World War II Student Project

  1. Introduction

    World War II was a global conflict that involved most of the countries on Earth. It was fought on land, in the air, and on the seas; battles were fought on three continents and on three oceans. The seeds for World War II were sown at the conclusion of World War I. The loser of the First World War, Germany, had to pay a steep price by disarming itself and paying large sums of money to the victors. The worldwide Great Depression that hit in the 1930s gave rise to desperation and anger in Germany. This atmosphere produced the man who led Germany to recovery and into World War II: Adolf Hitler.

    There are many people in North America who remember World War II. The war was a battle for freedom in the world, and it raged for two years in Europe and China before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In Europe the war ended with the death of Adolf Hitler in May 1945. On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped by the United States on Hiroshima, Japan, and on August 9 an even stronger one was dropped on Nagasaki. On September 2, 1945, Japan signed a formal surrender and World War II was over.

    World War II played a very large part in shaping the world we live in today. It resulted in Great Britain losing its empire, the United States gaining in power, the creation of the state of Israel, the development of the atomic bomb, and the division between "East" and "West" that runs through the middle of Europe. For the first time in history fully mechanized warfare was launched with gasoline engines: tanks, airplanes, submarines, battleships, trucks. It was an awesome, stupendous, terrible, frightening, deadly war, and a war that is truly fascinating to study, evaluate, and understand. Choose your topic carefully, and you will have a project that will prove to be interesting as well as educational.

  2. Identifying Topics

    Use reference materials to identify at least ten topics that you could study about World War II. Choose one of these topics for your project. Here are some key terms that you can look up:

    1. World War II: European Theater
    2. World War II: Pacific Theater
    3. World War II: African Theater
    4. Dwight Eisenhower
    5. George Patton
    6. Douglas MacArthur
    7. Operation OVERLORD
    8. Winston Churchill
    9. Nazis
    10. Pearl Harbor
    11. Robert Menzies

  3. Finding Sources

    Find five sources of information about your topic. In addition to encyclopedias, there are many library books, history books, textbooks, biographies, magazine articles, videos, websites, and other materials about World War II. There should be no difficulty locating enough sources of information to do this project.

  4. General Requirements

    1. Design a presentation that explains what you have learned.
    2. You will be required to present the project to your teacher or to your class, and perhaps to other audiences.

  5. Project Ideas

    1. Choose an important battle and describe it.
      1. Who were the generals?
      2. Where did it occur? (Show it on a map!)
      3. Describe each army and the moves it made.
      4. Who won?
      5. What was at stake?
      6. Present any other information that you can find.
    2. Make a time line of events that led up to and continued through the war.
    3. Make a mobile that shows people who were involved in the Second World War or that describes important battles.
    4. Make a mural that shows the major weapons that were used during the war, and which side developed and used each weapon.
    5. Make a series of maps that show Axis strength, Allied strength, and army movements at various points during the war.
    6. Choose one person and write his or her biography.

  6. Due Dates

    1. Mid-Project Report: ________________________

    2. Final Project: ________________________

Excerpted from Social Studies Projects.

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