Use the Activities
Putting It All Together
Ladd Field was an important military support center and example of cooperation between allies in WWII. The following activities will help students understand the importance of cooperation between wartime allies, examine the Lend-Lease Act's role in helping the Allies win WWII, and learn about the effects war has not only on whole nations, but on communities and individuals.
Activity 1: Wartime Cooperation
Divide students into four or five groups and have them research cooperation between participating countries in the American Revolution, the American Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and WWII. Assign one group to research the cooperation between Russians, Americans, and Canadians in WWII beyond the ALSIB route. (For example, students could research the building of the Alcan Highway.) As they research, students should answer the following questions:
- Which countries cooperated together?
- What were the motives of each?
- How did they cooperate?
- Did one or more countries contribute more than the other?
- Did the process go smoothly or were there disagreements and friction between the nations (or, in extreme cases, fall apart)?
- Was the cooperation fully, partially, or not at all successful? Why or why not? What measure(s) of success are you using?
After this research is complete, have students create a museum exhibit (as small or large as time permits), and then visit each other's exhibits where students can ask and answer questions to fill in the rest of the Wartime Cooperation Matrix.
If possible, teachers and students can arrange to invite other classes and the community (their families) to visit their Wartime Cooperation museum exhibits setup in an assembly room. Students can stand by their exhibits and explain what they studied and answer questions.
Activity 2: Lend-Lease: Success or Failure
The United States spent billions of dollars supporting its allies in WWII. This activity takes the Lend-Lease program beyond Ladd Field and the Northwest Transfer Route and has students research how the Lend-Lease Act helped the Allies win the war. Divide students into groups, in pairs, or on their own depending on class size, to research different countries and the help that they received. Then, have students create a PowerPoint or Prezi to share with the class.
Students also should research the relationship immediately following the war, and the current relationship between the United States and the assigned country. Have the students do a quick investigation on what happened to these relationships after the war. Finally, hold a class discussion to have students examine what lessons might be learned from their findings.
Activity 3: Veterans of War
Have students research the impact of war and the military in their own communities and interview veterans, current military members or those involved in past/current conflicts. Begin by asking students to brainstorm and think about historic places in the community that are or were associated with WWII or other wars they are considering. This might be cemeteries where veterans or other war dead are buried, armories, memorials, draft offices, etc. Ask students, "Are these places still serving their original purposes? If not, what are they used for now? Are there places related to wartime activities that used to exist in the community (or nearby) that don't exist anymore? If so, what were they, what happened to them, and when? Was the fate of any of them controversial? Would it make a difference to residents' understanding of and/or appreciation for the community's history if any of these places had been preserved and interpreted?"
If possible invite a veteran or current member of the military to come and speak to the entire class to introduce the interviewing process. Before that person comes to class, have students think back on the historic places in their community that are associated with war. Guide students in formulating meaningful and appropriate questions to ask when interviewing veterans, WWII survivors, or soldiers from more recent conflicts who volunteered or signed up from their town. Have students practice interviewing each other and for their final product, have students create podcasts of their interviews.
Consider taping and transcribing the interviews and offer them to local historic societies or libraries for their collection. Some interviews could be offered to the Library of Congress for the "Veterans History Project."