Unit 9: From Bad to Worse WWII

Unit Lesson Objectives:
• Student can identify the causes and global consequences of World War II.
• Student can 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.
• Student can 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.
• Student can explain German, Italian, and Japanese military conquests and drives for empire in the 1930s.
• Student can analyze the precipitating causes of the war and the reasons for early German and Japanese victories.
• Student can analyze the motives and consequences of the Soviet nonaggression pacts with Germany and Japan.
• Student can 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.
• Student can assess how the political and diplomatic leadership of such individuals as Churchill, Roosevelt, Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin affected the outcome of the war.
• Student can 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.
• Student can 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.
• Student can assess the consequences of World War II as a total war.

Lesson One: Intro to Fascism

Before we get to the actual events of World War II, we will start off by looking at what caused it. As we have just studied, the world was in a state of shock from 1900 to 1940. The Great Depression suffocated economies around the world. Many injustices such as the British occupation of India were being challenged by the world. Other countries such as Turkey were simply trying to find their identity. To name the early 20th century "the broken world" is all too fitting and led to people looking for new answers to old questions. One of the first questions was how were countries going to stabilize themselves?

First, look at what was happening with the major powers of the time period. It was proving that capitalism was failing in places like the U.S., Great Britain, and France. This was mainly due to the recession and eventually depression that comes along with capitalism. The Communist state of Russia was appearing to be more of a threat than an answer (at least to the powerful Western European countries). You have to remember that the social structure of Europe had just went through a huge metamorphosis and those that had gained power through capitalist means were not willing to give up their wealth. Since the majority of the population in Europe was extremely poor, there was a reason why they now would look to Communism as an answer. Therefore, Communists were viewed as a threat by the democratic leaders in most societies, but they carried great sway with rural and working class populations. As the old saying goes, as one door closes another one opens. To balance the tug-of-war between democracy and communism, a new door would open leading to the political theories of Fascism.

To begin the unit, we will first explore the ideas of Fascism. Below is a list of questions that we want you to think about while exploring the issue. So here we go!

1. What is Fascism?
2. Why was Germany and Italy the perfect place for Fascism to grow and thrive?
3. In your opinion do you see how a Fascist government would be appealing to the masses? Why or why not?
4. What are some of the major characteristic of Fascism?

Before we begin let us look at how Fascist you are! Click in this link for a Fascist personality test!

What is Fascism?

One Nation! One People! One Fascism?

Part I-- Today during class, you will first look at the list that examines the characteristics of Fascism created by Dr. Britt. For more information about the sources, look at the end of the article*.

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

*Information above was taken directly from an article that was produced by Dr. Lawrence Britt in Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2. Or click on the link provided here for more information.

Part II-- After reading the 14 characteristics of Fascism, you will be broken into groups. In this assignment, you will have to pick one of the statements above and prove if it is true by looking at the Fascist states of Germany, Italy, Japan or Spain. You may conduct research using the following resources. Please feel free to expand on this list if you find a good website or other source:

Class List:

WH Spivey B 2009-10
WH Spivey C 2009-10

WH Spivey E 2009-10
WH Spivey F 2009-10

Potential Resources:

Weimar Republic (Blue Book)
Hitler's Germany (Yellow Book)
World History: Patterns and Interactions p. 426-435

ABC-CLIO Username: KIS Password: Welcome
John Clare.net
The Best History Sites
A Web of English History
The Seeds of Evil
Introduction to the Weimar Republic
Economic and Political Problems in the Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic Teachers Paradise
The Weimar Republic Timeline

Fascism in Italy Revision Notes
Italian Life Under Fascism
Italian Fascism
Education in Fascist Times Through Pictures and Reports(Scroll down to the fascism section)
Women and Fascist (UK Perspective)

Art: Tools of the Nazi State

Fascism in Spain and Italy

Will Japan adopt Fascism?
Pictures of Japanese Fascism

Secondary Source List:
The Fascist Revolution: Toward a General Theory of Fascism by Brian C. Anderson:
Economic Fascism by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Part III-- Once you have finished your research you will need to create a wiki that proves if your characteristics stated above are true or not. You MUST include written text and may also use stats, videos, pictures, etc. to convey your ideas.

