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Unit 6: Modern World History

Lesson A: 20th Century Global Politics - The Cold War

Activity 1: China and the Cold War

China played a central role in the Cold War - it was not just an observer of the world-wide scene. Political scientists Andrew J. Nathan and Robert S. Ross observed:

"During the Cold War, China was the only major country that stood at the intersection of the two superpower camps, a target of influence and enmity (hostility) for both."
[ Andrew J. Nathan and Robert S. Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress: China's Search for Security (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997), 13.]

Simply put, China's enormous size and population could not be ignored by either the United States or the Soviet Union.

Directions: View the flash China and the Cold War to review the geography of China and the civil war in China, and to learn how China became an important player in the Cold War. Be sure to review the discussion questions that follow the presentation so you are prepared to participate in the class discussion.


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Classroom Activity - China and the Cold War

Discussion Icon Discussion

Directions: Prepare a response to the discussion questions below. Follow your teacher’s directions to participate in your class discussion.

  • Historically, China was a very powerful country. What physical features of China help make it powerful?
  • Why do you think Asia was a battleground between communism and capitalism?
  • Which major power, the United States or Soviet Union, do you think had more influence over China?


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