- 1917: The czar (emperor) is overthrown in Russia and a Communist government comes to power. The Russian empire is eventually renamed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), known as the Soviet Union.
- 1919: Germany signs the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending World War I. Extreme nationalist groups in Germany blame socialists, communists, and Jews for Germany's defeat.
- 1919: Communist revolutions in various parts of Germany are put down with great bloodshed.
- 1919: Adolf Hitler joins the tiny German Workers' Party in Munich. The party soon changes its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), called the Nazi Party for short.
- 1922: Benito Mussolini and his Fascist Party march on Rome, Mussolini is named premier of Italy.
- 1923: Hyperinflation hits Germany; its currency becomes worthless, causing severe economic distress.
- 1923: In November, Adolf Hitler leads a failed attempt to take over the German government. Police end the rebellion, called the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, and arrest Hitler and other leaders of the party.
- 1924: At his trial for treason and armed rebellion, Adolf Hitler gains the attention of...
(The entire section is 2059 words.)
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Words to Know
- Afrika Korps:
- The experienced, effective German troops who fought under German field marshal Erwin Rommel in the North African desert.
- The countries who fought against Germany, Italy, and Japan during World War II. The makeup of the Allied powers changed over the course of the war. The first major Allied countries were Great Britain and France. Germany defeated France in 1940 but some Free French forces continued to fight with the Allies until the end of the war. The Soviet Union and the United States joined the Allies in 1941.
- To add territory to an existing country.
- The 1938 agreement that made Austria a part of Nazi Germany.
- Anti-Comintern Treaty:
- Comintern refers to the Communist International organization, a group of world Communist parties that was run by the Soviet Union. Germany, Japan, and Italy called their military alliance Anti-Comintern to make it sound like a defensive agreement against communism.
(The entire section is 1935 words.)
Research and Activity Ideas
The following research and activity ideas are intended to offer suggestions for complementing social studies and history curricula, to trigger additional ideas for enhancing learning, and to suggest cross-disciplinary projects for library and classroom use.
Look in cookbooks published during the 1940s or in women's magazines published during World War II and note how the recipes account for rationing. Make one of the recipes and invite others to rate the flavor, or adapt a recipe from a modern cookbook to account for rationing.
Interview a veteran of World War II or someone who lived during the war. Create a list of questions before the interview. You might find out where your subject was during the war, how the war changed his or her life, his or her impression of the importance of the war both at the time and in the world after the war.
Atom bomb debate:
Study the decision to drop atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Taking into consideration only what was known at the time about the bombs, form two teams, one in favor of dropping the bomb and the other...
(The entire section is 700 words.)
Where to Learn More
The following list of resources focuses on material appropriate for middle school or high school students. The list is divided into sections, separating general sources from those that cover specific aspects of World War II; certain titles are applicable to more than one subject area and are repeated under different headings. Please note that web site addresses, though verified prior to publication, are subject to change.
Awesome Library. World War II. [Online] http://www.awesomelibrary.org/Classroom/Social_Studies/Hist... (accessed on August 13, 1999).
Canadian Forces College."Military History: World War II (1939-1945)." War, Peace and Security Guide. [Online] (accessed on August 13, 1999).
Clancey, Patrick. Hyperwar: A Hypertext History of the Second World War. [Online] http://metalab.unc.edu/hyperwar (accessed on August 13, 1999).
Freeman, Michael, and Tim Mason, eds. Atlas of Nazi Germany. New York: Macmillan, 1987.
Graff, Stewart. The Story of World War II. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1978.
(The entire section is 2140 words.)