Read p. 10-21 in Weimar Germany.
Bring Weimar Germany book to the next class.

Lesson Two: "Why was the Weimar Republic a good place for Fascism to flourish?" & Hitler, Mussolini and Franco Character Collages

In 1923 inflation was so bad in Germany that it became cheaper to burn money than to buy firewood for it.

Part I To start off class we will spend the first 10 minutes peer-editing each others "Characteristics of Fascism" wikis. The purpose of this is two-fold. First, we want you to learn from your fellow students. Second, we want you to help each other make this work as publishable as possible. Your teacher will assign which work you will peer-edit. Once you are done peer-editing, we will take 1-2 minutes per team discussing the research you have found to date.

Part II Factors of Analysis: Remember these? We spent several classes examining these for different periods last semester. Let's revisit them again now because they will help us understand our guiding question. (35 minutes)

Social Issues
Foreign Relations

Not all of these will help us understand why Fascism flourished in the Weimar Republic. Even if they would, we may not be able to find the research necessary to prove it. Take a moment and think about which factors you think we can use along with our Weimar Germany books to help answer our question. Brainstorm with your team what you already know from the reading along with the factors of analysis you choose. Answer the following question "Which factors of analysis are most important in making the Weimar Republic a good place for Fascism to flourish?" We will have each of you give their answers verbally. You will have one minute to express your ideas.

Part III Hitler, Mussolini and Franco Character Collages

Adolph Hitler
(Adolph Hitler)

Benito Mussolini

(Benito Mussolini)

Francisco Franco
(Francisco Franco)

Guiding Questions:
1. What were the beliefs and values of the three most authoritarian dictators of the 1930s?
2. What influences led them to become such dominant characters?
3. Why do you think so many people in these societies were drawn to their leadership?

II. Character Collages:
To answer these questions, your team will create a life-sized character collage of your assigned dictator out of butcher paper. Your character collage must contain the following:

  • Words and phrases that capture the beliefs, values and influences of your dictator
  • Memorable quotes by your dictator that express his beliefs and values
  • Visuals that show key ideas, beliefs and values of your dictator

During the next class period, you will share and present these with the class. You will approach this project as follows:

  1. Research: Gather information about your dictator from the textbook, ABC-CLIO, and on-line resources. Brainstorm ideas for the character collage. Make sure that all major ideas are included in the collage.
  2. Graphic Design: Design and organize the overall appearance of your collage. Make sure that all visuals clearly and accurately represent your dictators influences, values, and beliefs.
  3. Illustrate: Draw an outline of your dictator on butcher paper including his face. Draw or affix visuals as needed. Add words, phrases, and quotes as needed to complement the collage.

During today's class, work on research and graphic design. At the beginning of the next class, you will have 20 minutes to work with your team to illustrate your character collage. This makes it essential that you come to class prepared with all research, illustration supplies (markers, colored pencils, printed photos, etc.) and visual materials. At promptly 20 minutes, your collages will be posted for review by your classmates and teacher to enjoy.

The following rubric will be used to assess this project.


1. Read p. 24-31 in Weimar Germany book.

Finish your research and print out items for your collages.
3. Interesting Resource: What would it be like at a school in Nazi Germany? Look at primary sources by going through the link below.
Nazi Schooling
4. Bring the "Hitler's Germany" text. It is the yellow text in the series of readings you received.

Lesson Three: Aggressors of Fascist Regimes

I. To start off the lesson you will have 20 minutes to finish up your character collages. When your teacher says stop working you will hang your collage in a designated place assigned to you by your teacher.

