Teachers

Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan:
The U.S. Recognition of the State of Israel

Teaching Activities

Standards Correlations

This lesson correlates to the National History Standards.

  • Era 9-Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s)
    • Standard 2B-Demonstrate understanding of U.S. foreign policy in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

This lesson correlates to the National Standards for World History.

Era 9-The 20th Century Since 1945: Promises and Paradoxes

  • Standard 1A-Demonstrate understanding of major political and economic changes that accompanied post-war recovery.

This lesson correlates to the National Standards for Civics and Government.

  • IV.B.3-Students should be able to evaluate, take, and defend positions on foreign policy issues in light of American national interests, values, and principles.

Cross-curricular Connections

Share this exercise with your history, government, geography, and language arts colleagues.

Student Activity

The activity provided is for use with the telegram. (You might choose to design another activity for use with the press release.)

While this document does not lend itself to any critical analysis of the Arab-Israeli conflict, we hope that it will provide a starting point from which to consider the conflict.

Note: The document is signed by Secretary of State George C. Marshall. Loy Henderson, whose name also appears on the document, was director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs, and wrote the document. NIACT is code for "action communications indicator requiring attention by recipient at any hour of the day or night" and related to method of distribution.

Discussion Questions

  1. What kind of document is it?
  2. Who wrote it?
  3. To whom is it addressed?
  4. Does it have any historical significance?
  5. Why do you suppose the document was at one time classified "top secret"?
  6. Write a paragraph describing how you, a U.S. consul (choose in which country you are stationed), might have reacted to receiving this document.

For Further Research

  1. Students should develop a timeline of Arab-Israeli conflict from 1948 to the present. They can use the timeline to research events that they have noted, drawing parallels, making predictions, etc.
  2. Using maps, students should examine changes that have taken place in the area of Palestine over a period of time.
  3. Students should research the political aspects of the U.S. position in the Middle East, considering, for example, Truman's position in view of the 1948 presidential election.

Terms to Define

  • de facto
  • de jure
  • consulate
  • white paper

Additional Information

More information and images of nealy 100 documents related to the recognition of Israel are available on the Project Whistlestop Web site. Project Whistlestop is an online resource of documents, photographs, cartoons, and other archival materials from the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri.

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