Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Example #1 - Korea

After World War II, there were many questions about who would control Korea. As part of the Truman Doctrine, the United States helped Korea financially and militarily. It was a key nation for us when China became Communist in the early 1950's and the Soviet Union was communist above Korea. In fact, Korea had been divided up at the 38th Parallel into a North side (allied with the Soviet Union) and a south side (allied with the United States).

When the north side (the communist side) invaded the south side, the United States got involved. In the end, the war was a stale-mate, with neither the north nor the south side defeating the other side.

1. Why did the U.S. get involved?
2. Was it a good idea to get involved?
3. Was this successful?
4. What can we learn from it?

Example #2 - Vietnam

For years, as a part of imperialism, the French controlled Vietnam. However, they eventually gave the Vietnamese people their own independence after World War II. It was a time when many nations were gaining their freedom. The United States made an alliance with the Vietnam government and supplied soldiers, weapons and food aid to the poor nation.

When a communist revolution broke out, the United States got involved. We were worried that the entire southeast Asian area would turn communist. For over a decade, the U.S. fought on the side of the capitalists who supported democracy. At first, it was a popular war, but over time, people began to question why our soldiers (many of whom were drafted) had to die for a belief system. In the end, the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam and the entire nation became communist.

1. Why did we fight in Vietnam?
2. Were we successful?
3. What could we learn from Vietnam?

Example #3 - Cuban Missile Crisis

The United States was worried that the Soviet Union was going to send nuclear missiles from Cuba aimed at the United States. Instead of using military interaction, the president (Kennedy) called and negotiated terms with the prime minister of the Soviet Union. Many Americans believed that we were on the brink of a nuclear disaster.

After long negotiations, Kennedy agreed to get rid of weapons in Turkey that were aimed at the Soviet Union. In response, the prime minister (Kruschev) of the Soviet Union decided send back the nuclear weapons that were headed for Cuba.

1. What was the cause of this conflict?
2. Why didn't this lead to a nuclear disaster?
3. What can we learn from this?

Example #4 - Bay of Pigs

The Bay of Pigs disaster began with the Eisenhower administration and moved into the Kennedy administration. The main goal was to train Cuban refugees to take over Cuba and kill Fidel Castro. The mission failed miserably, with many of the trained troops dying. The Cuban military defeated the invading force in a matter of days and the event accelerated a rapid deterioration in Cuban-American relations.

1. Why would America invade communist Cuba?
2. Was this a success or a failure?
3. What can we learn from it?