In order to learn more about WW2 this week, we will spend a great deal of time in the computer lab, examining the war from as many sides as possible. In order to frame our work, however, we are going to look at big ideas and essential questions. First, big ideas are not just notes to be memorized. They are concepts to be understood at a much deeper level. Each big idea should be able to be expanded into a full page answer, or a long conversation. It’s a jumping off point with a lot of information behind it. They are not just notes to be memorized.
Essential questions are different, but have the same idea behind them. They are also framed around really big concepts and lots of information, but they are questions, not statements (obviously). In this sense, they are meant to be a springboard to a lot of other topics and ideas. Essential questions really make you think. There is almost always no one correct answer. Each essential question should be able to have multiple types of answers. They are great argument-builders! They also are not meant to be memorized.
So, here’s where we begin!
Big Ideas: (not in any particular order)
1. War changes a society. Societies make good and bad decisions in a time of war.
2. Civil liberties and basic human rights are sometimes restricted during times of war.
3. Political decisions have implications and consequences on future events.
4. The Allied victory in World War II led to the emergence of the U.S. as a super power. The United States involvement in World War II reshaped America’s role in world affairs.
5. The failures of post-World War I policies led to World War II.
6. World War II dealt a catastrophic blow to humanity.
7. Cultural, economic and political factors led to the rise of dictatorships.
8. World War II ended the Great Depression and caused enduring changes for women, African Americans, and other minorities.
9. Roosevelt defined American struggle during WW II as an attempt to establish world order based on “four freedoms”- freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
10. World War II caused a dramatic increase in both the size and the reach of our national government.
11. Women and African Americans gained more rights as a result of the demand for wartime labor and production.
12. Fascism was a threat to democratic governments.
13. Technological advances by both the Axis and Allied powers brought devastation and victory to the battlefield.
14. Isolationism in the United States and appeasement by European powers created a power vacuum that totalitarian governments in the Soviet Union, Spain, Italy, Japan and Germany filled.
15. NAZI racism actively supported and promoted genocide.
16. Hitler was able to persuade a fractured nation to re-arm militarily through intense nationalism and racial superiority.
17. Both the Axis and Allied powers killed millions of civilians through the use of aerial bombing.
18. All Americans made sacrifices in World War II in the areas of rations, metals, wages, civil rights, and more.
19. Japanese Americans were interned during the war and deprived their civil rights.
20. The use of atomic weapons forced Japan’s unconditional surrender but also ushered in a nuclear age.
Essential Questions: (not in any particular order)
1. Was the road to World War II inevitable? What were its causes?
2. What choices and decisions do societies face in war? How did WW II affect American society?
3. How did the role of the U.S. in world affairs change as a result of World War II?
4. What factors led to the rise of dictators? Why do dictatorships flourish during times of depression?
5. How did the role of the national government evolve during World War II?
6. Do people (citizens and countries) have a responsibility to respond to injustice? (Changed the wording a little and bolded this question—I think it is pretty important here)
7. How are freedom and democracy threatened during times of war?
8. What is propaganda? What is rhetoric? How are propaganda and rhetoric used during times of war?
9. Is it ever justified to use a weapon of mass destruction?
10. How did the end of the war begin to shape the postwar world?
11. To what extent is the policy of neutrality a reasonable one?
12. Does appeasement always (sometimes, or never) make an aggressor more aggressive?
13. Why is genocide even possible? How did the Germans make it so?
14. Would America mobilize for war with the same intensity if not attacked?
15. How did leadership qualities influence ethical decisions in WW2?
16. To what extent should or can a nation limit civil liberties in times of war?
17. How influential was the US to determining the outcome of the war?
18. What cost is worth the price of victory (for both the US and the Japanese)?
19. Are nuclear weapons acceptable tools of warfare?
20. Did World War II make World War III impossible, impractical or inevitable?
PowerPoint Questions: The War Begins!
1. What does the map on the Versailles Treaty tell you about the how national boundaries were redrawn after WW1?
2. What was the League of Nations and why was it ineffective?
3. Explain why you believe German soldiers would be dissatisfied after WW1?
4. Why did France have a false sense of security before and in the beginning of WW2?
5. What’s your assessment of international agreements between WW1 and WW2?
6. Explain how each of the following led to WW2.
a. The Great Depression
b. Japan attacking Manchuria
c. Italy attacking Ethiopia
d. Germany attacking the Rhineland
e. US Neutrality Acts
f. America First Committee
g. The Spanish Civil War
h. Japan attacking China
i. The Munich Agreement
j. The NAZI-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact
Monday Homework: Website Reviews!
Using the websites on listed on ‘WW2 PowerPoint & Sites’, please examine and evaluate any two of the twenty websites for the following characteristics:
- Information: What information does the website provide? List at least five main points or ideas.
- Example: The topic of this website is _________. There is a great deal of information on the site, but the main ideas are: 1) __________, 2) __________, 3) __________, 4) __________ and 5) __________. (By the way, these are not the first five facts you come across. I know all of the sites really well. :)
- Interactivity: What features does the website possess to deliver information? Briefly explain how the website is set up and evaluate its effectiveness.
- Example: This website examines the topic of __________. The site is set up in the following way: 1) It has many interactive features that allow the reader to learn more about 1) ________, 2) ________, and 3) ________. It also has many photos and videos on the following subjects: 1) ________, 2) ________, and 3) ________. In addition, there are personal stories told by 16 different people. The stories range from battle accounts to survival stories on the Holocaust. This site presents the information in an effective way because it allows the reader to see a great deal of information from multiple perspectives. Two things that could improve the site are 1) ________ and 2) ________.
- Instruction: How does the website promote learning? How can it be used in the classroom? Describe a learning activity that can accompany the site.
- Example: One example of a learning assignment or classroom project is __________. In this project, students would do __________ and by doing so, they would learn about 1) ________, 2) ________, and 3) ________.