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Cold War Vocabulary

Important terms, events, and people of the Cold War Era

TermDefinition
arms race a situation in which countries that are enemies each try to build or collect weapons faster than the other can
Berlin Wall A wall that divided communist East Berlin from non-communist West Berlin from 1961 to 1991
blue collar relating to or having jobs that require physical work
boycott to refuse to buy, use, or participate in (something) as a way of protesting
Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case during the Civil Rights Movement that made schools desegregate, saying that "separate, but equal" was not acceptable
capitalism a way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individual people and companies rather than by the government
civil rights the rights that every person should have regardless of his or her sex, race, or religion
civil rights amendments the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments added to the Constitution during Reconstruction
Cold War the nonviolent conflict between the U.S. and the former U.S.S.R. after World War II
communism a way of organizing a society in which the government owns the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) and there is no privately owned property
commute to travel regularly to and from a place and especially between where you live and where you work
consumerism the belief that it is good for people to spend a lot of money on goods and services
containment actions that are intended to keep an unfriendly government from getting more power
Cuban Missile Crisis Tension between the United States and the Soviet Union over nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962
demilitarized zone to remove weapons and military forces from an area, such as between North and South Korea
desegregation ending a policy that keeps people of different races apart; ending segregation
economy the process or system by which goods and services are produced, sold, and bought in a country or region
equal opportunity when your race, gender, or beliefs cannot keep you from getting a job or from being treated fairly on that job
G.I. Bill a program created after World War II that gave low-cost home loans and college education loans to soldiers
guerilla warfare form of warfare that includes surprise, random attacks, often by fighters not in uniform
ideology the set of ideas and beliefs of a group or political party
Iron Curtain the political and military barrier in the past that separated the communist countries of Europe from the rest of Europe
Korean War War between South Korea (supported by the United States) and North Korea (supported by Communist China) from 1950 - 1953
Marshall Plan Program under which the United States provided funds to help European countries rebuild after World War II
mass media the radio stations, television stations, and newspapers through which information is communicated to the public
McCarthyism the movement led by Senator Joseph McCarthy that was extremely opposed to communism and used unfair investigation practices in the 1950s
Montgomery Bus Boycott a political protest campaign started in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, to oppose the policy of segregation on public transportation
NATO a military alliance among the nations of Western Europe, United States, and Canada in which they agreed to help each other if attacked by the Soviet Union
OPEC an economic alliance, founded in 1960, to coordinate and unify the price and supply of petroleum products
passive resistance Form of protest that does not use violence
Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court ruling that said segregation was okay as long as things were "separate, but equal" in 1896
pop culture The ideas, attitudes, and entertainment that spreads through the everyday life of a society
propaganda ideas or statements that are often false or exaggerated and that are spread in order to help a cause, a political leader, a government, etc.
protest to show or express strong disagreement with or disapproval of something
Red Scare action by the U.S. government against aliens and citizens, suspected of being a Communist or a Communist sympathizer
rock 'n' roll a genre of popular music that began in the United States, and originated in the 1950s
service industry a business that provides services for sale such as restaurants, dry cleaners, transportation, etc.
sit-in a strike or protest in which people sit or stay in a place and refuse to leave until they are given what they demand
space race race between the United States and the Soviet Union to explore outer space during the Cold War
Sputnik 1 the first artificial satellite launched in 1957 by the Soviets that caused a great interest in science in the United States
suburb a town or other area where people live in houses near a larger city
technology the use of science to invent useful things or to solve problems
United Nations an international organization that helps to solve world conflicts peacefully
Vietnam War the United States sent soldiers to South Vietnam to try and prevent communist North Vietnam from taking over the nation
white collar of, relating to, or having the kind of jobs that are done in an office instead of a factory, warehouse, etc.
Rosa Parks Civil rights leader arrested for protesting bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama
Martin Luther King, Jr. Minister who led the Civil Rights movement and believed in peaceful protest
Malcolm X Civil rights activist who urged African Americans to rely on themselves
John F. Kennedy President during the Civil Rights Movement, the Space Race, and the Cuban Missile Crisis
Created by: mrsgannon