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Spy planes, secret codes, red telephones, nuclear missiles…no this isn’t the latest 007 film about to hit a movie theatre near you, these are the things every day Americans experienced, and feared, in the 1960s thanks to the Cold War. Before “shaken not stirred” dominated American pop culture, fear of the U.S.S.R. was the dominant force. As we navigate our way through a Cold War unit students are exploring the different approaches taken by different Presidents from Kennedy to H.W. Bush to diffuse the ever challenging situation with the Soviets. We’ve seen tense moments like the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and the buildup of nuclear arms by President Reagan in the 80s, but also triumphant events like landing a man on the moon in 1969 and tearing down the Berlin Wall in 1989. Throughout the Cold War the most powerful lesson learned is that weapons aren’t necessarily the biggest threat we face but rather the men and women that control them. Diplomacy, conversations, and concessions are what truly ended the Cold War, not bombs and bullets, a valuable lesson for us all as we move forward.