The Second World War or "Oh No! Not Again!"

WII Unit Objectives: By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • identify the causes and global consequences of World War II.
  • explain the ideologies of fascism and Nazism and analyze how fascist and authoritarian regimes seized power and gained mass support in Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan.
  • analyze the relative importance of the legacy of World War I, the depression, ethnic and ideological conflicts, imperialism, and traditional political or economic rivalries as underlying causes of World War II.
  • explain German, Italian, and Japanese military conquests and drives for empire in the 1930s.
  • analyze the precipitating causes of the war and the reasons for early German and Japanese victories.
  • analyze the motives and consequences of the Soviet nonaggression pacts with Germany and Japan.
  • explain the major turning points of the war, and describe the principal theaters of conflict in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, North Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.
  • assess how the political and diplomatic leadership of such individuals as Churchill, Roosevelt, Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin affected the outcome of the war.
  • analyze how and why the Nazi regime perpetrated a “war against the Jews” and describe the devastation suffered by Jews and other groups in the Nazi Holocaust.
  • compare World Wars I and II in terms of the impact of industrial production, political goals, national mobilization, technological innovations, and scientific research on strategies, tactics, and levels of destruction.
  • assess the consequences of World War II as a total war.
  • understand why global power shifts took place and the Cold War broke out in the aftermath of World War II.
  • explain how political, economic, and military conditions prevailing in the mid-1940s led to the Cold War.
  • explain how the Communist Party rose to power in China between 1936 and 1949 and assess the benefits and costs of Communist policies under Mao Zedong, including the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.
  • explain the causes and international and local consequences of major Cold War crises, such as the Berlin blockade, the Korean and Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis, etc...
  • analyze how political, diplomatic, and economic conflict and competition between the United States and the Soviet Union affected developments in developing countries around the world.
  • analyze how superpower rivalries led to the development of new military, nuclear, and space technology.
  • explain why the Cold War ended and assess its significance as a 20th-century event.

Class 52 A: 5/29, D: 5/30, F: 5/31

  • Study for Semester Exam (This is optional for F block ONLY. A block has an additional OPTIONAL exam study class on 6/1)

Class 51 A: 5/24, D&F 5/25

Beginning in 1989, the world saw changes which resulted in the collapse of almost all of the Communist world: The Collapse of Communism

In Poland:

In China, while communism did not disappear, 1989 was also the year things began to change:

And in Afghanistan, those changes are still being played out. Take a look at this Timeline and with a partner, create an annotated timeline (using your own words) of the 10 key events in that country since 1979.

Class 50 A: 5/22, D: 5/23, F: 5/24 (F block will be shortened due to awards ceremony on Thursday morning)

The United Nations

UN Scavenger Hunt using the cyberschoolbus and/or the Official United Nations websiteexternal image zip.png UN SCAVENGER HUNT.pages

Mi Lai Massacre

  • Vietnam War protests: Kent State

Korean War Part 1

Korean War Part II

Class 49 A&D: 5/21, F: 5/22

  • WW II Debates
  • The Nuclear World
  • Continue with powerpoint
  • Read pp21-23 and 28-31 in The Cold War to learn about 2 regions in which the superpowers fought proxy wars: the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Make a chart/venn diagram/organizer of some kind to illustrate the similarities and differences between these two conflicts.

Class 48 A: 5/17, D& F: 5/18

  • Continue with powerpoint - The Arms Race and the Race for Space

  • Read pp. 13-19 in The Cold War and on your gallery page answer questions A, B and C on p. 19.

  • Read pp 530-537 (online or new edition) or pp 475-481 (old hard copy edition). Make a chart noting the goals of establishing each of the following: the United Nations, The Marshall Plan, the Warsaw Pact.

Look at each of the following and decide which was the most significant historical event. Explain your decision in a paragraph on your gallery page.

