This lesson serves a great introductory course lesson to a high school History class that covers the Cold War between the US and Soviet superpowers. Obviously, this is a short version that’s more packed with comedy than information, but it serves as a great format in order to teach the events of the space race from both the Soviet and American sides. Take the trip from both perspectives and see if you can lead your country to victory – good luck!
Link to space race from American perspective: https://forms.gle/1HG83gUjscB6xr5V7
Link to space race from Soviet perspective: https://forms.gle/vQvdMKVgLoLziKYQ9
Instructional Goal: The purpose of this lesson would be to illustrate the power of government propaganda techniques in order to push a preferred agenda. The lesson will do this discussing the Atomic Bomb from a skewed perspective.
Target Students: This session would be a great lesson to be used in any high school classroom that discussed history or ethics.
Lesson context: This session would serve as the interaction lesson to a unit that covers US Atomic history in the post-WWII era.
Lesson delivery: The current format of the lesson makes it ideal for virtual instruction. However, it can be easily restructured into a lesson which involves getting up in the class and making your way from station to station.
Direct link to Google Form: https://forms.gle/4Y4559jXmMyjuohx7
Caption Writer: Analyze the image. Does it contain a caption? Does the caption help understand the image? Create a new caption for the image.
Important context: This cartoon was published in 1939, a day after German troops were deployed to invade Slovakia. Because German aggression was still fresh on the minds of the French, British, and Americans, (the three parties represented in the photo) the comic portrays the nations as unsettled and worrisome of the future of Hitler’s actions.
Icebreaker Response: This image is an American comic meant to depict the foreign fear and agitation of onlooking nations as Hitler began to deconstruct modern Europe. New caption: ” Oh oh.. do you think it’s loaded?”
This primary source comes from the Records of the U.S. Information Agency.
Bias: Analyze the image. What Bias is present? Is the image arranged to create bias? Is there unintentional bias? Is there something in this image that is controversial today, but not at the time it was created?
Important context: The caption of the image read, “Anywhere there is Communism, there is terrorism and assassination.” This image is created by the United States Information Agency in 1954, in. order to spread the fear of communism into newly divided Vietnam. This strategy is much like the “Red Scare” strategy employed on American citizens.
Icebreaker Response: The bias in this image is anti-communism. Obviously, this anti-red campaign poster was created by Americans in order to slow the rise of communism in Vietnam, in order to prevent the spread of Soviet influence in critically important countries. Obviously, modern day political campaigns do feature slander against their opposing parties, but maybe not to the extent of using words like “terrorism and assassination.”
This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of War Information.
Anomalies: Analyze the image. Write down the things that surprise you about the image. Discuss the questions with a partner and generate new anomalies.
Important Context: This poster was used by the US Department of Agriculture Forest Services. Believe it or not, is was spread in order to prevent forest fires, by creating the perception that American enemies gain advantages from our “carelessness.” I guess they needed someone more intense than Smokey the Bear.
Icebreaker Response: Honestly, I am both shocked at the discovery of this image and amused by its creativity. Obviously the anomaly here is that the US State Forest Service would consider using the perverted faces of Hitler and a Japanese soldier in order to encourage American forest goers to be careful about creating forest fires. From an era of propaganda campaigns and satire posters, I would expect nothing less.
The poster above is a Soviet Union War poster created during the Second World War. It depicts a Soviet Soldier clad in the national army attire, and holding an assault rifle. In the background, we see that a factory is pictured to be working, to what appears is, full capacity. There are also female workers, who are shown in order to maximize the war efforts from the entire Soviet nation.
This portion of the image is very similar to the American version of Uncle Sam’s famous “I want YOU for U.S. Army” poster. The writing in the top right corner translates directly to “YOU.” They eyes and pointer finger are practically the same in terms of gesture and intensity. Obviously, this may have been a direct copy from the US in order to increase participation in the Soviet war efforts. A young boy or girl who may have seen this poster may have felt a personal responsibility to contribute whatever they could in order to. guarantee Soviet success.
This cropped portion contains writing which translates into something along the lines of, “what have you done (or helped) for the front.” The front in question is obviously the Soviet war front. Once again, the purpose of the poster is to create a personal responsibility for the success or failure of the war effort. This, like many propaganda posters, is meant to touch the hearts of citizens and create emotions like guilt, patriotism, and unity, in order for them to act accordingly to the party agenda.
Nazi Party Campaign Poster
The poster above is a political campaign poster created to entice German citizens to vote for the National Party, or in this case, the Nazi party. It is dated for June 11, 1932, which is a month and a half before the Nazi Party won a majority of the German house seats. This poster is a prime example of the unity and nationalism that the Nazi party attempted to create, and embody. Although it may not have always been as the poster suggests, the Nazi party could always count on propaganda to entice citizen action.
This cropped portion of the image shows crowds of people streaming into a swastika, which was the official sign of the Nazi party. This image is meant to show the overwhelming support of the National party, whether it was accurate or not. By creating a sense that masses of citizens are backing the Nazis, the party could create a sense of FOMO or unity, which could encourage many others to back the party by implementing a simple group think strategy.
This cropped portion of the image indicates a huge 1 which indicated multiple things. Not only was the Nazi party the listed number 1 on the ballots, but they were also creating a sense of greatness and foremost supremacy. Again, as with many propaganda posters, you do not need to be something, as much as you need to embody the image of being that something. The Nazi party may not have needed to be the greatest party at the time, but if their posters could create the sense that they were, then people were more likely to buy into the propaganda.