The Marshall Plan: Altruism or Pragmatism?

» 23 February 2015 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments

Europe_Plan_Marshall._Poster_1947My Social Studies Methods class at the University of Portland recently published a free multi-touch iBook - Exploring History: Vol II. It features ten engaging questions and historic documents that empower students to be the historian in the classroom. For more info on our project and free download of multi-touch iBook version click here.

To better publicize student work, I’m featuring each chapter in it’s own blog post. More in series here.

Essential Question: What does it mean to be the victor in war? Is there a responsibility to rebuild the enemy?

The Marshall Plan: Altruism or Pragmatism?
by Samuel Kimerling Download as PDF (11.7MB)

After WWII the United States gave more than $12.5 billion in aid to Europe. Was this all in the name of humanitarian aid? Or were there other economic and political goals behind the plan? This monumental effort raises some important questions regarding the nature of post-war policy.

  • What does it mean to be the victor in war?
  • Is there a responsibility to rebuild the enemy?
  • Does the price you pay for victory entitle you to spoils?
  • Did the Marshall Plan represent altruism on the part of the U.S. or pragmatism in gaining economic and strategic advantages?

We will examine original documents to answer these questions.

Reflection by Samuel Kimerling

After switching my topic from the more obscure food history topic to the much more document rich Marshall Plan, my issue was not where to find documents, but just the opposite. There were so many great documents, I found myself following lead after lead on possible directions to take the assignment.  While I learned a tremendous amount about the Marshall Plan, the state of Europe after WWII, and the different opinions throughout U.S. and Europe about the plan, I didn't feel like I was getting any closer to completing the assignment. But I was finding photos, documents, and getting more information. Through this research I was able to narrow my focus and choose an angle on which to focus: the differing views on the Marshall Plan from Europe, Russia, and at home in the U.S.. My next challenge was to step away from the history and just look at the documents.  What was I trying to say? What were the documents telling me?  I finally focused on assembling documents that could tell a story.  Once I had a clear narrative of what I wanted the students to see, the guiding questions practically wrote themselves. This assignment has been exciting for me on two main levels.  First learning how to write this type of assignment for my students will be something I will continue to work on throughout my career. I am a big believer in having students think like historians.  The other facet is just how much I enjoyed researching the history surrounding the Marshall Plan. Reading all the documents and seeing all the photos was like a DBQ itself.  I will continue to practice, learn, and hopefully inspire my students to do the same.
~ Sam Kimerling Twitter/@kimerlin171 

Image credit: "Europe Plan Marshall. Poster 1947" by Reijn Dirksen, published Economic Cooperation Administration - Source. Licensed under Domini públic via Wikimedia Commons

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Combat Troops in Context: A Visual Literacy DBQ

» 16 February 2015 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments

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This DBQ project explores posters, videos and other media that contribute to the popular image of the soldier in the minds of the American people.

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New Deal Poster DBQ: Public Persuasion or Propaganda

» 03 February 2015 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments

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This DBQ uses WWII-era WPA posters to examine how art can be used to influence public opinion. Key questions guide student through a close reading of the works.

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Perspectives on the US Immigration Debate: 1920s DBQ

» 13 January 2015 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments

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This DBQ assignment is meant for students to view the issue of immigration through various primary sources based on the perceptions of different individuals and groups from the 1920s. As you look over them, consider the various perceptions of immigration throughout the 1920s. What was the reasoning and motivations behind these differing beliefs? How did different groups or individuals view immigrants and immigration? What did these same individuals and groups believe should be done with immigrants? How are their arguments similar and different?

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Little Rock Nine: Evaluating Historical Sources

» 09 January 2015 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments

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This chapter examines the historic setting of the Little Rock Nine though a variety of documents. They include news photographs of the events, governor’s proclamation, historic essays, Presidential speech, TV news reports and video reflections by participants. Your task is to examine the context of these documents and decide which are most helpful to your understanding of the conflict.

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WWI and Chemical Warfare: Shaping World Opinion

» 06 January 2015 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments

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Students examine images, text and ephemera from WWI to develop an answer to the question: How did the experience of WWI shape international opinion of chemical weapons?

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The Pig War: Constructing Historic Narrative

» 22 December 2014 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, Publishing, Students » No Comments

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Here’s a chapter from my latest student-designed iBook “Exploring History: Vol II.” The Pig War by Andy Saxton – s tudents are given historic documents related to the US / British Border Dispute of 1859 (the Pig War) and asked to reconstruct a historic narrative.

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The American Revolution: Historic Thinking DBQ

» 17 December 2014 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, Publishing, Students » No Comments

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Here’s a chapter from my latest student-designed iBook “Exploring History: Vol II.” The American Revolution by Scott Deal explores the motivations that drove colonial action.

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Exploring History in 10 Interactive Lessons

» 04 December 2014 » In History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments

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Ten engaging questions and historic documents empower students to be the historian in the classroom. Free at iTunes and as downloadable PDF.

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Segregated America’s TripAdvisor

» 11 November 2014 » In History / DBQ's » No Comments

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Explore the “Negro Travelers’ Green Book,” a guide for Black American travelers in Jim Crow America. It includes two archival editions (1949 and 1956), a documentary video, and an interactive Google map of “Negro-friendly” establishments across America in 1956.

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