The Cold War was an ideological, and sometimes military, struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union. By the 1950s, these tensions were seen in Latin America, and revolutions, coups, and uprisings became commonplace throughout most of the latter half of the twentieth century.

Putin’s Nuclear Threats Evoke Cold War Tensions of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Russia’s recent nuclear threats have revived Cold War animosity with roots in the Cuban missile crisis. During ​a standoff in 1962, a tense confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union nearly resulted in a nuclear war.

Dictators and Civil Wars: The Cold War in Latin America

Driven by fears of the rise of communism, the United States adopted a policy of containment, intervening in the politics of countries across the globe. In Latin America, the consequences of those efforts are still unfolding today. This lesson and activity are designed to have students examine the extent of Cold War tensions and upheaval in Latin America.

Interactive Map: Cold War in Latin America

This interactive map enables students to examine key Cold War events throughout Latin America across four decades. It includes photos, videos, and additional resources for further investigation.

Political Cartoon Analysis

This lesson, or set of three possible lessons, uses the Library of Congress protocol for analyzing political cartoons as a means for examining Cold War tensions in Latin America. The activities are designed for students to complete on their own or in small groups.

The Murder of US Churchwomen in El Salvador That Exposed a Government Coverup

The murder of four American churchwomen focused attention on the United States’ involvement in El Salvador. This lesson examines how the actions of the Reagan administration were in line with and a departure from previous administrations.

Massacre in El Salvador (Excerpts)

Massacre in El Salvador, a collaboration with Frontline and ProPublica, tells the story of the worst massacre in recent Latin American history. Here, journalist Raymond Bonner and photographer Susan Meiselas talk about discovering the massacre.

See additional segments from this film, including U.S. involvement here, and learn more about the massacre’s legacy today here.

This activity asks students to examine primary sources, analyze evidence and evaluate a case study within the context of the Cold War in Latin America.

How A Folk Singer’s Murder Forced Chile to Confront Its Past

Victor Jara was a legendary Chilean folk singer and political activist whose brutal murder during a military coup in 1973 went unsolved for decades. This film helps students examine the rise of Augusto Pinochet in the context of the Cold War.