his motives of re-gaining “living space” (Lebensraum) for Germany, we  have to consider the question of HOW Adolf Hitler actualized this goal.  We’ll return to “Hitler’s Lightning War” (Blitzkrieg!!) and the dissolution of the Russo-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1939.

Let’s focus on war propaganda!  Use this easy Political Propaganda Sheet to respond to the questions on the sheet for each of the following pieces of propaganda:




To assist in the process of determining the persuasive argument technique utilized in political cartoons, propaganda, and other primary and/or secondary sources, we should spend a bit of time differentiating between ETHOS, PATHOS and LOGOS – the three forms of persuasive argument techniques.  Mr. Cameron will begin with a short lecture on Persuasive Argument Techniques, and then students will work through a series of statements to identify which type of persuasive argument technique is being employed with this here worksheet on The Art of Persuasion.

To apply this understanding of how people can be very effective in their goals of persuading people to think a certain way or act a certain way, we’ll look at a few short excerpts from world leaders during our period of study, WWII, using this here Applying Persuasive Argument Techniques to Key International Leaders During WWIIworksheet.

Welcome back! After Mr. Cameron handed back the essay concerning the inevitability of WWII in the Age of Anxiety, it’s time to take what we know about the this tense inter-war period to transition into The Rise of Fascism in Europe.  Students will follow along the lecture with this here lecture guide. Students will then move onto completing Hitler’s Lightning War using pages 491-496 of their textbook.

To inquire into a variety of perspectives regarding Hilter’s Blitzkrieg and the decision of the United States to either engage in WWII or maintain neutrality, we’re spending some time analyzing some political cartoons with this here WWII Political Cartoon Analysis. Before we dig into the political cartoons, we need to spend a bit of time identifying some key historical developments.

Hitler’s Lightning War – Blitzkrieg!! So many historical references in pop culture …

… even Spongebob memes get in on the action! Note that Japan was the aggressor in Pearl Harbor – that’s not entirely clear in this meme, but it nonetheless emphasizes how the U.S. maintained neutrality in WWII until they were attacked.