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:
Harry S Truman: Should we share atomic bomb technology?
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Power struggle in Iran
John F. Kennedy: The Cuban Missile Crisis
Lyndon B. Johnson: The Vietnam domino: shore it up or let it fall?
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
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?