Berlin Wall Berlin Wall Comes Down

Space Race Moon Landing

Class 47 A: 5/15, D&F: 5/16

The Post-War World

The explosion of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki did more than signal the end of World War II -- it ushered in a new age -- the Atomic Age, and the Age of the Cold War. Relations between the USSR and the other Allies had already begun to chill in the final years of the war.
  • The USSR felt isolated and alone as it battled to halt the advance of the Nazis on the Eastern Front.
  • They argued that the Allied invasion of Europe took too long to prepare, resulting in heavier Soviet casualties
  • The Allies argued over what should happen to countries liberated from Nazi control: should they hold democratic elections, as France, Britain and the US wanted, or should the governments be established by the liberators, as the USSR wanted?
  • Territory liberated by the Red Army was often plundered, with factories and machinery dismantled and carted off to be reassembled deep inside Soviet territory. There were also charges of brutal treatment of POWs and civilian populations.
  • The US development of the atomic bomb was seen as a challenge to the USSR, which was also independently working on its own bomb (successfully completed in August 1949)
  • United against a common enemy during the war, after the threat was gone the conflict between the long-term goals of the USSR (global revolutions and the establishment of communist governments) and of "the west" (the growth of democratic governments and free-market capitalist economies) could no longer be hidden

Thanks, Mr. Brayko, for this keynote on the Post-War World!

Class 46 A: 5/11, D: 5/14, F: 5/15

The Holocaust

The word "holocaust" comes from two Greek words, holo ("whole"), and caust ("burned") which was used to describe the complete burningof an object or animal offered to the gods. When the word is capitalized, "Holocaust" refers to the Nazi efforts to annihilate Jews and other minorities including Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, communists, handicapped individuals, "Gypsies" (who are more correctly called "Roma") and others. It was not the world's first "genocide", but it was so horrific that the world had to coin a new word to describe it.

Today's lesson may be disturbing, and you will be shown graphic images which may upset you. If you need to leave the room at any time you are free to do so. However, we feel it is critically important to your education that you understand this event with your heart, as well as your mind.



"The Jews have no right to live among us as Jews"

Read Chapter 13, "The Final Solution" in Hitler's Germany: 1933-45


Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camps
Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camps

Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camps

I think the only way to come close to understanding the horror of the Nazi Holocaust, is to listen to the stories of the few who survived. As you watch each video, record your thoughts on your gallery page, with a subheading for each video.

Mordecai Eldar
Zanne Farbstein
Yaakov Hollander
Sophie Engelsman
Eva Brown

The origins of this poem first have been traced to a speech given by Martin Niemöller on January 6, 1946, to the representatives of the Confessing Church in Frankfurt. There are numerous variations.
Ts excellent resources for further reading on the Holocaust.
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Class 45 A&D: 5/10; F: 5/11

The Allied Victory

In the Pacific...

Read pp 511-513 (online or new hard copy) or pp 459 to end of the chapter (old hard copy) and complete 8-10 of the guided reading you used for last class.

The Allies had received reports from scientists fleeing Nazi Germany and it's territories, that the Germans were working on an atomic bomb. This prompted the United States to begin its own top secret program, called the Manhattan Project, to beat them to the punch. Top scientists from around the world, including many Jewish European refugees, worked on the project, which was completed just AFTER the Nazis surrendered.


At the Potsdam Conference, held in occupied Germany in July-August 1945, Truman let his British and Soviet allies know that the U.S. had successfully tested its first Atomic bomb, and that they intended to use it to defeat Japan. On July 26 they issued an ultimatum (Potsdam Ultimatum) calling for the unconditional surrender of Emperor Hirohito, and warning of "the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland." No mention of the atomic bomb was made. The Japanese government ignored the ultimatum, and on July 31st Emperor Hirohito, ignoring the advice of generals who warned that defeat was inevitable, demanded that the imperial honor be defended "at all cost". It was clear that the invasion of Japan would be long and bloody for the Allies and the Japanese population.

The Manhattan Project

After the Battle of Midway, when Allied naval forces had cracked the Japanese military codes so they were able to lay a trap and destroy a major portion of the Japanese fleet, the tide of battle had turned, and the Allies were moving closer and closer to mainland Japan. From their experience in battling the Japanese for islands they held in the Pacific, they knew the invasion of Japan was likely to be long and bloody, though the outcome was inevitable as the island nation was cut off from supplies and eventually would have to submit. But at what cost?