Character Collage Discussion Questions: After exploring the three leaders we will explore the following questions: (5-10 min.)
1. What similarities do Hitler, Mussolini and Franco have in common?
2. How are these men different?
3. What characteristics of Fascism did each leader emphasize and why?
4. Do you see why these men were so popular or is it a historical phenomenon that they ever gained power?

III. Read pages 4-11 in Hitler's Germany (20 min.)

The Old League of Nations Building

VI. We will start on a simulation that will we will call "A League of their Own: What would you do?" Follow the steps below:

1. You will be assigned a country. Refer to your 'class list' to get your country.

WH Spivey B 2009-10
WH Spivey C 2009-10

WH Spivey E 2009-10
WH Spivey F 2009-10

2. Read the following documents in the perspective of your assigned country. Make sure and answer the questions at the bottom of each of the readings. The readings are below the country assignments.

3. Next class we will act out the League of Nations and go through each scenario using a Socratic Seminar format. Check out the following links to review how to actively participate in a Socratic Seminar.

Socratic Seminar Leader (Only one of you will be a leader in each class.)

Socratic Seminar Participants (All but one of you will be participants.)

Grading: Your participation in the seminar will be graded as follows.


Country Assignments:
United States (Note: The U.S. never joined the League of Nations due to domestic opposition, but they did play an international role.)
Great Britain
Russia (Note: In reality you were kicked out of the league of nations in 1939, but for this simulation we will keep you in.)
Japan (Note: Withdrew in 1933, but again for this simulation we will have you represent Japan.)
Belgium (Note: Remember WWI, this could help you with what could be going through their head at this time.)
Korea (Note: At this time, Korea was occupied by Japan and not represented in the League, but think how they would respond.)
Holland (The Netherlands)

Simulations Readings- All documents must be read and questions answered by next class.

1. external image msword.png Pre-WWII Situation 1 Revised.doc

2. external image msword.png Pre-WWII Situation 2 Revised.doc

3. external image msword.png Pre-WWII Siuation 3.doc

4. external image msword.png Pre-WWII Situation 4 Revised.doc

1. Continue reading how Hitler was able to rise and maintain his power in Germany. Read p.12-19 in Hitler's Germany (15 mins.)
2. Get your countries perspective ready for the debate

Lesson Four: League of Nations Debate

I. Debate setup: You will have 20 minutes for asking questions, creating, refining your ideas/ key points, and organization. You will also need to create a country placard in within this time period.

II. Today we will enact the League of Nations on the question of, "Should there be an action(s) taken against European fascist governments for their aggressive moves?" The class will look at at each situation. Placards will be used to identify which country you represent.

1. Read p. 431-435 in Modern World History Patterns and Interactions
2. Reflect on the simulation and see how accurately the class simulated history. If the conference did emulate history, why? If not why? Be ready to discuss next class.
3. Write down the causes of WWII and rank them. This will be handed in.
4. Bring textbook for next class.

Lesson Five: Western and Eastern Theaters of World War II Day One

I. Discuss Causes of WWII (10 Min)

1. Go over homework answers as a class. (2 minutes)
2. Break students into groups of 2-3 and have them rank the top 3-5 causes of WWII. Each cause must have reasoning behind the ranking. (

III. World War II Theater

Guiding Question: What was the course of WWII?

When military historians discuss World War II, they typically analyze it by separating it into two categories: Western and Eastern. The Western Theater consists of all military actions that took place in Europe and North Africa, while the Eastern Theater consists of all battles that occurred in the Soviet Union, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. As sort of a pun, we challenge you today to literally turn these military events into theater.

  • You and a partner will be assigned to read a section(s) from pages 441-450 in class today.
  • After rereading and thoroughly understanding your sections, you and your partner will need to develop a script that will be used to act out your section of the reading. All aspects of your reading must be conveyed through dialogue and action. This will be completed by the end of class today.
  • You will film your section by using iMovie and the MacBook iSight camera. Your group will have the rest of the class to record, edit and post. Any late work will result in a deduction of grade. Quality of concepts is much more important than the quality of movie. Here is an example , which is really good, from two years.
  • Your film and script must be posted on your assigned Wiki page so that they may be viewed by your classmates. The script is expected to be bare boned.

