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U.S. Navy Museum Cold War Gallery Lesson Plan
Compare and Contrast Oral Histories to Learn About the Cold War
Developed by Cindy Woolston, Brunswick High School, Brunswick, MO
2012 Naval Historical Foundation STEM-H Teacher Fellowship

  Instructional Goal

Teacher Help
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Venn Diagram - Compare and Contrast Events and Player:
  1. Find similarities and differences between two people or events.
  2. Utilize primary sources.
  3. Relate personal stories to historical content.

The Cold War refers to the post World War II confrontation between the United States and its allies and the Soviet Union and its allies. From 1945 to 1991 international policies were shaped by intense rivalries between these two groups - noncommunist and communists. This led to military coalitions, weapons development, space race, espionage, and propaganda. It included the "hot" wars of the Cold War: Korea and Vietnam. The Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

View "The U.S. Navy in the Cold War" for a ten minute summary of the U.S. Navy's role across 5 decades following World War II:

play videoThe U.S. Navy and the Cold War:  This film was produced for the Cold War Gallery, part of the National Museum of the United States Navy. It gives an overview of the U.S. Navy's role in our nation's nearly 50-year conflict with the Soviet Union.


History of the Cold War:  www.history.navy.mil/wars/coldwar-1.htm.

Naval Historical & Heritage Command - Oral History of World War II:  www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq87-3.htm.

Library of Congress - Veterans History Project:  www.loc.gov/vets/.

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Lesson Activity


Activity worksheet: Click Here

  1. Listen to or read an oral history of a Sailor who served during the Cold War, completing the worksheet above.
  2. Review the concept of a Venn diagram. Click Here to read an explanation of a Venn diagram
  3. Research another participant in the Cold War using the resources, another oral history worksheet and other sources.
  4. Construct a Venn diagram from the information on your two oral history worksheets, using the provided Venn Diagram Worksheet (Click Here for the Venn Diagram worksheet), or by drawing your own circles and putting similarities in the overlapping section and differences in the section of the circles that do not overlap.
  5. Be ready to share your findings with the class.


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