unit banner

Unit 6: Modern World History

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

Activity 3: The Cold War Expands Regional Conflicts Jigsaw

The competition between two superpowers, along with advances in military technology and nuclear weapons threatened world peace. With nuclear threat looming, the United States and the Soviet Union, became involved in many smaller conflicts, both directly and indirectly, around the globe instead of facing off directly against each other. The Soviet Union, United States, and sometimes China, intervened by providing funds, resources, and sometimes troops for battles in other countries. Some of these conflicts turned into proxy wars, which could be considered the battles of the greater Cold War conflict. During the period of the Cold War there were conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba, Angola, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Israel, and Afghanistan as the two major superpowers competed for influence and allies.

image of classroom blackboard with world history written on it

Classroom Activity - Extension of the Cold War

jigsaw image Jigsaw

Directions: In this activity, you will complete a group jigsaw activity about the role of regional conflicts in the greater Cold War. Use the fact sheets to examine information about these countries. Complete the Jigsaw Graphic Organizer using the information. Your teacher may assign additional research about these countries.

Download Icon Download the Student Resource: Battles of the Cold War Jigsaw Factsheets (pdf)

Download Icon Download the Student Resource: Battles of the Cold War Jigsaw Graphic Organizer (doc)


Discussion Icon Discussion

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

  • What were the causes of regional conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Cuba and how did they become involved in a regional conflict?
  • Explain how these regional wars were incorporated into the larger Cold War.
  • What were the outcomes of these conflicts and how did the involvement of the Cold War powers impact those outcomes?
Download Icon

Select the link to review the Discussion Scoring Tool (pdf).


❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖

The Cold War lasted from 1945 until 1991, and affected almost every country in the world. During this ideological struggle between the United States and Soviet Union, the fight over the spread of communism influenced regional conflicts. As the 20th century progressed, many individuals and groups began to oppose communist policies in Asia and Eastern Europe. Go on to the next activity to learn about how and why individuals challenged the communist system during the Cold War.