Print this page

High School: U.S. foreign policy since WWII


This guide focuses on high school-level resources to supplement course materials for U.S. Foreign Policy since WWII. This list is modeled on the California Department of Education curriculum guidelines.

Useful search terms for finding resources in the Los Angeles Public Library Catalog:
United States Foreign Relations 1945-1989
United States Foreign Relations Twentieth Century
Using the Enhanced Catalog will allow you to create and save materials lists for future reference.


Hook, Steven W. American foreign policy since World War II. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2007.
Call number: 327.73 S781 2007
Contents: The American approach to foreign policy -- From world war to Cold War -- Containment : from theory to practice -- Developing countries in the crossfire -- Vietnam and the cost of containment -- Détente and world order politics -- The revival of superpower confrontation -- The end of the Cold War -- America's 'unipolar moment' -- Old tensions in a new order -- The shifting European landscape -- America under fire -- Hot wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- A world of trouble -- Appendix A. U.S. administrations since World War II -- Appendix B. Chronology of significant events.

Ambrose, Stephen E. Rise to globalism : American foreign policy since 1938. New York : Penguin Books, 2011
Call number: 327.73 A496 2011
Summary: One of the most lively and provocative interpretive studies of the major events in recent American diplomatic history.' -American Historical Review
Since it first appeared in 1971, Rise to Globalism has sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The ninth edition of this classic survey, now updated through the administration of George W. Bush, offers a concise and informative overview of the evolution of American foreign policy from 1938 to the present, focusing on such pivotal events as World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, and 9/11. Examining everything from the Iran-Contra scandal to the rise of international terrorism, the authors analyze-in light of the enormous global power of the United States-how American economic aggressiveness, racism, and fear of Communism have shaped the nation's evolving foreign policy.

Hahn, Peter L. Crisis and crossfire : the United States and the Middle East since 1945. Washington, D.C. : Potomac Books, Inc., c2005
Call number: 327.73056 H148
Summary: Although it seems almost incredible today, the United States had relatively little interest in the Middle East before 1945. But the dynamics and outcome of World War II elevated the importance of the Middle East in the American mind, and the United States has viewed the region with vital interest to its security and economy ever since.

The projection of American power into the region has had consequences that have forever changed the United States and the Middle East, with the rise of al Qaeda and the turbulent occupation of Iraq being the latest examples. Crisis and Crossfire surveys and analyzes the broad contours of U.S. involvement in the region. It probes the reasons why the United States implemented various policies and assesses the wisdom of American leaders as they accepted greater responsibilities for preserving stability and security in the Middle East. Major themes include U.S.-Middle East policy in the context of the Cold War, the rise of Arab and Iranian nationalism, decolonization, the U.S. approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the politics of Western dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and America "s military interventions, particularly its two wars against Iraq. This book "s concise narrative and selection of primary-source documents make it an ideal introduction to U.S.-Middle East relations for students and for anyone with an interest in understanding the history behind today’s events.

Eagle rules? : foreign policy and American primacy in the twenty-first century. Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Prentice Hall, c2002.
Call number: 327.73 E11-2
Summary: This important and original volume assesses what we now know about world politics and American foreign policy after more than a decade of the post-Cold War era, and the wider implications of this experience both for the U.S role in the 21st Century and for international relations more broadly. The chapter authors are leading authorities in their fields, and their contributions integrate both foreign and domestic setting for foreign policy. Part I looks at public opinion, debates about humanitarian intervention, the use of force in foreign conflicts, and congressional-executive relations in the making of foreign policy. Part II deals with the key regional issues confronting the United States, including the Middle East, Europe, Russia, China and East Asia, Latin America and Africa. Part III addresses major functional topics, including international economics and trade, defense policy, proliferation, “rogue” states, the environment, and America's relationship to the United Nations.For individuals interested in the United State's degree of international primacy—the impact of domestic politics on its world role, and the longer-term implications of foreign policy.

