SAT II US History : Facts and Details in U.S. Foreign Policy from 1899 to the Present

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT II US History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Facts And Details In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1899 To The Present

"Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked..."

Midday, on December 8th, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his famous "Day of Infamy" speech to the US Congress which referred to what major event of the day before?

Possible Answers:

The Battle of the Bulge

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

The Battle of Iwo Jima

The bombing of Hiroshima

The Burma Campaign

Correct answer:

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

Explanation:

The entirety of the referenced line reads as follows:

"Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese attacked the US Pacific Fleet, launching America into World War II.

Example Question #2 : Facts And Details In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1899 To The Present

The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during whose Presidency?

Possible Answers:

John F. Kennedy's

Richard M. Nixon's

Dwight D. Eisenhower's

Lyndon B. Johnson's

Jimmy Carter's

Correct answer:

John F. Kennedy's

Explanation:

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a showdown between the United States and the Soviet Union over nuclear missiles in Cuban locations during October of 1962.  John F. Kennedy was president from 1961 until his death in November of 1963.

Example Question #3 : Facts And Details In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1899 To The Present

John F. Kennedy’s famous proclamation “Ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”) was a statement indicating what sentiment?

Possible Answers:

That Kennedy was willing to visit East Berlin, but refused to visit West Berlin.

That Berlin’s people were on their own in their fight against Communism.

That America viewed Berlin as an unimportant entity during the Cold War.

That Kennedy and America stood in solidarity with the citizens of Berlin, who were in a Western Enclave in East Germany, and therefore on the front lines against Communism in the Cold War.

That anyone from Berlin could choose to move to the Soviet Union.

Correct answer:

That Kennedy and America stood in solidarity with the citizens of Berlin, who were in a Western Enclave in East Germany, and therefore on the front lines against Communism in the Cold War.

Explanation:

 Kennedy’s line came in a 1963 speech in West Berlin that sought to show solidarity with the “free people” of Berlin.  It was also widely seen as a speech which stood against any sense of Soviet aggression in East Germany.  Kennedy’s marked anti-communism and Berlin’s place in the Cold War are important starting points to rule out answer choices that do not indicate either of those facts.

Example Question #4 : Facts And Details In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1899 To The Present

What was the most direct intention of the Marshall Plan, implemented shortly after World War II?

Possible Answers:
To stimulate the depressed economies of former Empire in South America, Africa and Asia against Soviet incursion
To underwhelm the political discourse in the Soviet Union in an attempt to remove Stalin and the Bolsheviks from power
To provide aid and military assistance to Communist countries should they agree to embrace Capitalism and Democracy
To re-build the economies and societies of Western Europe, in order to make Communism less appealing
To re-build the United States military to meet the post-war threats of China and the Soviet Union
Correct answer: To re-build the economies and societies of Western Europe, in order to make Communism less appealing
Explanation:

Following the culmination of World War II, the economies of Europe were heavily ravaged by the effects of war. The Marshall Plan, implemented in 1948, was designed to assist these countries economically and re-build them to close to their pre-war strength. The intention was to prevent the Western countries from embracing Communism which was taking hold throughout, the even more impoverished, Eastern Europe.

Example Question #1 : Facts And Details In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1899 To The Present

The Iran-Contra Scandal involved the Reagan administration selling arms to Iran to fund which Central American nation's anticommunist fighters?

Possible Answers:
Panama
Honduras
Belize
Costa Rica
Nicaragua
Correct answer: Nicaragua
Explanation:

The Contras were an anti-Communist force dedicated to overthrowing the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, led by Daniel Ortega.  The Reagan administration had attempted to fund the Contras by selling Arms to Iran, despite an Embargo on trade there since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.  The Scandal was discovered in November 1986 after Iranian elements leaked information of the arms sales.

Example Question #6 : Facts And Details In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1899 To The Present

The Kellogg-Briand Pact can best be summarized as

Possible Answers:
The renunciation of warfare as an instrument of national policy
The refutation of Philippine claims to independence
The only compromise that could draw the United States into the League of Nations
An accord between the Soviet Union and the United States to protect democratic ideals in Europe
An agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom that one nation would come to the other’s aid in the event of a defensive war
Correct answer: The renunciation of warfare as an instrument of national policy
Explanation:

The Kellogg-Briand pact was the brain child of United States Secretary of State Frank Kellogg in 1928. It was a treaty, signed by many nations, including the Soviet Union, which officially renounced war as a means of national policy. Although proposed by a United States’ representative, it did not gain majority support in American society and the U.S. continued to heavily invest in its military throughout peacetime. 

Example Question #7 : Facts And Details In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1899 To The Present

What was the name given to John F. Kennedy’s policy of improving United States’ relations with Latin American countries?

Possible Answers:
The Fair Deal
Good Neighbor Policy
The Apollo Project
The New Deal
Alliance for Progress
Correct answer: Alliance for Progress
Explanation:

Several decades of American interference and militaristic action had soured relations heavily between the United States and Latin America by the time of JFKs inauguration in 1960. To combat this Kennedy proposed a ten-year plan called the Alliance for Progress, which he hoped would halt and reverse this trend. The plan called for political stabilization in the region, economic co-operation and generous American aid. Although the plan did help play a role in the growth of Latin American domestic output in the 1960s and 1970s, lack of support from later Presidents and an unwillingness on the part of many Latin American governments to agree to American proposals ultimately lead the plan to be viewed as a failure. 

Example Question #2 : Facts And Details In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1899 To The Present

What is the name given to the diplomatic crisis that began on November 4th, 1979, and ended on January, 20th, 1981, in which 52 Americans were held hostage by a group of Islamist students supporting the Iranian Revolution?

Possible Answers:

The Iran Hostage Crisis

The Fall of the Shah

The Taking of the Embassy

The Operation Eagle Claw Crisis

The Crisis of 444 Days

Correct answer:

The Iran Hostage Crisis

Explanation:

The name given to the crisis that began with the Islamist students' taking of the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran, is called the Iran Hostage Crisis. 

Example Question #9 : Facts And Details In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1899 To The Present

Which President signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

Possible Answers:

Lyndon B. Johnson 

John F. Kennedy

Harry S. Truman

Ronald Reagan

Jimmy Carter

Correct answer:

Lyndon B. Johnson 

Explanation:

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The stated aims of the Treaty are to prevent the spread of nuclear weaponry to new countries, to co-operate on the peaceful use of nuclear technology, and to encourage the trend of gradual nuclear disarmament.

Example Question #10 : Facts And Details In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1899 To The Present

According to the Eisenhower Doctrine stated that                  .

Possible Answers:

the Federal Government would work to provide universal public education for all American children 

the United States had a duty to help re-build the economies of Europe following the devastation of World War Two

the United States would provide aid and possibly armed forces to a sovereign nation threatened with Communist invasion 

the Federal Government had a responsibility to provide expansive Social Security for aging war veterans and government civil servants 

the United States would assist the people of South America in gaining freedom from the oppression of autocracies and poverty

Correct answer:

the United States would provide aid and possibly armed forces to a sovereign nation threatened with Communist invasion 

Explanation:

In the 1950s the United States found itself needing to fill a power vacuum in the Middle East, following the withdrawal of France and Great Britain. The threat of Soviet influence, or direct control, prompted President Eisenhower to issue a speech that would soon come to be known as the Eisenhower Doctrine. It promised economic and military aid to countries in the Middle East. As well as, assurances that the United States would provide aid and possibly troops to any sovereign nation threatened with invasion by a Communist regime. 

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