Term 2: The Nuclear Age and the Cold War

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Starting with major scientific breakthroughs during the 1930’s, countries have developed weapons that are based on nuclear energy. The use of nuclear weapons reached its height with the outbreak of World War 1 and 2, as well as the Cold War. Tin this case, two of the world’s major superpowers, the USA and Soviet Union, threatened each other with the use of nuclear weapons, which was referred to as the Cold War. This lesson will focus on the change in the balance of power after World War II and rivalry between the new superpowers during the Cold War by exploring the Increasing tension between the Allies after the end of World War II in Europe , End of World War II in the Pacific; Atomic bombs and the beginning of the Nuclear Age, the definition of the superpowers and the meaning of ‘Cold War’, the Areas of conflict and competition between the Superpowers in the Cold War and The end of the Cold War in 1989.

Key Terms

  • Allies: the group of countries including Britain and the US that fought together in the First and Second World Wars

  • Arms Race: a situation in which countries compete to get the most and best weapons

  • Berlin Wall: A wall/ barrier that divided Berlin by East and West that was constructed by the German Democratic Party

  • Capitalism: an economic system in which a country’s businesses and industry are controlled and run for profit by private owners rather than by the government

  • Cold War: a very unfriendly relationship between two countries who are not actually fighting each other, usually used about the situation between the US and the Soviet Union after the Second World War

  • Communism: a political movement that believes in an economic system in which the state controls the means of producing everything on behalf of the people. It aims to create a society in which everyone is treated equally.

  • Nuclear Weapons: connected with weapons that use nuclear energy

  • Space Race: competition between the US and the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 60s to be the first to explore space

  • Superpower: one of the countries in the world that has very great military or economic power and a lot of influence, for example the US

  • Tension: a situation in which people do not trust each other, or feel unfriendly towards each other, and which may cause them to attack each other

  • USSR: the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Source: http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com

CAPS Requirements for Term 2

History Term 2 Topic: The Nuclear Age and the Cold War

Suggested contact time: One term/15 hours This content must be integrated with the historical aims and skills and the associated concepts listed in Section 2

Focus: The change in the balance of power after World War II and rivalry between the new superpowers during the Cold War.

Content and concepts:

Ӣ Increasing tension between the Allies after the end of World War II in Europe 2 hours

- USSR (communism) vs. USA and West (capitalism)

Ӣ End of World War II in the Pacific : Atomic bombs and the beginning of the Nuclear Age 2 hours

- When, where, why and how did World War II come to an end?

- Why did the USA drop the bombs?

- Was it justified?

”¢ Definition of the superpowers and the meaning of ‘Cold War’ 1 hour

Ӣ Areas of conflict and competition between the Superpowers in the Cold War 6 hours

- Arms race

- Space race

- Division of Germany 1946 and the building of the Berlin Wall 1961

Ӣ The end of the Cold War 1989 1 hour

- The fall of the Berlin Wall 1989

- The fall of the Soviet Union (very briefly) 1991

Resource Links

Topic 1: Increasing tension between the Allies after the end of World War 2 in Europe

Topic 2: End of World War II in the Pacific: Atomic Bombs and the beginning of the Nuclear Age

Topic 3: Definition of the superpowers and the meaning of ‘Cold War’

Topic 4: Areas of Conflict and competition between the Superpowers in the Cold War

Topic 5: The end of the Cold War 1989

Last updated : 23-Mar-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 29-May-2011

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