Topic 12: The Cold War: Superpower tensions and rivalries

World history topic 12: The Cold War: Superpower tensions and rivalries

This topic is divided into three themes which are explained below.

There are separate pages on each of the three areas of prescribed content which will give teaching ideas and essay frames.

Theme 1: Rivalry, mistrust and accord

This takes a chronological approach to the events of the Cold War from the breakdown of the Grand Alliance, the shift of the Cold War to Asia, peaceful co-existence and detente through to the collapse of the Cold War

Theme 2: Leaders and nations

This theme asks students to look at the impact of two leaders and two countries (except USA and USSR) on the course and development of the Cold War.

Theme 3: Cold War crises

Students need to study at least two Cold War crises from different regions looking at causes, impact and significance.

For Themes 2 and 3, teachers are free to choose their own examples, as long as they are from different regions.

Full descriptions of each theme and suggested examples can be found here

1.1 Theme 1 - Rivalry, Mistrust and Accord (ATL)

Here are some different activities that you can do for this theme within the topic of the Cold War. There is a mixture of source activities, summary activities, analytical...

1.2 Theme 1 - Rivalry, Mistrust and Accord (ATL)

This page follows on from the first ATL page for this theme - starting with the impact of the nuclear arms race through to the final collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War.Guiding questions:

1. Rivalry, mistrust and accord: essay writing exercises and essay plans

 This theme of the Cold War topic will contain more specific questions than the other two themes which will usually be more comparative in nature.

2. Rivalry, mistrust and accord: Graded student examples

On this page you will find sample essays for the first theme of this topic, written by students. Essays relating to 'rivalry, mistrust and accord',can be quite specific (unlike other Paper 2 essays).

2. Theme 2 - Leaders and Nations (ATL)

This theme covers the following prescribed content:Here are some different activities that you can do for this theme. There is a mixture of source activities summary activities,...

Leaders and nations: Essay writing exercises and essay frames

Students will be choosing their own examples on which leaders and nations to include in their essays, and so essay frames here provide a general...

Leaders and nations: Graded student examples

On this page, you will find sample essays for this section - comparing leaders or nations from different regions. Essay one: This essay takes Stalin and Truman as the two leaders to compare and contrast....

3. Theme 3 - Cold War Crises (ATL)

This theme involves studying Cold War crises. Students need to be able to examine and compare the causes, impact and significance of two Cold War crises.The exercise and the essay...

Cold War Crises: Graded student examples

On this page, you will find sample essays for this section - comparing crises from different regions.Essay One: Compare and contrast the causes of two crises each taken from a different region

Cold War crises: Essay writing exercises and essay plans

Students will be choosing their own examples on which crises to include in their essays, and so this essay frame provides a general structure and...

4. The Cold War: Videos and activities

This page has some suggestions for Cold War documentaries (other than the CNN documentaries). Again, we have given suggestions on which sections to show and tasks/questions for students while watching...

5. The Cold War: Videos and activities CNN Series

A great series of videos for teaching the Cold War: superpower tensions and rivalries is the CNN Cold War Series.This series has proved to be controversial with right-wing historians claiming that it...

6. The Cold War: Extra Resources

On these pages you can find useful websites for the Cold War along with historians' texts that students might find enjoyable to develop their understanding further. There are also some suggestions for...

7. The Cold War: Quizzes

In this section you can find fact quizzes which can be used as starters to lessons or as end of topic quizzes. Below are 'paper' quizzes which you can print off.You will also see some student pages on...

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