What words or phrases come to mind when you think of the term Cold War? Did you ever study the Cold War in school? If so, what are some aspects of the Cold War that you remember?

As your Reading and Discussions point out, one of the biggest issues that citizens and politicians confronted during the 1960s was the Cold War, which might be defined as the geopolitical tensions, and proxy wars fought between the United States and the Soviet Union. Indeed, for anyone who grew up during the 1950s, 1960s, or 1970s, the Cold War was a household topic everyone seemed to understand.

Assignment:

The purpose of this Assignment is to analyze how people understand the Cold War today. For example, what do everyday people today think of when they hear the term “Cold War”? This is what you are going to find out!

In this Assignment, you will use a research method of a social scientist as you collect brief interviews with three people, asking them about their conceptions of the Cold War. Your interviewees can be anyone of your choosing: family members, friends, and so on.

Below are some suggested questions that you may want to ask:

  1. What words or phrases come to mind when you think of the term Cold War?
  2. Did you ever study the Cold War in school? If so, what are some aspects of the Cold War that you remember?
  3. Who were the parties involved in the Cold War?
  4. Can you name any key events that you mainly associate with the Cold War?

Take notes on what each of your respondents say. You will need these notes to refer to later when you do the formal write-up of the Assignment.

After you have completed the Assignment, write up your findings in a brief essay, which addresses the following:

  1. In the first part of your essay, briefly describe the Cold War in your own words. Remember that citations are needed when you paraphrase information from sources.
  2. Using quotes from your interviews, describe how each of your three respondents understand the Cold War. This is not the same as listing your interview questions and responses. You must group the answers together in a meaningful way and summarize what each person knows about the Cold War, using quotes from the interview to illustrate your findings.
  3. If your respondents’ understanding of the Cold War is different from the way the Cold War is defined in the first section of your essay, explain why that might be the case. (Also, if their definition of the Cold War is very similar, explain this as well.)
  4. You must include a copy of your interview notes. You may attach the notes to your assignment as an appendix or submit in a separate file.
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