Food Today, Freedom Tomorrow
This lesson introduces students to pivotal leadership decisions at the end of WWII. At that point, the United States had a keen interest in containing communism, but no plan served as a precedent for accomplishing that goal. Through the materials provided in this lesson, students explore the living conditions and needs of people in Europe, why communism was a threat under these adverse conditions and then they review solutions offered by General George C. Marshall and President Truman. As part of the lesson, students evaluate the solutions and explain how they relate to the concept of containment.
This lesson can stand alone or be a perfect introduction to a visit to Dodona Manor which is located in Leesburg, VA and can be visited throughout the year by students. See our Field Trip Guide for more information on site visits.
Explain how the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine Contributed to the Containment of Communism after WWII
Objective: Students will:
- Interpret primary documents from the post WWII era
- Examine leadership decisions made by President Truman and General George C. Marshall
- Explore the economic conditions of war-ravaged Europe in 1947
- Understand the term containment and how it applies to United States Foreign Policy after WWII.
- Identify how the Truman Doctrine and Marshall plan related to the concept of
Materials: Access to the following articles:
- When Winter Comes, an article from Time Magazine, September 15, 1947. This piece describes the food situation and conditions following the war
- Truman Doctrine Speech from March 12, 1947 outlining his plan to help Turkey and Greece.
- Top Secret, a confidential report on the Soviet opposition to the Recovery Program
- The Marshall Plan.
- Download the Investigate Form [a PDF document] for use in the Classroom activities
1. Divide class into two groups. One group will represent Communist ideas and the second group will represent the principles of Non-Communists. Then, divide the two groups in half and give each group one of the articles outlined below.
- Group A of the Non-Communist side receives a folder with the article When Winter Comes, from Time Magazine, September 15, 1947. This piece describes the food situation and conditions following the war.
- Group B of the Non-Communist side receives the Truman Doctrine Speech from March 12, 1947 outlining his plan to help Turkey and Greece.
- Group C of the Communist group receives Top Secret, a confidential report on the Soviet opposition to the Recovery Program
- Group D of the Communist group receives The Marshall Plan.
2. Ask students to read their article independently. While reading, students may answer questions from the Investigate form (See above).
3. As a team, ask students to read the following question and then to share ideas in their small group. They should be prepared to present their ideas to the class in a two minute presentation.
The Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine were plans to help Europe rebuild after the war.
Think: How do these plans relate to the containment of Communism?
- Invite a guest speaker to visit with the class who lived in Europe directly after WWII to share his/her experiences with the class. If in Loudoun County, George Kakouras, the owner of the Purceville Restaurant, is an ideal candidate. He was seven years old and living in Greece in 1947. Mr. Kakouras enjoys visiting with students and explaining how the Marshall Plan brought food to their country and saved thousands of lives, including his sister who was already showing signs of a swollen stomach from hunger. He also describes the affects of a lack of salt and provides a compelling story about how he arrived in America.
Teachers describe this speaker as friendly and excellent with children. He may even be willing to meet students at Dodona Manor for the tour.
2. Visit Dodona Manor for more information about the contributions of General George C. Marshall and his experiences as Secretary of State.
Virginia Standards of Learning Connections (SOL’s)VUS.12
The student will demonstrate knowledge of United States foreign policy since World War II by
- describing outcomes of World War II, including political boundary changes, the formation of the United Nations, and the Marshall Plan;
- explaining the origins of the Cold War, and describing the Truman Doctrine and the policy of containment of communism, the American role in wars in Korea and Vietnam, and the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Europe;