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Organizing Topic World War II Standard(s) of Learning


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Organizing Topic

World War II

Standard(s) of Learning

WHII.12 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the worldwide impact of World War II by

a) explaining economic and political causes, describing major events, and identifying leaders of the war, with emphasis on Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, George C. Marshall, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Hideki Tojo, and Hirohito;

b) examining the Holocaust and other examples of genocide in the twentieth century;

c) explaining the terms of the peace, the war crimes trials, the division of Europe, plans to rebuild Germany and Japan, and the creation of international cooperative organizations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

Essential Understandings, Knowledge, and Skills

Correlation to

Instructional Materials

Skills (to be incorporated into instruction throughout the academic year)

Identify, analyze, and interpret primary and secondary sources to make generalizations about events and life in world history.

Use maps, globes, artifacts, and pictures to analyze the physical and cultural landscapes of the world and to interpret the past.

Identify geographic features important to the study of world history.

Identify and compare contemporary political boundaries with the location of civilizations, empires, and kingdoms.

Analyze trends in human migration and cultural interaction.


Explain that many economic and political causes led to World War II. Major theaters of war included Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Leadership was essential to the Allied victory.

Summarize the following economic and political causes of World War II:

  • Aggression by totalitarian powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan

  • Nationalism

  • Failures of the Treaty of Versailles

  • Weakness of the League of Nations

  • Appeasement

  • Tendencies towards isolationism and pacifism in Europe and the United States

Summarize the following major events of World War II:

  • German invasion of Poland

  • Fall of France

  • Battle of Britain

  • German invasion of the Soviet Union

  • Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

  • D-Day (Allied invasion of Europe)

  • Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Identify and describe the following major leaders of World War II:

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt: U.S. president

  • Harry Truman: U.S. president after death of President Roosevelt

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower: Allied Commander in Europe

  • Douglas MacArthur: U.S. general

  • George C. Marshall: U.S. general

  • Winston Churchill: British prime minister

  • Joseph Stalin: Soviet dictator

  • Adolf Hitler: Nazi dictator of Germany

  • Hideki Tojo: Japanese general

  • Hirohito: Emperor of Japan

Explain that there had been a climate of hatred against Jews in Europe and Russia for centuries.

Define the term genocide as the systematic and purposeful destruction of a racial, political, religious, or cultural group.

Summarize the following elements leading to the Holocaust:

  • Totalitarianism combined with nationalism
  • History of anti-Semitism

  • Defeat in World War I and economic depression blamed on German Jews

  • Hitler’s belief in the master race

  • Final solution: Extermination camps, gas chambers

Explain that various instances of genocide occurred throughout the twentieth century.

Describe the following other examples of genocides:

  • Armenians by leaders of the Ottoman Empire

  • Peasants, government and military leaders, and members of the elite in the Soviet Union by Joseph Stalin

  • The educated, artists, technicians, former government officials, monks, and minorities by Pol Pot in Cambodia

  • Tutsi minority by Hutu in Rwanda

Explain that the outcomes of World War II included the war crimes trials, the division of Europe, plans to rebuild Germany and Japan, and the establishment of international cooperative organizations.

Summarize the following outcomes of World War II:

  • Loss of empires by European powers

  • Establishment of two major powers in the world: The United States and the U.S.S.R.

  • War crimes trials

  • Division of Europe, Iron Curtain

  • Establishment of the United Nations

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • Marshall Plan

  • Formation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Warsaw Pact

Describe the war crimes trials.

Describe the efforts for reconstruction of Germany, using the following information as a guide:

  • Democratic government installed in West Germany and West Berlin

  • Germany and Berlin divided among the four Allied powers
  • Emergence of West Germany as economic power in postwar Europe

Describe the efforts for reconstruction of Japan, using the following information as a guide:

  • United States occupation of Japan under MacArthur’s administration

  • Democracy and economic development

  • Elimination of Japan’s military offensive capabilities; guarantee of Japan’s security by the United States

  • Emergence of Japan as dominant economy in Asia

Identify the following international cooperative organizations created after World War II:

  • United Nations

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

  • Warsaw Pact

Identify the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, using the following information as a guide:

  • Established and adopted by members of the United Nations

  • Provided a code of conduct for the treatment of people under the protection of their government

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