Your films will be graded for accuracy of content, level of interest, and successful/timely posting to the wiki. They are due by the end of class.

Partnered Reading Sections:
Act I: Germany Sparks a New War in Europe--Germany's Lightning Attack on Poland p. 441-2
Act II: The Soviets Make Their Move--The Phony War p. 442
Act III: The Battle for France and Great Britain--France Falls p. 442-3
Act IV: Germany Attacks Great Britain p. 443-4
Act V: The Eastern Front and the Mediterranean--Great Britain Strikes Back p. 444-445
Act VI: The War in the Balkans--The United States Aids Its Allies p. 445-6
Act VII: Japan Seeks a Pacific Empire--The Tide of Japanese Victories p. 447-449
Act VIII: The Allies Turn the Tide of War--The Allies Go on the Offensive p. 449-450

Class List:

WH Spivey B 2009-10
WH Spivey C 2009-10

WH Spivey E 2009-10
WH Spivey F 2009-10

Watch the student made productions. Have textbook open to follow along. Read topic sentences and any bold words you see in each section.

Optional: Food Fight- World War Two in the Food Perspective!

Lesson Six: Holocaust and Wrapping Up the War

The Holocaust Firsthand (10 minutes)

The Holocaust

The word "holocaust" comes from two Greek words, holo ("whole"), and caust ("burned") which was used to describe the complete burning
of 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.

external image moz-screenshot.png
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 wiki page, with a subheading for each video.

Mordecai Eldar
Zanne Farbstein
Yaakov Hollander
Sophie Engelsman
Eva Brown

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has excellent resources for further reading on the Holocaust.

For more on the Holocaust here are some powerful additional sites:

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum- A variety of articles and life lessons from different points of view. Very highly recommended. http://www.ushmm.org/

The Oscar Schindler Story- A hero of the holocaust. If you want to be inspired check this site out! http://www.oskarschindler.com/

Holocaust Survivors- A primary source haven. Sometimes the best way to understand history is through listening to the people that went through the notorious time period. http://www.holocaustsurvivors.org/

Death Camps- Produced from the University of Middle Tennessee, an overview of the horrors of "Death Camp." Full of pictures, stats and vivid descriptions of places like Sobibor and Belzek. http://frank.mtsu.edu/~baustin/holocamp.html

How did the Allies win?

Best Picture Awards

Before we take a look at a brilliant historian's answer to that question, please take the first 5 minutes of class nominating the top 2 WWII Theater films you watched last night on the Polldaddy survey below. Once you have nominated your films, discuss the question above with your classmates around you: "How did the Allies win?" Be ready to share your analysis with the class later.

B Block WWII Theater Poll
C Block WWII Theater Poll
E Block WWII Theater Poll
F Block WWII Theater Poll

How the Allies Won Breakout

A brilliant professor at the University of Exeter, Dr. Richard Overy, wrote a fascinating analysis where he explored the guiding question we just asked you: "How the Allies Won." While it is recommended that you read his analysis, today you will become an expert on one of his main thesis points and learn about his other points from your classmates in a jigsaw breakout session. Counting off in threes, you will divide into three large groups examining one of his points. Together, you will read through it and take notes on his main ideas in a summary format. After 10 minutes, you will be asked to team up with two experts on the other topics and share your summaries with each other in 10 minutes or less. Teams should become experts on the following texts as follows:

1. Soviet Transformation

2. American Power

3. German Errors

WWII: The End

Now, we will take a look at how the war ended and the aftermath. This is crucial as it leads directly to our next unit: The Cold War. These notes will also be crucial for you on the WWII Quest.

A. MWH 451-454 and 462-465.
B. Study for test.
C. Bring purple "Cold War" books in case there is no test.