So discussing today's news with our students might be a good way to draw a personal connection to the past. Ask: Can you think of a time when news of a potential threat shocked the world?
Today's reports instantly reminded me of two historical precedents from the Cold War. Both deal with developments that caused many Americans to fear that an armed conflict with the Soviets was likely and maybe even imminent. The first Cold War incident was when the Soviets reported in October 1957 that they had successfully launched Sputnik.
The second Cold War incident was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Americans woke up in October 1962 to this headline:
here and here, and the JFK Library here. The National Archives also had a terrific 50th anniversary exhibit on the crisis. You can read about that exhibit here and see it described here (3:37):
Finally, work with your students through the 2001 AP US History DBQ on Cold War fears: