Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Red Scare

In the 1950's the fear that communists both outside and inside America were working to destroy our way of life created a reaction known as the Red Scare. Pop culture reflected this fear of communists invading and taking over Americans minds.

Then a little known senator from Wisconsin, Joseph R. McCarthy charged that more than 200 communist agents had infiltrated the highest levels of our government. The charge provoked a furor and a witch hunt that quickly spread to all levels of American life.

"The Crucible", a play written by Arthur Miller centers on the similar events in colonial Salem and the subsequent trials. Those who demanded their innocence were executed, those who would not name names were incarcerated and tortured, and those who admitted their guilt were immediately set free.

3) Compare and Contrast the Salem Witch Hunts to the McCarthy Era.

4)  Who was persecuted and what was the evidence? What recourse did the accused have?

5)Which was more dangerous: the accusation or the actual witches?

6) Who was Edward R. Murrow and how did he respond to McCarthy's allegations?

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Tear Down This Wall....

President Reagan's remarks on East-West relations at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, Germany on June 12, 1987.

How does Reagan support his statement "Freedom is the victor?"

How does Reagan challenge Gorbachev to prove that his reforms are not just 'token gestures?'

What is the tone of this speech?

How persuasive was this speech? Why? Give reasons.

Everything I learned about Cold War History I learned from watching 'Family Guy.'

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Wall

Within a short period of time after the war, living conditions in West Germany and East Germany became distinctly different. With the help and support of its occupying powers, West Germany set up a capitalist society and experienced such a rapid growth of their economy that it became known as the "economic miracle." With hard work, individuals living in West Germany were able to live well, buy gadgets and appliances, and to travel as they wished. Nearly the opposite was true in East Germany. Since the Soviet Union had viewed their zone as a spoil of war, the Soviets pilfered factory equipment and other valuable assets from their zone and shipped them back to the Soviet Union.

When East Germany became its own country, it was under the direct influence of the Soviet Union and thus a Communist society was established. In East Germany, the economy dragged and individual freedoms were severely restricted. By the late 1950s, many people living in East Germany wanted out. No longer able to stand the repressive living conditions of East Germany, they would pack up their bags and head to West Berlin. Although some of them would be stopped on their way, hundreds of thousands of others made it across the border. Once across, these refugees were housed in warehouses and then flown to West Germany. Many of those who escaped were young, trained professionals. By the early 1960s, East Germany was rapidly losing both its labor force and its population. Having already lost 2.5 million people by 1961, East Germany desperately needed to stop this mass exodus.

The obvious leak was the easy access East Germans had to West Berlin. With the support of the Soviet Union, there had been several attempts to simply take over West Berlin in order to eliminate this exit point. Although the Soviet Union even threatened the United States with the use of nuclear weapons over this issue, the United States and other Western countries were committed to defending West Berlin. Desperate to keep its citizens, East Germany decided to build a wall to prevent them from crossing the border.

 How was the Wall both a physical and ideological barrier?

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Battle of the Superpowers

If Superman is a metaphor for the United States post World War II then who is Lex Luther?  The Warsaw Pact?  NATO?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. NATO was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere. After the destruction of the Second World War, the nations of Europe struggled to rebuild their economies and ensure their security. The former required a massive influx of aid to help the war-torn landscapes re-establish industries and produce food, and the latter required assurances against a resurgent Germany or incursions from the Soviet Union. The United States viewed an economically strong, rearmed, and integrated Europe as vital to the prevention of communist expansion across the continent. As a result, Secretary of State George Marshall proposed a program of large-scale economic aid to Europe. The resulting European Recovery Program, or Marshall Plan, not only facilitated European economic integration but promoted the idea of shared interests and cooperation between the United States and Europe. Soviet refusal either to participate in the Marshall Plan or to allow its satellite states in Eastern Europe to accept the economic assistance helped to reinforce the growing division between east and west in Europe.

1) What are the similarities/ differences between NATO & Wilson's failed League of Nations?
2) What are the benefits of being part of NATO?  Risks?
3) Has NATO been effective?  Give examples?
4) How has NATO evolved & changed over the decades?
5) In your opinion should the United States continue to lead NATO? Why/ Not?

Read More

Is This Tomorrow?  America Under Communism!

Friday, April 22, 2022

Its a Bird... Its a Plane.... Its....

Over the years Superman has come to represent truth, justice, and the 'American Way!' Perhaps the most famous of the War Year's comics is Superman #17 (July-Aug 1942). On that cover, Superman is shown standing on the Earth, holding both Hitler and the Japanese Emperor by the scruff of their necks and giving them a good shake as if that would put sense back into their heads. While Superman's storyline intentionally avoided much of WWII (Clark Kent was declared unfit for the draft after failing his eye exam; He was reading the chart in the next room with his x-ray vision) the Man of Steel did face the Japanese on the big screen.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Silver Parachute

We are probably all familiar with the Silver Parachutes from Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games.

The parachutes bearing meds or food float down, courtesy of Panem sponsors, and they are considered last-minute, unforeseen gifts.

What would your 'Silver Parachute' bring?  Who would sponsor you?

