Lesson Plan: A Timeline of Cold War Events
This task is best suited for senior students, especially those who have studied Canadian and modern world history. It will involve developing a timeline of some of the major events that occurred during the Cold War, and indicating how Canada was either involved in or affected by them. However, you may wish to modify this activity for younger students as its context may provide some interesting comparisons to topics being studied in your classroom.
Students will use the Cold War Culture topic on the CBC Digital Archives website, as well as other resources they find useful, to research, prepare, and present a summary or timeline of one of the following Cold War events and its impact on Canada:
Dropping of first atomic bombs at the end of World War II
Cold War espionage cases: The Gouzenko affair (1947)
Developing conflict between United States and Soviet Union over post-WWII Europe
Formation of NATO (1949) Korean War (1950-53)
Anti-communism in Canada during the Cold War
The nuclear arms race
The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
The debate over the placement of nuclear weapons in Canada
The Vietnam War (1960s-70s)
The era of détente (1970s)
The "second" Cold War (early 1980s)
The end of the Cold War (1989-91)
Students may work either individually or in small groups to research and prepare their timelines. Students should take detailed notes as they research, being sure to carefully cite the sources they consult and use.
Students' timelines can take the form of charts, board displays, collages, handouts, overheads. Students may wish to use various visual aids to illustrate their work. Students should summarize the causes, developments, and consequences of each event on the timeline. They should explain as well how Canada was involved in the event and the effect of the event on Canada.
Have students present their timeline to the class, explaining the events and their impact on Canada. Encourage other students to raise and discuss issues brought forth by each presentation. Have students predict how Canada might learn from its experiences during the Cold War era and apply that learning to Canada's involvement in current global conflicts.
The timelines can be incorporated into an overall classroom display on materials relating to the history of the Cold War its impact on Canada.
Gaddis, John L. We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History. New York: Oxford UP, 1997.
Isaacs, Jeremy, and Taylor Downing. The Cold War: An Illustrated History. Boston and New York: Little Brown, 1998.
Kotek, Joel. Students and the Cold War. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996.
Stein, Janice G., and Richard Ned Lebow. We All Lost the Cold War.Princeton NJ: Princeton UP, 1994.
Walker, Martin. The Cold War: A History.Toronto: Stoddart, 1994.
Whitaker, Reg, and Gary Marcuse. Cold War Canada: The Making of a National Security State. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.
Film Cold War Series (20 installments). (CNN, 1998, Jeremy Isaacs dir.).
The Un-Canadians. (The National Film Board of Canada, 1996, Len Scher dir.).