The new American empire : a 21st century teach-in on U.S. foreign policy. New York : New Press, c2005.
Call number: 327.73 N5325-2
Summary: In The New American Empire, leading authorities on U.S. foreign policy examine the historical underpinnings of the new American unilateralism. Offering an accessible, critical overview of U.S. policy in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, they assess both the distinct continuities between past and present U.S. policy, as well as what makes the current administration's policies dramatically different. The essays also reveal how those policies serve the ends of favored groups for whom imperialism pays both ideologically and materially.
Both an essential historical primer on America's new imperial role and a thorough dissection of the Bush administration's foreign policy objectives, in The New American Empire is sure to become a touchstone for understanding America's role in the twenty-first-century world.
Contributors include: Michael Adas, John Dower, Lloyd Gardner, Carole Gluck, Gregory Grandin, Thomas McCormick, Mary Nolan, John Prados, Edward Rhodes, and Marilyn Young.


U.S. Foreign Policy Since World War II. C-SPAN Video Library, October 4, 1993.
The Institute for Policy Studies celebrated its 30th anniversary by holding a conference featuring discussions about a wide range of public policy issues. The panelists discussed a progressive approach to public policy issues since World War II.

Noam Chomsky on the world : the Chomsky sessions [videorecording]. Visual Materials. Docurama Films, c2008.

Why we fight [videorecording]. Visual Materials. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, c2006.

20th century with Mike Wallace. [videorecording] / America at war. Visual Materials. CBS DVD ;, [2010].

Databases accessible via

African American Experience
Over 400 references, scholarly works, primary documents and papers, photographs, audio clips, maps and over 4,000 slave narratives explore their history and contemporary culture in the United States. Includes a timeline and lesson plans.

General OneFile (Gale)
News and periodical articles on a wide range of topics: business, computers, current events, economics, education, environmental issues, health, hobbies, humanities, law, literature and art, politics, science, social science, sports, technology with many full-text articles.

History In Context: U.S. (Gale)
Covers all areas of U.S. history focusing on the most significant people, events and topics from pre-colonial times to the present day seen through primary documents, original reference sources, newspaper/journal articles, images, videos, audio files, and links to vetted websites.

Latino American Experience
Over 200 volumes of content, from encyclopedias to biographies, and primary documents dating from pre-Colonial civilizations that explore their history and contemporary culture in the United States. Includes a timeline, images, maps, and lesson plans.

Milestone Documents in American History
Salem History e-Book. Primary source documents with expert analysis and commentary covering the Revolutionary era to the 21st century.

Opposing Viewpoints In Context: (Gale)
Pro and con arguments with contextual information and opinions on hundreds of today's hottest social issues drawn from news articles, journals, primary source documents, statistics, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites.

ProQuest Newsstand:
Full text of over 300 U.S. and International news sources, including the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Sentinel, Orange County Register, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Boston Globe, Atlanta Journal/Constitution, Sacramento Bee, and the Times of London.

Research Library (Proquest):
General interest magazines on a broad range of subjects from arts, business, children, health, humanities, international, law, military, psychology, social sciences, women's interests and more.

Websites U.S. Department of State: Office of the Historian. U.S. Building on its long tradition of working with the academic community, the Office of the Historian has expanded its outreach efforts by producing quality teaching materials on diplomacy for American middle and high school students. The section is divided into 18 basic time periods. Brief introductions to each of these 18 time periods provide some historical context for the information contained in the essays on specific historical events between 1750 and the present. Library Of Congress, Teacher Resource page
The Library of Congress offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the Library's vast digital collections in their teaching. Teachers may search for materials that match specific state, grade, and subject criteria. University of Colorado, Boulder Libraries. Government Information. Foreign Policy and International Aid Resources Page. Includes links to electronic stores of: primary source materials, (U.S. or U.N. documents), secondary sources, and related topics.

Miriam Touchton
Children’s Librarian II