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From ABC-CLIO's History Hub website

Use this collection of primary and secondary sources to study the expansion of Soviet influence during the Cold War. The influences of the Brezhnev Doctrine and the development of nuclear technologies during this time period are explored in depth. 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

  • During the Cold War, how were American and Soviet values seen as conflicting with each other? Why do you think each side viewed the other as such a threat?
  • How was mutually assured destruction (MAD) a central concept of the Cold War period?
  • Why did Fidel Castro's regime in Cuba become part of the Cold War struggle between the two superpowers? How did the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis affect Cold War tensions?
  • How could the results of the Brezhnev Doctrine be viewed as both extending the Cold War and contributing to its eventual end?


  1. Overview: Expansion of Soviet Influence
  2. Outline: Outline
  3. Transcript: Transcript
  4. Lesson: Introduction
  5. Lesson: 1-War of Ideology in a MAD World
  6. Lesson: 2-Cuban Revolution and Cuban Missile Crisis
  7. Lesson: 3-Proxy Wars
  8. Lesson: 4-Prague Spring and Brezhnev Doctrine
  9. Lesson: Closing
  10. Photos & Illustrations: Castro, Fidel: with Nikita Khrushchev
  11. Photos & Illustrations: Cold War: missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead
  12. Photos & Illustrations: Soviet missile on parade (1963)
  13. Reference Articles: Brezhnev Doctrine
  14. Reference Articles: Cuban Missile Crisis
  15. Reference Articles: Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)
  16. Biographies: Castro, Fidel
  17. Political, Government & Court Documents: Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (1968)
  18. Speeches: Castro, Fidel: Second Declaration of Havana (1962)


Select Citation Style: 
MLA Citation
"Expansion of Soviet Influence." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2020, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.
Chicago Citation
"Expansion of Soviet Influence." In History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2020. Accessed February 18, 2020.
APA Citation
Expansion of Soviet Influence. (2020). In History Hub. Retrieved from
Entry ID: 2156867