The launch of Sputnik in 1957 sparked a crisis in American education. Suddenly threatened by superior Soviet technology, progressive educators' concern for children's preferences, health, and adjustment in school yielded to public demands for more basic learning and academic skills. Congress soon passed the National Defense Education Act, providing millions of dollars for math, science, and foreign language instruction. By the early 1960s, educators and academics began to reexamine other aspects of the curriculum as well. Their efforts prompted two changes in the social studies: one was a shift from worksheets and memorization to the investigative approach of the “new social studies,” the other a requirement that schools teach about the specter of international Communism. Much has been written about the first of these reforms, surprisingly little about the second. Yet, insofar as the new social studies grew out of Cold War imperatives, instruction about Communism provides an interesting perspective on its tenure in American schools. In fact, a closer examination of the relationship between the two might force us to reconsider current assumptions about the nature of curriculum reform during the period.