This lesson is part of our curriculum unit The Challenge of Nuclear Weapons.


Students will:

  • Explore the relationship between political events and popular culture.
  • Compare and contrast songs with different viewpoints.
  • Assess the place of political themes in popular music today.


Songs about Nuclear Weapons

In the Classroom

Student Interpretations

Call on students to offer their interpretations of the songs presented. Play the videos of the songs to demonstrate how music reinforces the message of the lyrics. Ask students to organize the songs by themes and types. Compare and contrast the songs.

Identifying Values

Call on students to identify the most important values in the songs. Invite students to reflect on the connection between the songs and the public mood during the Cold War era. To what extent did the songs mirror, or shape, public attitudes?

Comparing Past and Present

Ask students to compare songs of the Cold War with popular music today. Call on them to give examples of current political songs. How have the themes changed since the Cold War? How are feelings of patriotism or protest expressed in today’s music?

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