Learn about the Cold War between the United States and communism.
- Students will understand that the cold war was not a physical war.
- Students will be able to explain why the cold war took place.
- Students will be able to define communism.
- Students will be able to identify the European countries that were communist during the cold war.
- Students will be able to describe the arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
4th Grade – 5th Grade – 6th Grade
- Read lesson or have students read it silently.
- Have students answer the questions on the worksheet.
- Discuss answers to questions.
In 1945, representatives from 50 countries met in San Francisco, California to set up a new organization called the United Nations (UN). Their goal was to prevent war, protect human rights and work to make the lives of all people better. At the time, the United States and the Soviet Union were the two most powerful countries in the world. Though they were both called superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were very different from each other.
The Soviet Union was the first communist country in the world. It was ruled by a dictator named Joseph Stalin. In a communist country, almost everything is owned and distributed by the government. In contrast, the United States is a democracy run by elected leaders where people are allowed to live and work anywhere they choose. The differences between the two superpowers had been put aside during World War II when the U.S. and the Soviet Union both fought on the side of the Allies. However, after the war, conflict began to arise between the two nations.