The Cold War:
Superpowers Face Off
Chapter 33 Section 1
Source: Holt-McDougal, World History, Patterns of Interaction                                                Click Here For Preview

Concepts: Conflict

-A Continent Destroyed

    -Led by the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union the Allies defeat the Axis powers in battles that would decide the     outcome of the war.

The Western Allies were suspicious of Stalin because of the Non-Aggression treaty with Hitler and Stalin was suspicious of the West for waiting so long to open a second front in the West.  Both sides were opposites to the other ideologically.

-The Yalta Conference: A postwar plan

Yalta is a resort in the Soviet Union on the Crimean Peninsula on the Black Sea.

    -The Allies agree to divide Germany into occupation zones:


        -United States

        -Great Britain

        -Soviet Union

Germany would have to pay the Soviet Union for it’s loss of life and property. Allied military governments controlled each zone.

    -Stalin’s Promises

        -Agreed to join the war against Japan

        -Agreed to allowing free elections for Eastern Europeans

Churchill believed Stalin would only honor his pledge if Eastern European countries followed Russian friendly policies.

-The United Nations

    -In June of 1945, 50 nations join the United Nations

The intention of the United Nations was to protect nations from aggression.

Question: What international organization preceded the United Nations? Was if effective?

Answer: The League of Nations, It was not effective in stopping aggression

    -UN Security Council: 11 members

    -Five members with veto power (Permanent: US, China, Russia, France, Great Britain

    -United Nations General Assembly

    -50 countries: Equal Votes

Question: What inherent problem can you see with the way the Security Council is organized

Answer: With a single country’s veto it would be very difficult to get anything accomplished and history shows that is true.

-Different Circumstances/ Different Goals


        United States:    USSR:

        Deaths: 400,000    Deaths: 22,000,000

        Cities & Industries Intact    Cities and Industries decimated 

        Economy: Capitalism    Economy: Communism (Stalin’s Version)


        United States:    USSR:

            Spread Democracy    Spread Communism

            (Stop spread of Communism)    (Part of a worldwide workers revolution)

            Gain access to markets and Rebuild Soviet Union

            resources    (By Stripping equipment and resources

        (Fuel the huge industry created by from Eastern Europe)


            Rebuild European Governments    Dominate Eastern Europe

            (New markets for U.S. goods)    (Create a buffer for Invasion)

            Reunite Germany    Keep Germany Weak

            (Stabilize Europe/Increase Security)    (So they cannot become aggressive)

-Eastern Europe’s Iron Curtain

Russia is also a mix of many different cultures and there wasn’t really a strong sense of nationalism in Russia.

    -The Soviets build a buffer

        -A history of invasion:

            -Poland: 1600’s

            -Sweden: 1700’s

            -France: 1800’s

            -Germany: 1914

            -Germany: 1941

Question: Why do you think Russia was invaded so many times?

Answer: 1. No natural barriers  2. History of being behind in industry and technology

-An Iron Curtain divides East and West

    -Eastern Europe: Satellite Countries or Puppet Governments

    -Potsdam Conference (July 1945)

        -Soviets control Eastern Europe

        -Stalin installs Communist Governments

        -Truman urges free elections; Stalin refuses

        -In 1946, Stalin says “Communism and Capitalism cannot co-exist”

Question: Why do you think Stalin believed the West would not go to war with him over Europe?

Answer: Stalin believed that the U.S. put a higher value on human life.

The West would have had to invade the Eastern Block countries as well as engage the very large Soviet Military- something they were very reluctant to do so soon after the war.

-The U.S. Tries to Contain Communism

The idea of guaranteed employment, stable housing and having enough to eat was very appealing to people who did not have those things.  “Wherever misery and suffering prevail Communism always sprouts up”

    -The Domino Theory

        -If one country falls to Communism: More would follow

        -Communism was appealing to poor underdeveloped countries

    -The Truman Doctrine

The U.S. Congress authorized 400 million dollars for Turkey and Greece.

        -The U.S. supports countries that reject Communism

        -Congress approves Truman’s request for aid to Greece and Turkey

-The Marshall Plan

The Marshall Plan was designed to help Europe recover and rebuild.  The aid provided food, materials and equipment. As Congress debated, Czechoslovakia turned Communist and the legislation passed quickly.  The program cost 12.5 Billion in 1948 Dollars roughly 113 Billion in 2012 dollars.

