You are a presidential advisor during the first three decades of the Cold War (1945-1973).  Your task is to investigate a particular crisis or turning point in the corresponding presidential administration, choose, and argue for the best policy for the United States.  As each issue is debated in our classroom, you’ll write up your own personal judgment of the best policy.   

You’ll be assigned one of several presidential administrations: 

A.      Harry S Truman: Should we share atomic bomb technology?

B.       Dwight D. Eisenhower: Power struggle in Iran

C.       John F. Kennedy: The Cuban Missile Crisis

D.      Lyndon B. Johnson: The Vietnam domino: shore it up or let it fall?

E.       Richard M. Nixon: The Soviet Union: détente?


You’ll begin by researching the background of your issue using the provided resources.  Then you’ll research and analyze the possible responses the president is considering.  Which is the best solution?   

Write up a position paper, and present it to the president and his full team of advisors.  Naturally, other advisors will be presenting their own positions.  You must be ready to argue for your views and against their positions.  The entire class will vote for the best argument it heard.  Then we’ll debrief on what actually happened.

Finally, you will write up your own conclusions about each of these presidential decisions of the Cold War period up to 1973.  Which choices would you have made and why?