The U.S. Army During the Cold War

The Question of “What If?” – The U.S. Army During the Cold War


Honest John Rocket (Left) Construction of the Berlin Wall (Center) Davey Crockett Nuclear Missile System (Right). U.S. Army Center of Military History.

How to register:
We offer two field trip scheduling options:

All audiences. Content appropriate for Grades 6-12.

Understand the commitment and sacrifices of U.S. Army Soldiers serving during the Cold War to protect the American public.

Program Description:
Join us to learn more about the U.S. Army during the Cold War.

During World War II, the Soviet Union and the United States worked together to fight a common enemy; and after the war that relationship fell apart. Trust between the former allies broke down and fear took hold in its place. This mutual mistrust lead the two countries to confront the looming question of “what if?” That question would color the relationship between the two for the next 50 years. As a result, the Army developed new technology, equipment, and training to better protect Americans from the possibilities and threats posed by the “what if?”

In this virtual field trip, you will learn how Soldiers worked together to keep the “what if?” from becoming a reality during the Cold War.

At the end of the lesson, students will be better able to:

  • Discuss the fear and anxiety the Cold War produced in American society.
  • Identify how United States foreign policy shifted to contain the threat of Communism in Europe.
  • Recognize the commitment of Soldiers to defend the United States.

Guiding Question:
How did the tensions between the United States and Soviet Union impact the U.S. Army and its Soldiers?

Curriculum Connections:

Virginia Studies

  • VS.1 .a– The student will demonstrate skills for historical thinking, geographical analysis, economic decision making, and responsible citizenship by analyzing and interpreting artifacts and primary sources to understand events in Virginia History.

United States History 1865 to Present

US1L.8. – The student will apply social science skills to understand the economic, social, and political transformation of the United States and the world between the end of World War II and the present by

  • a) describing the rebuilding of Europe and Japan after World War II, the emergence of the United States and the Soviet Union as superpowers
  • c) examining the role of the United States in defending freedom during the Cold War, including the wars in Korea and Vietnam, the Cuban missile crisis, the collapse of communism in Europe, and the rise of new challenges;

World History & Geography 1500 to Present

WHII.12 -The student will apply social science skills to understand the conflicts during the second half of the twentieth century by

  • a) explaining the causes of the Cold War, including the competition between the American and Soviet economic and political systems and the causes of the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe;
  •  b) describing the major leaders and events of the Cold War, including the location of major conflicts;

Virginia & US History
VUS.12– The student will apply social science skills to understand the United States’ foreign policy during the Cold War era by

  • b) explaining the origins and early development of the Cold War and how it changed American foreign policy, with emphasis on the Truman Doctrine and the policy of containment of communism;
  • f) analyzing the domestic impact of the Cold War;

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