Lesson Plan

Conflict! The Eisenhower Years: Lesson 2

American troops fighting in Italy during WWII
American troops fighting in Italy during WWII
Grade Level:
Eighth Grade-Twelfth Grade
History, International Relations
30 mins.
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
PA Education Standards:
Civics and Govt. 5.3.9, 5.3.12, 5.4.9, 5.4.12
Reading, Writing, Speaking... 1.6.8 D, 1.6.11 D
History 8.3.9 D, 8.3.12 D


Students need a basic grounding in the history of international conflicts so that they can better understand the seminal role that Dwight D. Eisenhower played in resolving many of the most important conflicts of the Twentieth Century.  In this lesson, students discuss an essay by former President Jimmy Carter on the history of war.  They also apply what they learned in Lesson 1.


Students will be able to discuss and describe causes of war throughout the centuries, how war has changed, and whether or not there is such a thing as a "just war."

Students will be able to research, analyze, and categorize current conflicts



Conflict! The Eisenhower Years: Lesson 2 Materials:
Includes a copy of Handout #3, "Making War: Centuries of Conflict," for each student.

Newspapers and news magazines.Several copies of today's newspaper will be especially helpful.


Lead students in a discussion of the key ideas presented in "Making War."

What is the reason that conflict occurs?
Conflict occurs when interests differ.

What are some ways of resolving conflicts?
Resorting to violence (waging war)
Negotiating or mediating to reach a compromise
Engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience to point out the absence of agreement

Do you think war is ever justified? What makes a war a "just" war?
Students will offer various answers

How has war changed in the 20th century?
The danger to civilian populations increased dramatically
Modern weapons have increased the number of casualties

What led to the development of the cold war?
The globe was nearly evenly split between the influence of two powers. There was always relative equality between the two countries - both militarily and economically. At no point did either side feel confident in its ability to win a war against the other.

Ask students to think about the wars that are going on in the world now. Ask them to talk about the nature of those wars. (Many are civil wars.)

Divide students into small groups. Give each group one or more old newspapers or news magazines. Ask students to cut out stories and photographs that represent each of the five types of conflict identified in Lesson 1. Ask students to report back on their findings to the class.

Say, "Many of the conflicts described by former President Carter were ones in which Dwight Eisenhower played a major role. In the next lesson, we will learn, we will learn more about how he responded to the other conflicts he faced in his own life and in the world."



Additional Activity for Follow-up:

Students may create a bulletin board based on the information they learn in this activity.

Check out the other lessons:

Lesson 1: Conflict and Its Resolution

Lesson 2: Causes of International Conflict

Lesson 3: Eisenhower and his Times

Lesson 4: Conflicts Eisenhower Faced

Lesson 5: How Would Eisenhower Have Handled It?

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