For over four decades, the world teetered on the brink of all-out nuclear war. Locked in the ultimate struggle for world domination were two superpowers; the USA and the USSR. Whilst the two had been allies against Hitler and the Nazis, their politics, economies and lifestyle were so diametrically opposed that, once the unifying element of the common enemy was defeated, they looked towards each other as the next threat, in what became known as the Cold War.
For students, it can be difficult to understand why two countries that had fought alongside each other in World War II so quickly turned against one another. It can make a great difference to their comprehension of the subject if they have the opportunity to really understand the social and political contexts that led to the outbreak of the Cold War. A school history trip to Moscow, at the heart of the former Soviet Union; or Berlin, the much-squabbled over city that bore much of the tension, is a fantastic way to do this.
What’s great about studying the Cold War, with regards to school history trips, is the fact that it is still very recent history and this means that there remain plenty of authentic sites to visit, as well as many local people who remember the period in great detail.
We arrange many school Cold War history trips each year, so here are some of our ideas to make your tour unforgettable:
•Take a tour of authentic sites
o At certain sites you may have the chance to meet with locals who remember the period. This is the case at the Hohenschönhausen Stasi Memorial in Berlin, where a former inmate can tell your students about their experience of being held there as a political prisoner.
•Visit museums that paint a picture of the period
o At the fantastic DDR Museum in Berlin, the interactive exhibits will allow your students to step back in time to experience what it was like to live in East Germany. Alternatively, the House on the Embankment Museum in Moscow will show your students how the Stalinist nobility lived, before their leader turned on them during the Great Terror of 1937-38.
•Travel to Moscow to learn about the origins of the Cold War
o The State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia is a fantastic place to learn about the Russian Revolution that led to the establishment of Communism in Russia and the Soviet system. Visit Lenin’s Mausoleum, the Kremlin and Red Square to learn about the power of Soviet Union.
•Travel to Berlin to learn more about the escalation of the Cold War and the collapse of Communism
o Visit the Berlin Wall Documentation Centre and the Checkpoint Charlie Museum to find out more about the erection of the Wall and the division of Germany and stop by the Stasi Museum to learn about mass surveillance in East Germany.
We hope that this has given you some ideas for your next school Cold War history trip! Remember, all our tours are tailor-made to meet your curriculum requirements. Contact us today to find out what we can arrange for your group.