The Ultimatum to Japan

Harry S. Truman, who had succeeded as President on the death of F.D. Roosevelt on April 12th 1945. Prior to that, as Vice-President, he had been told nothing about the Manhattan Project. Within weeks, however, he had to make the decision to use the bomb for the first, and only time in history, against the Japanese. The bomb was dropped first on Hiroshima, on August 6 1945, and then on Nagasaki, on August 9th.
After the Hiroshima bombing, President Truman issued a statement announcing the use of the new weapon, and promising that "If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware." The Japanese military still refused to surrender, instead working on a proposal for terms of surrender which included a guarantees that Japan and its annexed territories of Korea and Taiwan would not be occupied, that the Emperor would remain on the throne and would oversea all demobilization and war crimes tribunals. The Allies did not wait for this counter-proposal, and would have been unlikely to consider it in any case.

The dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

President Truman's Speech

After 6 years of war, the Allies were finally victorious. However, their victory was won at a very high price. World War II had caused more death and destruction that any other conflict in history. 60 million people where dead and another 50 million people were displaced from their homes, wondering the countryside looking for a place to live. The world was left with the question: 'What now?'




Comparing World War I and World War II

Read the sources below and complete the Skill-builder/Interpretation and Document based questions.









Class 44 A: 5/8; D&F: 5/9 (I will be asent)

The Allied Victory

In Europe...

America's entry into the war, in December 1941, changed the course of the war, but that didn't mean that victory was around the corner. It took almost 4 years for the Axis powers to be defeated in Africa, on the western and eastern fronts of Europe, and finally in the Pacific "theater" (region of battle). To learn how this happened, read pp 506-511 (online or new textbook) or pp 455-459 (old hard copy), stopping before the section "Victory in the Pacific". Pay particular attention to the section on the D-Day landing, and to the map titled "Wold War II: Allied Advances, 1942-1945. Complete sections A1-A7 of the Allied_Victory_Guided_Reading-1.jpg. AND DO NOT complete you work on this form without saving it to your own computer first, and naming it something unique before uploading to your gallery. Seriously, it's nearly the end of your freshman year an I'm still getting students saving their work on the master copy???

Watch a short video clip from Saving Private Ryan (to 7 minute mark is sufficient). WARNING: This is extremely graphic, and some of you may find it too difficult to watch.This is a dramatization, NOT primary source footage, but Allied veterans' groups have said it is the most realistic depiction they have seen of what it was actually like during the D-Day landings.

Now watch this documentary on the same events and the aftermath of the D-D invasion, the liberation of Paris.

How is the same history conveyed so differently in these two videos? Which do you think is more "true": the Hollywood dramatization or the documentary?

Watch these other two short videos on The North Africa Campaign and The Battle of Stalingrad to learn more about the key events you've been reading about.

Next class, you will be doing another group timeline activity (like you did before) for the events from the bombing of Pearl Harbor to V-E Day, so prepare for this.

Class 43 A: 5/4, D&F: 5/7 (I will be absent)

War on the Home Front

Read the account of Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston of her family's internment after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. external image pdf.png Farewell to Manzanar.pdfThen watch this short rap on Japanese internment before writing a short paragraph on you gallery page giving your opinion on the fairness or unfairness of Japanese internment. You might want to know that not a single Japanese-American or Japanese-Canadian (Canada interned Japanese who lived on the west coast too) was found guilty after the war of actually spying. You might also want to note that German-Canadians, like my paternal grandfather, were NOT interned in Canada or the U.S.

World War II was a total war. Like WW I, life on the home front played a significant part on the war efforts and had a major impact on the outcome of the war.

1. Wartime propaganda cartoon by Walt Disney. As you watch, record your answers to the following...
  • What wartime images do you recognize from your study of the war?
  • What are some of the messages of this cartoon?
  • Why do you think companies like Disney and Warner Brothers produced these cartoons during the war?

2. Political Cartoon for the home front

  • What is in the cartoon? Explain the symbolism you see.
  • What is the intended message of the cartoon?
3. Life on the Home front in Britain exploration... Go to this site and click on each topic area to learn about life in Britain during the war. For each of the following topics, write down 3 significant pieces of information. You may do this on your gallery page, or as a hard copy.
  • Children at war
  • Rationing
  • Women at war
  • Messages of war


Class 42 A: 5/2 (this is a shortened class due to International Festival); D: 5/3; F: 5/4 (I will be absent May 3-9 so you will have a sub for this period)

  • Japan Seeks to Build an Empire

    You have already looked at Japan's expansionism several times, so let's review what you know:

    1920's Japan becomes more democratic

    1930 Militarists take control of Japan

    1931 Japan invades Manchuria

    1937 Japan invades China

    Read pp 497-501 (online or new textbook) or pp 447-450 (old hard copy) on Japan's Pacific campaign, and complete the guided reading in place of Cornell notes. You can print this off, or make your own chart using this template. You must complete parts A and B.


