World War Two is a mega topic and a highly complex war. It lasted 6 years and 1 day, directly involved more than 100 million people from 30 countries, resulted in 75-80 million deaths, and was the scene of one of the biggest human atrocities of the modern world: the Holocaust. We offer you tips and guidance for teaching this mega topic to your students.
See the fact file below for more information on the World War II Curriculum or alternatively, you can download our 9-page World War II Curriculum worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Before we start
- Below are guide points for teaching WWII. They are:
- (1) Avoid glorifying war. Though many people rose to the
challenges of wartime, there are heroic figures, actions and battles,
and exciting technology and weapons, war remains a form of
extreme destruction and violence. Try keep focused on the important
issues of war, such as its causes, effects and lessons to be learned.
- (2) Provide the right context. WWII didn’t happen spontaneously – it built up over years following WWI. It’s important to properly set the stage by examining ideas of imperialism and fascism, what the Treaty of Versailles was, how it affected Germany and how Germans felt about the treaty. The essential question that needs to be answered is, “After the huge cost of lives and destruction of WWI, why was the world prepared to go to war again?”
- (3) Avoid Good guys vs Bad Guys comparisons. While Germany was clearly committing atrocities during WWII, the Allies weren’t perfect either – Britain bombed German cities and killed many civilians. Churchill was an advocate of poison gas in WWI. In the US, racism and discrimination towards African Americans existed and there was the treatment and detainment of Japanese Americans. Avoid false equivalences of both sides did bad things during the war.
- (4) Highlight the scale and destructiveness of the war. Let’s face it, the war ended in 1945, which is a long time ago for students. WWII was the largest and most destructive war in human history and had massive consequences for economies all over the world and civilians took the hardest hit. While it was a long time ago, it’s important for students to learn the lessons of WWII so they can draw similarities and differences with later conflicts in terms of science, technology (including WMD), medicine and communication.
- (5) Remember and respect the victims. WWII saw some of the greatest atrocities of our time: These include the Holocaust, inhumane treatment of POWs, and civilian victims. Highlight the dangers of “othering” those who are different, “us versus them” mentality, classifying certain groups of people as “unwanted” or “undesirable”, and attitudes that allowed horrific war crimes and genocide to take place.
- (6) Draw attention to the values that started and ended the war. Toxic ideas of nationalism, superiority and domination sparked WWII. While values of community, teamwork and international cooperation, courage, optimism and sacrifice showcase the best of humanity in dark times. Furthermore, personal or ideological differences were put aside for a greater good, for example Russia and America cooperated in WWII.
- (7) Where possible, personalise the history of WWII. If you have grandparents old enough to remember the war, involve them in the lessons by sharing their memories and experiences. Failing that, there are many veterans still alive today willing to share their stories. There are also countless museums, memorials and online resources to explore to make better personal connections and gain a better understanding.
World War II Curriculum Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the World War II Curriculum across 9 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use World War II Curriculum worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the World War Two which is a mega topic and a highly complex war. It lasted 6 years and 1 day, directly involved more than 100 million people from 30 countries, resulted in 75-80 million deaths, and was the scene of one of the biggest human atrocities of the modern world: the Holocaust. We offer you tips and guidance for teaching this mega topic to your students.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Teaching World War II
- Lesson Plan Template
- Suggested Worksheets
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.