About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places nomination file, "Ladd Field" (with photographs), and other source materials regarding Ladd Field and the Alaska-Siberia (ALSIB) staging route during WWII. The lesson was written by Sarah Evridge, a teacher and edited by Darrell Lewis, a historian from the National Park Service in Anchorage, Alaska, and the staff of the Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) program. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in units on World War II, especially the American Lend-Lease program; military history; early military aviation; and Alaska history. It will assist students in understanding the role of Ladd Field during WWII and the unique role it played as part of the Alaska-Siberia (ALSIB) staging route between Alaska and the Soviet Union.
Time period: mid-20th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Relevant Alaska History Standards for Grades 5-12
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To identify the changing missions of Ladd Field over time and explain its role during WWII.
2) To describe the cooperation between the Soviets and Americans during the war and to determine whether the Lend-Lease program was a success or a failure.
3) To analyze the importance of the Lend-Lease program in helping the Allies win WWII.
4) To discuss the impact of WWII in their own community based on research and interviews.
Materials for students
The materials listed below can either be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-resolution version.
1) Three maps: The first is of major military sites in Alaska during WWII; the second shows Ladd Field in relation to Fairbanks; the third map illustrates the ALSIB route in starting in North America and ending in the Soviet Union.
2) Three readings: The first reading discusses the origin and history of Ladd Field; the second discusses the creation of the ALSIB route; and the third covers the cooperation between the American and Soviet allies.
3) Six photos of Ladd Field from its beginning to the height of the Lend-Lease mission in WWII.
Visiting the site
Ladd Field is located on Fort Wainwright, near Fairbanks, Alaska. Fort Wainwright is an active Army installation and all visitors must stop at the Visitors Center located outside the Main Gate. Visitors can drive along a self-guided tour of the historic district, which is explained through interpretive panels and a booklet. The site's brochure can be downloaded here.
The best time to visit Alaska and Ladd Field is May through September. For more information, visit Fort Wainwright's website or contact Lisa Graham, Cultural Resource Manager at: 907-361-3002.