    -Most of Western Europe lay in ruins after WWII

    -Marshall Plan: U.S. program of assistingWestern European countries

    -Congress approves plan after Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia

The Marshall Plan was a huge success even Yugoslavia received aid after it broke with Moscow. 

-Allied Forces Withdraw

Stalin was furious about the unification of Western Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) Stalin wanted Germany splintered and weak-permanently.  The Soviet Sector would eventually become the German Democratic Republic.

    -In 1948, United States, Britain, France, withdraw forces from Germany

    -Their former occupation zones form one country: West Germany

-A Divided Berlin

Stalin believed the West would give up West Berlin, but he was wrong.

    -The Soviets cut off all road access to West Berlin

-The Berlin Airlift

At this time West Berlin’s population would have been around 1-1.5 million people.

    -Truman chooses a less direct way to confront Soviet Aggression.

    -U.S. airlifts supplies to Berlin

        -Airlift lasts for 11 months: Soviets lift blockade in May 1949

-The Cold War: Divides the World

    -Struggle of U.S. and U.S.S.R. using every means short of war.

    -Tools of the Trade:

        -Spying, Propaganda, Diplomacy, Covert Operations

    -In 1949, The U.S., Canada and Western European countries form NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization

    -In 1955, Soviets and Eastern European Nations sign Warsaw Pact Alliance

In general, the world was now divided into two camps- NATO and Warsaw Pact: East vs West!

-The Berlin Wall

    -In 1961, Soviets build the Berlin Wall

    -Sealed West Berlin from East Germany

Stops East Germans from escaping to the West.

-The Threat of Nuclear War

After The Soviets developed the Atomic Bomb, Truman authorized the research to develop a more powerful thermonuclear weapon: Hydrogen Bomb.

    -Soviet Union explodes it’s first Atomic Bomb in 1949.

    -U.S. & Soviets both develop more powerful Hydrogen Bomb

-Hydrogen Bomb

In 1952, the US exploded it’s first Hydrogen bomb, the Soviets followed in 1953.

    -Thousands of times more powerful than an Atom Bomb

    -Fusion: Fusing two atoms together

    -Atomic Bomb triggers the reaction

-Arms Race (Nuclear Weapons)

The arms race between the U.S. and the USSR would go on for four decades.  At one point, Both sides could destroy the world over 250 times.  Overkill?

    -Increasing tensions lead to military build-up by U.S. and Soviets


1953- President Eisenhower appointed John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State. Dulles warned the Soviets that if they attacked any U.S. interests the U.S. would “retaliate instantly, by means and places of our own choosing”

    -Both sides willing to go to the brink of conflict

    -But not over the cliff

-The Cold War in The Skies

    -In 1957, Soviets develop an ICBM

    -Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

    -Estimated time from launch to detonation: 30 Minutes!

    -Missiles are launched from one continent to another

    -Missiles may carry multiple warheads to shower a target.


The United States began pouring massive amounts of money into schools to help develop science education.  Sputnik scared the country that we were falling behind.

    -Soviets shock the West

    -In 1957, Soviets launch Sputnik, first unmanned satellite.

The U.S. launched a satellite in 1958.

-Apollo Moon Program

President Kennedy challenged the country to put a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth at Rice University 1962, before the end of the decade.

    -The U.S. ramped up it’s science education out of fear of being behind the Russians

    -In 1969, the United States put a man on the moon and returned them safely to Earth.

The End

      Mr. Harms has designed a number of PowerPoint and Keynote presentations to help students understand history. Designed by a teacher for teachers, this PowerPoint focuses on "Cold War Superpowers Face Off". This presentation is designed to give them an overview of the events leading up to and during the Cold War. Students will be shown maps, animations and descriptions of some of the major events leading to the Cold War.
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The Topics include: Cold War, Yalta Conference, Joseph Stalin, United Nations, Security Council, United States, Soviet Union, Communism, Iron Curtain, Satellite Countries, Capitalism, Domino Theory, Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, Berlin Airlift, NATO, Warsaw Pact, Berlin Wall, Atomic Bomb, Hydrogen Bomb, Arms Race, Brinksmanship, ICBM, Sputnik, Apollo.
Number of Slides: 43  $4.30

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