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Session 3: Outcomes of World War II

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Session 3: Outcomes of World War II

  • Resources on the League of Nations and the United Nations

  • Map of divided Germany following WWII
Instructional Activities

1. Instruct students to develop a list of possible outcomes of WWII. Responses may include the following:

  • Creation of the United Nations

  • The Cold War

  • Creation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact

  • Implementation of the Iron Curtain (the term Churchill coined for those eastern European countries that had fallen to communism)

  • Creation of two super powers—the United States and the Soviet Union

  • The Marshall Plan (rebuilding of western Europe to prevent the spread of communism; founded on the concept that communism feeds on poverty and turmoil)

  • Nuremberg war trials

2. Have students research the terms Cold War and Iron Curtain and write definitions in their own words.

3. Instruct students to compare and contrast the League of Nations and the United Nations.

4. Have students debate whether leaders of countries defeated in a war should be placed on trial as war criminals.

5. Discuss with the class how the Allies dealt with Germany after WWII, including the following:

    • At conferences held by the Big Three (Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin) during the war, it was decided that Germany would be divided into east and west sections. The west would be occupied by America, Great Britain, and France, and the east by the Soviet Union. Berlin would be divided in a similar manner.

    • West Germany soon began to have an economic revival, while the east lagged behind.

    • Divided Germany and, later, the Berlin Wall became symbols of the Cold War.

6. Have students look at a map of Germany following WWII to see how it was divided. Discuss problems that developed, including the following:

    • Families were split up.

    • The east and west became economic and political rivals.

    • The government of East Germany tried to keep citizens from leaving the country (Iron Curtain, Berlin Wall).

    • People tried to flee to the west, where conditions were better.

7. Explain the establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the following information:

  • It was established and adopted by members of the United Nations.

  • It provides a code of conduct for treatment of people under the protection of their government.

Session 4: Assessment


  • Attachment A: Sample Assessment Items
Instructional Activities

1. Distribute copies of Attachment A, and have students complete the assessment.

Attachment A: Sample Assessment Items

An asterisk (*) indicates the correct answer.

1. The Marshall Plan, the Iron Curtain, and the Berlin Airlift are events associated with

A World War I.

B worldwide depression.

C Cold War.*

D New Imperialism.

2. Which was a cause of World War II?

A Alliances between Russia and Germany

B Failures of the Treaty of Versailles*

C Success of the League of Nations

D French attacks on Germany

3. Who was the Soviet dictator during World War II?

A Joseph Stalin*

B Adolf Hitler

C Vladimir Lenin

D Benito Mussolini

4. Which organization was a model for the current United Nations?

A The League of Nations*

B The North Atlantic Treaty Organization ((NATO)

C The European Union

D The Organization of American States (OAS)

5. Which BEST explains the Allied victory in World War II?

A Superior weapons and military tactics

B Inclusion of women and ethnic minorities in combat and support services

C Mobilization of the American economy and armed forces*

D Development and use of atomic weapons

6. The systematic and purposeful destruction of a racial, religious, political, or cultural group is called

A annihilation.

B enslavement.

C genocide.*

D germ warfare.

7. Which country was NOT an Allied Power during WWII?

A Great Britain

B France

C Germany*

D Russia

8. Which country was NOT an Axis Power during WWII?

A Germany

B Japan

C Italy

D Great Britain*

9. In 1994, Rwanda experienced a biter civil war between what two tribes?

A Tutsi and Hutu*

B Tutsi and Khoisan

C Khoisan and Somalis

D Ethiopians and Hutu

Organizing Topic

Major Events of the Second Half of the Twentieth Century

Standard(s) of Learning

WHII.13 The student will demonstrate knowledge of major events in the second half of the twentieth century by

a) explaining key events of the Cold War, including the competition between the American and Soviet economic and political systems and the causes of the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe;

b) assessing the impact of nuclear weaponry on patterns of conflict and cooperation since 1945;

c) describing conflicts and revolutionary movements in eastern Asia, including those in China and Vietnam, and their major leaders, i.e., Mao Tse-tung (Zedong), Chiang Kai-shek, and Ho Chi Minh;

d) describing major contributions of selected world leaders in the second half of the twentieth century including Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Deng Xiaoping.

Essential Understandings, Knowledge, and Skills

Correlation to

Instructional Materials

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

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

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

Analyze trends in human migration and cultural interaction.


Explain that competition between the United States and the U.S.S.R. laid the foundation for the Cold War.

Summarize the beginning of the Cold War (1945–1948), using the following information as a guide:

  • The Yalta Conference and the Soviet control of Eastern Europe

  • Rivalry between the United States and the U.S.S.R.

  • Democracy and the free enterprise system vs. dictatorship and communism

  • President Truman and the Policy of Containment

  • Eastern Europe: Soviet satellite nations, the Iron Curtain

Summarize the following characteristics/events of the Cold War (1948–1989):

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) vs. Warsaw Pact

  • Korean War

  • Vietnam War

  • Berlin and significance of Berlin Wall

  • Cuban Missile Crisis

  • Nuclear weapons and the theory of deterrence

Explain that the Cold War influenced the policies of the United States and the U.S.S.R. towards other nations and conflicts around the world.

Explain that the presence of nuclear weapons has influenced patterns of conflict and cooperation since 1945.

Explain that communism failed as an economic system in the Soviet Union and elsewhere.

Summarize the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, using the following information as a guide:

  • Soviet economic collapse

  • Nationalism in Warsaw Pact countries

  • Tearing down of Berlin Wall

  • Breakup of the Soviet Union

  • Expansion of NATO

Explain that Japanese occupation of European colonies in Asia heightened demands for independence after World War II.

Define containment as a policy for preventing the expansion of communism.

Explain that after World War II, the United States pursued a policy of containment against communism. This policy included the development of regional alliances against Soviet and Chinese aggression. The Cold War led to armed conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.

Summarize the conflicts and revolutionary movements in China after World War II, using the following information as a guide:

  • Division of China into two nations at the end of the Chinese civil war

  • Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi): Nationalist China (island of Taiwan)

  • Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong): Communist China (mainland China)

  • Continuing conflict between the two Chinas

  • Communist China’s participation in Korean War

Summarize the conflicts and revolutionary movements in Vietnam after World War II, using the following information as a guide:

  • Role of French imperialism

  • Leadership of Ho Chi Minh

  • Vietnam as a divided nation

  • Influence of policy of containment

  • The United States and the Vietnam War

  • Vietnam as a reunited communist country today

Explain the contributions to major events of each of the following world leaders in the second half of the twentieth century:

  • Indira Gandhi
  • Closer relationship between India and the Soviet Union during the Cold War

  • Developed nuclear program

  • Margaret Thatcher

  • British prime minister

  • Free trade and less government regulation of business

  • Close relationship with United States and U.S. foreign policy

  • Assertion of United Kingdom’s military power

  • Mikhail Gorbachev

  • Glasnost and perestroika

  • Fall of the Berlin Wall

  • Last president of Soviet Union

  • Deng Xiaoping

  • Reformed Communist China’s economy to a market economy, leading to rapid economic growth

  • Continued communist control of government

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