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Primary Source Analysis of a Historical Argument

Several textbook chapters have addressed the United States’ World War II effort and the nation’s fierce competition with the Soviet Union in the next decades. The evolving relationship between the two countries—from allies fighting Nazi Germany during the war to main adversaries of the Cold War era—defined the geopolitical climate for much of the twentieth century. Shaping the ways in which different groups of citizens viewed the communist sphere, the shift impacted American political discourse and popular culture.

In your final paper for this course, you will draw on your contextual knowledge and evaluate two primary sources from the period to advance a historical argument that analyzes the changing relationship between the two powers.

The first part of your paper (up to one-third of essay text) needs to explain the changes that occurred in the American-Soviet relationship between the early 1940s and the late 1940s. Based on what you learned from the textbook, characterize the evolution of the relations in the context of military, political, economic, social, and cultural developments. The second part of your essay (at least two-thirds of the text) needs to explain how two Hollywood films—The North Star (1943) and The Red Menace (1949)—expressed and reflected these changes.

Compare and contrast significant elements (such as plot, characters, setting, dialogue, music etc.) of the two films to advance a historical argument that captures what the films say about American-Soviet relations and the ways in which different groups of Americans reacted/responded to them as they changed.

Write a coherent, argument-driven, and evidence-based paper that grounds your own analysis of the primary sources in the larger historical context. Use (and cite) the textbook for contextualization. Base your analysis on your evaluation of the films and refrain from using outside sources.

Connect the films in meaningful ways and do not merely summarize the plots. To cite the films, identify names of characters, or refer to creative professionals involved in their production, use the information provided on IMDb (see citation examples below prompt.)

Make sure your paper begins with an introduction, continues with thematic body paragraphs, and ends with a conclusion. Your introduction must feature a straightforward thesis statement that captures your historical argument. Each body
paragraphs needs to address a specific element/theme/topic.

Format your paper in accordance with the standards of the Chicago Manual of Style. Identify all directly and indirectly cited content with Chicago-style footnotes. Include a Chicago-style bibliography at the end. Put all text in Arial 12pt font (and put all footnote text in Arial 10pt). Double-space all text (except for footnote text and the bibliography).

Use margins of one inch on each side of each page. Indent the first line of each paragraph. Paginate the paper throughout and include a word count at the end. Your paper needs to be between 1,000 and 1,200 words (not counting the bibliography) in length.

The Grading Rubric provides details on what criteria papers have to meet. By all means, consider working with the Department of History’s writing tutors in the process of
completing the assignment. (Grading rubric attached under additional material)

Footnote:
The North Star, directed by Lewis Milestone (USA, 1943), Stream.

Bibliography:
Milestone, Lewis, dir. The North Star. USA, 1943. Stream.

SOURCES TO BE CITED:

The North Star
Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjVjcBetz9k

The Red Menace
Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KWHDNPdoCg

PLEASE MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS!
I expect full analysis of the sources and clear connection to the relevant time period as stated in the instructions, as this will count as 30% of my grade.

Refer to grading attached under “Additional Material.”

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