Post War Germany was divided into three sections--the Allied part was controlled by the United States, Great Britain and France, and another part by the Soviet Union. The city of Berlin, although located in the eastern Soviet half, was also divided into four sectors --West Berlin occupied by Allied interests and East Berlin occupied by Soviets. In June 1948, the Soviet Union attempted to control all of Berlin by cutting surface traffic to and from the city of West Berlin. Starving out the population and cutting off their business was their method of gaining control. As part of the Marshall Plan the Truman administration reacted with a continual daily airlift which brought much needed food and supplies into the city of West Berlin. The Berlin Airlift lasted until the end of September of 1949---although on May 12, 1949, the Soviet government yielded and lifted the blockade.

How did the airlift affect West German attitudes toward the United States and 'contain' the spread of Communism?

Imagine you are a child in Postwar West Berlin.  Write a 'Thank You' like the ones in the story to "Uncle Wiggly Wings."

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Mother Do You Think They'll Drop the Bomb?

The United States government secretly spent billions of dollars on a program code-named the Manhattan Project.  Its highest national priority: developing an atomic bomb.  The project was encouraged by Albert Einstein himself and led by J Robert Oppenheimer.   In a barren desert in New Mexico, on the morning of July 16, 1945,  the bomb was tested.  The flash of light could be seen 180 miles away.

President Truman did not agonize over the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. For the President abstract ethical issues did not outweigh very real American lives and an opportunity to end the war. Later some historians would condemn Truman's decision. What would you have done?

"Little Boy" was the codename for the type of atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, piloted by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., commander of the 509th Composite Group of the United States Army Air Forces. It was the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare. TheHiroshima bombing was the second artificial nuclear explosion in history, after the Trinity test, and the first uranium-based detonation. It exploded with an energy of approximately 15 kilotons of TNT (63 TJ). The bomb caused significant destruction to the city of Hiroshima.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


There are countless stories of the Japanese 'kamakazi' pilots who would rather die themselves than give up. On Iwo Jima, a 5-mile-long desolate island rock 650 miles southeast of Tokyo, more than 23,000 marines became casualties.  The fight for Okinawa was even deadlier as many Japanese troops readily killed themselves. The Japanese fought by a code they thought was right: 'Bushido' The way of the Samurai warrior.

 How was this code different from the more Western idea of 'Chivalry?'

 Who would win:  Knight vs. Samurai?

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Winning WWII

Throughout 1943 the leaders of the Allied Forces squabbled over when they would start a second front in France.  Up to that point Soviet troops had done most of the fighting in Europe.  Stalin had insisted that Britain and the United States carry more of the military burden by attacking Germany in the west.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower was promoted over 350 other more qualified generals to lead the operation.  He  called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foot- hold in Europe. The D-Day cost was high -more than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded -- but more than 100,000 Soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Word Power

There is no stronger bond of friendship than a mutual enemy.
-Frankfort Moore

2) How does is this idea reflected in the mysterious message on the back of our penny?

At a time when America's best cryptographers were falling short, the Navajo Indians  were able to fashion the most ingenious and successful code in military history. They drew upon their proud warrior tradition to brave the dense jungles of Guadalcanal and the exposed beachheads of Iwo Jima. Serving with distinction in every major engagement of the Pacific theater from 1942-1945, their unbreakable code played a pivotal role in saving countless lives and hastening the war's end.

3) Write your name using the Navajo Code Talker Dictionary.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Go for Broke!

The motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was “go for broke.” It’s a gambling term that means risking everything on one great effort to win big. The soldiers of the 442nd needed to win big. They were Nisei - American-born sons of Japanese immigrants. They fought two wars: the Germans in Europe and the prejudice in America.

Monday, April 4, 2022

The Face of the Enemy?

While many groups of Americans faced hardships during WWII, none had it harder than Japanese Americans.

After the attacks on Pearl Harbor Americans were understandably fearful of further attacks and spies. In early 1942, by Presidential executive order 9066, Japanese-Americans living primarily on the west coast were taken to internment camps as a security measure following the massive Pearl Harbor raid that temporarily incapacitated the Pacific fleet. A national sense of outrage consumed Americans. Strangers on the streets looked at one another with a new awareness.

The US Government claimed internment camps were vital to American security and that every effort was made to provide for their Japanese guests.

Compare the Government claims to actual photos of the camps taken from Ansel Adams famous book Born Free and Equal.

Watch this video to see what life in the camps was really like.

Listen to the song Kenji by Fort Minor.

1) Were American fears justified?
2) Can you tell who the enemy is just by looking at them?
3) Why weren't German's and Italians also sent to 'camps?'
4) Did all Japanese Americans go willingly? Who was Fred Korematsu?
5) What lessons did we learn from this mistake? 
6) Did the United States ever apologize?
7) What has been the backlash to Chinese Americans as a result of the 'Wuhan' virus? Have we as Americans learned our lesson?

Friday, April 1, 2022


After the shock of Pearl Harbor many Americans wondered what would happen next?
Everyone would have to make sacrifices in support of the Armed Forces.  This included accepting 
Rationing:  a system of limiting the distribution of food, gasoline, and other goods so the military could have the equipment and supplies it needed.

What challenges and hardships did 'rationing' create?  

Did everyone accept it willingly?  Why was it necessary?

'Prices Unlimited 1944'