Cold War

Yalta Conference 1945: Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt (INF 14/447)
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How did relations between the wartime allies turn frosty?

This workshop considers the causes of the Cold War, using documents from Cabinet Minutes, the Prime Minister’s records and Foreign Office files. It focuses on three main elements: Soviet Policy 1945-48, Churchill and the Iron Curtain speech, and the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Aid.

The workshop begins by considering ‘what is evidence’? Students are encouraged to think about how documents are used as evidence and the questions that historians need to ask when faced with this evidence.

The second activity involves a close study of a cartoon taken from the British newspaper The Evening Standard, published in 1948. Both of these activities help students to develop their skills of document analysis and evaluation, before they are faced with original files regarding the Cold War.

For the main activity, students are divided into groups to study a selection of documents. They study footage showing the meeting of the ‘Big Three’ at Yalta, as well as Ministry of Information documents produced during the war. Students are given the opportunity to analyse each in turn, to determine what the official view of the relationship between USSR and Britain was from 1941. At the end of the session, students are given the opportunity to present their findings to the rest of the group.

This session is delivered as a workshop. Find out more about the types of session we offer.

Session options

This session is delivered as a:


at The National Archives

2 hours

Available: All year

Cost: Free to UK schools

Suitability: Key stage 5

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Contact us

All activities must be booked in advance.

Tel: +44 (0)20 8392 5365

Fax: +44 (0)20 8487 9202

Contact the education team