The Best Cold War Multiple Choice Test Questions

for history teachers the cold war
Cold War Test Questions

Testing students' knowledge of the Cold War era can be challenging, but by using well-designed multiple choice questions, it doesn't have to be!


As history and social studies teachers, one of our main goals is to ensure that our students have a deep understanding of the events that shaped our world. One of the most significant events in world history is the Cold War Era, which lasted from the end of World War II in 1945 to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.


Through the use of well-thought-out multiple choice test questions, we can promote critical thinking and ensure that our students have a solid understanding of the major events, alliances, and players involved!


High-Level Overview of the Cold War

***(if you're already well versed in the Cold War, go ahead and skip ahead to the next part of the article!)***


Let's start with some background information. At the end of World War II, the world was divided into two spheres of influence: the Western powers, led by the United States, and the Soviet Union and its allies in the East. The term "Iron Curtain" was coined by Winston Churchill in 1946 to describe the division between these two spheres. The Soviet Union established communist governments in Eastern European countries, while the United States and its allies in Western Europe worked to rebuild their economies through the Marshall Plan, an economic program designed to help Europe recover from the devastation of the war.


The main goal of the Truman Doctrine, announced in 1947, was to contain the spread of communism by providing economic, military, and political assistance to democratic nations under the threat of communist influence/forces. This doctrine played a major role in shaping U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War Era. The North Atlantic Treaty, signed in 1949, created the following alliances: NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East.


One of the first major events of the Cold War was the Berlin Blockade in 1948, when the Soviet Union blocked all road, rail, and water access to West Berlin. In response, the United States and its allies initiated the Berlin airlift, which brought food and supplies to the city by air. The Berlin airlift was a major victory for the Western powers and demonstrated the power of their military forces.


Download a FREE WEEK of lesson plans HERE!


The Soviet Union continued to expand its sphere of influence throughout the world, including in Latin America, where the U.S. government worked to prevent the spread of communism. In the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, North Korea, backed by the Soviet Union and China, invaded South Korea, which was supported by the United States and its allies. The outcome of the war was a stalemate, and the country remained divided into North and South.


In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, which led to the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The U.S. government increased its military spending in response to the perceived threat of nuclear war, and the doctrine of "flexible response" was developed to ensure that the U.S. military had the capability to respond to a range of threats.


The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 was one of the most dangerous moments of the Cold War. The Soviet Union placed nuclear missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles from the United States, and the U.S. government responded with a naval blockade of Cuba. After tense negotiations, the Soviet Union agreed to remove the missiles, and the crisis was averted.


The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 marked the end of the Cold War Era. The United States emerged as the sole superpower in the world, and the Soviet sphere of influence came to an end.


Cold War Test - Multiple Choice Questions

The first step is to establish clear learning objectives based on state standards or learning goals for your class. Next, create a test blueprint that outlines the topics, concepts, and skills that will be covered on the test.


When creating the test questions, make sure to include a mix of factual and analytical questions that require critical thinking. Here are some sample questions (of varying difficulty levels) to help get you started:


Which of the following countries was NOT a member of the Warsaw Pact?

A. Poland

B. Hungary

C. Czechoslovakia

D. West Germany

Answer: D.) West Germany



What was the main goal of the Truman Doctrine?

A. To provide assistance to democratic nations under threat from authoritarian forces

B. To provide assistance to communist nations under threat from free market forces

C. To rebuild Europe after World War II

D. To strengthen the United Nations

Answer: A.) To provide assistance to democratic nations under threat from authoritarian forces



What was the outcome of the Korean War?

A. North Korea won and established a unified communist Korea

B. South Korea won and established a unified democratic Korea

C. The country remained divided into North and South

D. The United States and China signed a peace treaty to end the war

Answer: C.) The country remained divided into North and South



Which Soviet leader launched the policy of glasnost and perestroika in the 1980s?

A. Joseph Stalin

B. Nikita Khrushchev

C. Leonid Brezhnev

D. Mikhail Gorbachev

Answer: D.) Mikhail Gorbachev



Which U.S. president played a major role in the Cuban Missile Crisis?

A. John F. Kennedy

B. Lyndon B. Johnson

C. Richard Nixon

D. Ronald Reagan

Answer: A.) John F. Kennedy


When creating multiple choice questions, be sure to avoid questions that are too easy or too difficult!


The questions should be challenging enough to encourage critical thinking but not so difficult that they discourage students from trying. You may also want to consider using a platform like Google Docs to create and administer the test, as it allows you to easily share and grade the test online.


By establishing clear learning objectives, creating a test blueprint, and crafting a mix of factual and analytical questions, you'll be helping your students develop a deep understanding of this important period in world history!



  • Spending more time on teaching and less on lesson plans

  • More time on nights and weekends to share with friends and loved ones

  • No longer endlessly searching for amazing lesson plans and resources  


Click HERE to learn more about my amazing history curriculum bundles!

I *think* you'll be happy you did 😉


Check out what other teachers are saying about my bundles!



Thanks so much for reading!

-Jillian (a.k.a. the "Lesson Plan Guru")  


Related Articles:











Receive a FREE Week of Lesson Plans!

Join my mailing list to receive exclusive offers and promotions, the latest tips, and news on product updates!
Don't worry, your information will NEVER be shared.

I hate SPAM too and will NEVER sell it to a third-party. EVER



Presidents Day Escape Rooms for 5th-8th Grade! (2024)

Feb 01, 2024

New England Colonies Fun Facts for Your History Class

Which Type of School Teacher are YOU? The 16 Types of Teachers

Nov 15, 2023

33 Fun Thanksgiving and Pilgrims Facts for ANY Class!

Nov 03, 2023