    By 1942, Japan had built a large empire in the Asia-Pacific Region.


Write a short description of the perspectives presented in the political cartoons below. What does each cartoon highlight about how Japanese expansion was viewed?

'Let Sam Do It'. Cartoon from the New York American, 1931, aboutthe role of the League of Nations in the Japan-China conflict
'Let Sam Do It'. Cartoon from the New York American, 1931, aboutthe role of the League of Nations in the Japan-China conflict

  • 'Let others sweat and toil', a Japanese cartoon about their viewsof the West.
    'Let others sweat and toil', a Japanese cartoon about their viewsof the West.

  • light_of_asia.jpg
  • Pearl Harbor

  • December 7, 1941 - Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor

  • December 8, 1941 - United States and Britain declare war on Japan.

  • December 11, 1941 - Hitler declares war on the United States.

  • Answer the following question:

  • 1) Why did Japan attack the United States of America? Provide evidence from the source below in your answer.

  • 2. Read this article about Pearl Harbor. Briefly summarise the key events of the attack (before, during and after). (User ID is kis, PW is welcome)

  • 3. Watch this video clip from the movie Pearl Harbor to get sense of what it might have felt like to have been there on the morning of January 7, 1941, "a date that will live in infamy".


Class 41 A&D: 5/1, F: 5/2 (F block has a shortened class due to International Festival)

  • Continue with ordering of events
  • 1940 The Battle of Britain


  • With the fall of France, Great Britain stood alone against the Nazis. Winston Churchill said,

  • " We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets.... we shall never surrender."

  • As we listen to this podcast on the Battle of Britain, take notes about the key events.

  • Questions (post answers on your gallery page):
  • 1) What was Operation Sea Lion?
  • 2) Why did the battle not look good for Britain?
  • 3) What advantage did Britain have?
  • 4) What was Germany's mistake?
  • 5) What was the impact of the bombing of London? How did the bombing of London aid Britain's cause?
  • 6) Why was the outcome of the battle of Britain significant for the Allies?

  • Read the newspaper below about the Battle of Britain, and watch the two videos, then write a short paragraph that explains why the British were able to hold off the German invasion when they were militarily weaker. Use evidence to support your ideas. Post your work on your gallery page.

Class 40 A: 4/27, D&F: 4/30

  • Q&A on notes
  • Video "The Concise History of WWII"
  • Ordering of events

Class 39 A: 4/25, D&F: 4/26

The Beginning of the War in Europe
Read and take notes on pp 21-25 of Hitler's Germany, using the headings and sub-headings A-G on the Revision Guide to Part Two (p. 32) to organize your notes. Also read the textbook pp 488-492 (just until "The Fall of France"), paying particular attention to the geography of the European "theater" of war (the other region in which the war was fought was the Pacific theater) was fought on two fronts, just as the First World War was, but at the beginning of the war, the USSR was not involved -- it had signed a "non-aggression pact" with Germany.

Look at this primary source film footage of Neville Chamberlain, Hitler, King George VI of Britain, and Winston Churchill.

Here's a transcript of the King George VI, who became king when his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936.
King's Speech Transcript WW2.pages

After watching each of the 4 clips, explain why you think each speaker was able to inspire his listeners. Answers do NOT need to be written.

Class 38 A: 4/23, D: 4/24, F: 4/25

  • Collect Hitler's Germany and The Cold War from the book room. If you were absent, you can collect yours from Ms. Boyle.
  • You already know that Japan, which became an ally of Germany in November 1937 with the signing of the Anti-Comintern Pact, had already begun it's "world war" with it's invasion of Manchuria in 1931, and China in July of 1937. They already had subdued Russia and Korea in 1904 and 1905. The Story of the European side of the War begins with the unfolding of the fascist plans: Italy's invasion of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in 1935, and Germany's repudiation of the Versailles Treaty. Then read and take notes on Hitler's Germany pp 2-5 of Hitler's Germany using the Revision Guide to Part One, p. 20 (A and B) as the headings for your notes, filling in details as you read.
  • Watch DVD Days that Shook the World "Kristallnacht" (25 minutes)