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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 recent 2016 U.S. General Elections.  Later that week, former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Select Senate Intelligence Committeeregarding 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, ultimately to look like the map, 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?

HOMEWORK:

Using the above maps, complete this here Breakup of the Soviet Union and the Thaw of the Cold Warworksheet.  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”.

 

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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:

Reminder:

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

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