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Historical Context

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Putting It All Together

The following activities will help demonstrate to students the chronology of World War II and the context of Americans at war.

Activity 1: Setting the Context
Have the students first check their own history textbooks to see if Attu or the Aleutian Islands are mentioned. Then have them choose one of the following assignments:

  • Research the Battle of Attu more fully and make a report to the class.
  • Examine the entire war in the Pacific to better understand the particular role the Battle of Attu played in the full campaign.
  • Call veterans' groups in the community and try to arrange for members who fought in World War II to come to class and speak about their personal experiences.

Activity 2: The Local Impact of World War II
Have students investigate their own region to see how it was affected by World War II. If there were active military bases, they might find out where the armed forces who trained there were sent. They might also check to see if local factories were engaged in war work. If these bases or factories no longer exist, the students could find out what is now located on the sites. Local papers published during the 1940s are good sources both for information and photographs. These usually can be found in the archives of public libraries or in the morgue of the newspaper office. Senior citizen centers are good places to conduct interviews about how the military base or factory affected the local community. Using text and image editing software or traditional art materials, have each student design 1-3 pages to display their findings with images and text. Take the students' pages and create a class booklet on how their region experienced the War.

Activity 3: War and the Individual
Encourage students to invite a veteran of Operation Desert Storm or Operation Iraqi Freedom to visit the classroom to describe another recent military engagement where climate and logistical problems played a very large role. After the presentation, have students discuss similarities and differences between the two battles. Then ask them to write an essay on the role of the ordinary soldier (both American and Japanese) during the crisis of war.

 

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