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Tension in the Post-War World
Guide: The Freeze: Tensions Escalate

This collection of resources explores the escalation of tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Causes and consequences of Cold War tension, including the launch of Sputnik, the construction of the Berlin Wall, and the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev are explored through primary and secondary sources. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Time Period Key Understandings

  • The struggle for political power can motivate nationalist response among the citizenry
  • Contrasting influences of communism and democracy can lead to difficult and fragmented transitions in political states
  • Geographic containment does not mean ideological containment
  • Ideological wars do not have physical endings
  • The legacies of political leadership and social policy cannot be erased
  • Weapons of mass destruction increase the impact and importance of political policy
  • Nationalism can motivate both national unity and domestic terrorism
  • The global focus on human rights influenced political regimes and economic structures

Key Questions

  • Why did Nikita Khrushchev's plans for de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union meet with failure? What did this mean for the future of the Cold War?
  • Why was the space race so important to both the United States and the Soviet Union? How did competition in this area add to the sense of hostility between the two superpowers?
  • Why did East Germany build the Berlin Wall? Why would the wall become an iconic image of Cold War tensions?


  1. Overview: The Freeze: Tensions Escalate
  2. Outline: Outline
  3. Transcript: Transcript
  4. Lesson: Introduction
  5. Lesson: 1-Rise of NATO and Warsaw Pact
  6. Lesson: 2-Death of Stalin, Rise of Khrushchev
  7. Lesson: 3-Arms Race, Space Race
  8. Lesson: 4-Nonalignment and Bandung Conference
  9. Lesson: 5-Hungarian Revolution and Suez Crisis
  10. Lesson: Closing
  11. Photos & Illustrations: Berlin Blockade (1948)
  12. Photos & Illustrations: Sputnik 10th anniversary stamp (1967)
  13. Photos & Illustrations: Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin: rocket designs
  14. Reference Articles: Berlin Wall
  15. Reference Articles: Cold War
  16. Reference Articles: Sputnik
  17. Biographies: Stalin, Joseph
  18. Biographies: Khrushchev, Nikita
  19. Political Cartoons, Posters & Document Images: Khrushchev, Nikita: memo from U.S. embassy to secretary of state on (1961)
  20. Speeches: Khrushchev, Nikita: speech on the cult of personality (1956)
  21. Maps: Germany, West and East

MLA Citation

"The Freeze: Tensions Escalate." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2020, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Content/2156870?cid=256. Accessed 21 Jan. 2020.

Entry ID: 2156870

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