How can you tell if a historical source is tainted with bias or a specific agenda To evaluate the accuracy of a historical source, one of the first considerations is the author. An author’s credentials in the field are an indication that the material may be objective. However, that alone is no guarantee. Determine when and where the material was published and check to see if a private group or an organization with a political agenda funded it. If it is a primary source it is open to interpretation, but if it is a secondary source an interpretation has already been made. The source of the material will often be an indication of its reliability. If a writing about FDR appears on a website called "IHateTheNewDeal.com", it may not be biased. As a rule, books that have been edited by an organization or peer reviewed material are less biased. After gaining confidence in the author and the source, the work needs to be critically examined.
Determine who the intended audience is. If it is a general interest book, it may not be as accurate as a book that was intended for a college course. Read the text with a critical eye and look for overly passionate language or emotionally charged phrases. This is a sign that the author is injecting their own opinion. Does the material make sense If you can find holes in the author’s arguments, then you need to crosscheck the writer’s facts with other sources. See if the evidence that the author uses is factual and cited. If the sources of the facts are not referenced, the work may be suspect.
Was the policy of "containment" a reasonable response to the postwar tensions between the US and the USSR What other policy, if any, might the US have pursued instead, and why
George Kenan’s policy of containment was a reasonable response to the Soviet problem in the years immediately following World War II. At that time Kenan had no reason to believe that the USSR had an official policy on world domination. The common thought was that the Soviets were satisfied to wait until the capitalist systems self-destructed. The policy of containment was to halt Soviet aggression and prevent them from acquiring any more vulnerable territory. When the USSR displayed more aggression in Eastern Europe in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Kenan’s original policy of containment was abandoned for a more pro-active policy. Containment was redefined as a policy that needed the military capability to enforce the policy.
When considering the loss of lives, money, and resources in Korea, Vietnam, and other skirmishes around the world it may be hard to justify the policy of containment. This especially applies to the military buildup in the early 1950s and the huge nuclear arsenal. The US may have been able to pursue a policy of attrition and wait for the Soviet system to self-destruct as it ultimately did. However, there were valid threats to Western Europe from Soviet aggression and even if communism would eventually fail, it could have taken decades longer with the people living under oppressive dictatorships. It is hard to argue against the result of the policy of containment and its eventual success of freeing Eastern Europe and diminishing the Soviet’s influence around the globe.