Jul 24 2012

Cold War to the 21st Century

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Cold War to the 21st Century


2013 -2014



This semester long class begins with the conclusion of the Second World War and proceeds through the end of the Twentieth Century.  In addition to the textbook, reading and research of materials beyond the text will be required.  The last half of the Twentieth Century has also been richly documented in film through commercial enterprises, by national governments and through educational institutions.  This course incorporates video material from all three sources to provide a synthesis of key issues being discussed in the textbook and in class.  All video material shown in class is testable material and note taking is strongly advised during the showing of videos.


Grades are calculated as described by the student handbook.  All grades received are percent averages (I do not use points).  Each nine weeks grade is computed from:

30% – quiz and test scores

40% – assignments (20% short term assignments/in-class activities/group work, and 20% from each of the 9-weeks projects)

10% – class attendance/participation

20% – comprehensive nine weeks exam

An average of both nine weeks comprises the semester grade.


There will be two projects assigned during the semester (one for each quarter).  The projects vary depending upon class size and may include a critical book or film review, research over a topic pertinent to the class followed by a formal presentation of the topic (dependent upon class size and time available).  Details concerning what projects will be assigned and how the project is to be completed will be handed out in class.  All projects must be turned in for the successful completion of this course.


The amount of time dedicated to each topic may vary as the course is taught and as new information is revealed and added to the course.  A projected time frame for topics follows:


First Nine Weeks:

Chapter 30

The Cold War

(1945 – 1991)


Chapter 31

New Nations Emerge (1945 – Present)

The development of atomic technology during World War II made a tremendous impact on the world after the war.  The Cold War is also known as the “Fifty-Year War” of competition between its two principle adversaries, theUnited Statesand theSoviet Union.  This introduction will examine the further development/improvement of atomic weapons and corresponding delivery systems, and how the world successfully avoided employing these weapons to save the planet.  The collapse of colonial empires ushered in the emergence of many new nations.  These nations, in many instances, became the witting or unwitting pawns of the first world struggling against the second world in regional conflicts.



Second Nine Weeks:

Chapter 32

Regional Conflicts

(1945 – Present)


Chapter 33

The Developing World

(1945 – Present)


Chapter 34

The World Today

The discussion of regional conflicts as a part of the Cold War continues; however, a shift occurs as theThird Worldemerges and poses potential new threats with the acquisition of nuclear technology and weapons.  The conflict in theMiddle Eastis a major focus along with global dependency on oil from this region. China’s transition to becoming a major economic factor among the world while retaining its “Communist” system will be examined in some detail to determine what it portends for the future.  The course will conclude with looking at the technology boom of the later twentieth century and what impacts it will have for the future.  The security of nations has become more important as individuals, instead of nations, are capable of delivering massive destruction to communities and countries.


If you have questions concerning any of this material please feel free to contact me.  I use an answering machine to screen calls at home so please leave a message.  During the school day the best time to contact me is before school, during my prep-time, or immediately after school.


David R. Potthast, MA

LCDR, USN – Retired

School: (309) 793-8020

Home:  (309) 582-0969

E-mail: (work) dpotthast@rockridgeschools.org

(home) d.potthast@mchsi.com