Listen&Learn: The Cold War

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • rivalry: a competitive relationship between two people or groups
  • ideology: a set of political beliefs
  • capitalism: an economic system where corporations control the production of goods and services
  • communism: an economic system where the government controls the production of goods and services
  • restrict: to put limits on something
  • treaty: a written agreement between countries

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

The Cold War was a rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted from 1947 to 1991. It was caused by the opposing ideologies of the American and Soviet . While the U.S. was a capitalist country, the Soviet Union had a communist system. After World War II, the Soviets controlled communist governments in Eastern Europe, while the Americans were allied with democratic governments in Western Europe. The divide between Eastern and Western Europe became known as the Iron Curtain. Throughout the Cold War, both the Soviet Union and the U.S. tried to prove their superiority by gathering and testing nuclear . While the two countries never each other directly, they became involved in conflicts between other countries. In the 1980s, the U.S. and the Soviet Union began to sign agreements restricting nuclear weapons. However, the treaties divided the citizens of the Soviet Union. Some people still strongly communism, and didn’t want to make peace with the United States. Others wanted to convert to a capitalist system. This division eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, which ended the Cold War.

Comprehension questions

1. The Cold War started in

Correct! Wrong!

The Cold War started in 1947.

2. The government of the Soviet Union was

Correct! Wrong!

The government of the Soviet Union was communist.

3. In the 1980s, the two countries agreed to

Correct! Wrong!

In the 1980s, the two countries agreed to restrict nuclear weapons.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Some historians have debated about which country was at fault for the Cold War. However, many believe that the Cold War was always going to happen, because the U.S. and the Soviet Union were powerful countries with opposing beliefs. Do you think it is possible for two powerful countries with different ideologies to exist without conflict?

Transcript

The Cold War was a political rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted from 1947 to 1991. It was caused by the opposing ideologies of the American and Soviet governments. While the U.S. was a capitalist country, the Soviet Union had a communist system. After World War II, the Soviets controlled communist governments in Eastern Europe, while the Americans were allied with democratic governments in Western Europe. The divide between Eastern and Western Europe became known as the Iron Curtain. Throughout the Cold War, both the Soviet Union and the U.S. tried to prove their superiority by gathering and testing nuclear weapons. While the two countries never fought each other directly, they became involved in conflicts between other countries. In the 1980s, the U.S. and the Soviet Union began to sign agreements restricting nuclear weapons. However, the treaties divided the citizens of the Soviet Union. Some people still strongly supported communism, and didn’t want to make peace with the United States. Others wanted to convert to a capitalist system. This division eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, which ended the Cold War.

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub

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