World War II and The United States of America



Lesson 1: Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941


bomber, destroyer, dispatch, embargo, evacuate, raid, radar, sabotage, treaty, torpedo


computer, World War II Timeline, notebook paper, video, websites, journal

What Happened? 

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the naval and army bases at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. It began with a surprise air attack very early in the morning. Many Japanese fighter planes dropped bombs on Pearl Harbor in an attempt to harm the U.S. Navy. The Japanese destroyed or disabled most of the United States' Pacific fleet. However, the U.S. aircraft carriers were at sea during the attack and escaped destruction. Thousands of American lives were lost as the attack took place. 

The U.S. Responds...

On December 8, 1941, President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on the Japanese. His address was broadcast by radio around the nation.

a). Read and listen to President Roosevelt's speech to Congress and be prepared to discuss your thoughts with the class.

b). Visit the attached website to learn more about World War II history and the attack on Pearl Harbor. Make sure you take notes and are able to discuss the event in class.  

c). In your journal write an essay as if you were a soldier or nurse stationed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  What did you do? How did you feel? What were you thinking?

Lesson 2: World War II: Axis and Allied Powers


Allied Powers, appeasement, Axis Powers, concentration camp, D-Day, fascism, Gestapo, Holocaust, Nazi, Pact of Steel 


computer, notebook paper, websites, poster board, markers/pens 

World Powers:

World War II was fought by two major groups of nations. They became known as the Allied and Axis Powers. 
Who Were the Allied Powers?

The Allied Powers came together in order to defend against the attacks of the Axis Powers. The Allied Powers were originally made up of four countries: Great Britain, France, Russia, and the United States. Each country also had its own leaders, who consisted of Winston Churchill (Great Britain), Charles de Gaulle (France), Joseph Stalin (Russia), and Franklin D. Roosevelt (United States).   

Who Were the Axis Powers?

The Axis Powers were made up of Germany, Italy, and Japan. Their alliance began with the friendship treaty between Germany and Italy that formed the Rome-German Axis. In 1939 Germany and Italy strengthened that treaty by signing the Pact of Steel. Japan joined the alliance in 1940 that created the three main Axis Powers in World War II. The Axis Powers also had their own leaders, who consisted of Adolph Hitler (Germany), Benito Mussolini (Italy), and Emperor Hirohito (Japan).    

Who were the world leaders in World War II? You will be divided into groups of 2-3 students. Each group will be assigned a leader of a country (Axis or Allied Powers). You must create a poster about your assigned leader that states his name, country, politics, and positive or negative influences on the world. Use the attached website as well as two others of your choosing to develop your poster. Posters will be presented to the class and hung on the wall for future reference.  

Lesson 3: The American Home Front


Women's Army Corps (WAC), Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP's), Propaganda


computer, video: Women and Minorities at Home, video: Propaganda in the U.S., markers, crayons, pens 

Women's Role During WWII:

When the United States entered the war in 1941 many more men were sent to fight, which left women to do their part on the home front. Although women did not become combat soldiers they did help by serving in the armed forces as nurses and pilots. Everyone had to do their part. Women were especially important. They played a very important role of keeping the country together on the home front. Women took over the jobs of 10 million men and went off to work in the factories, which produced ships, tanks, munitions, and other much needed materials for the war. 


In order to give Americans a better feeling about the war the U.S. Government used propaganda to keep them united in the war effort. Various posters were made that showed patriotism and ways people could help with the war effort from home. Propaganda also encouraged women to serve in the armed forces and work in factories. Movies were also made that showed brave soldiers fighting the enemy. The U.S. Government did what they could to unite America around the war effort.


a). Watch the videos attached to this WebQuest and take notes.

b). Propaganda Poster - use the attached websites to learn more about propaganda and women's roles during World War II. Create a propaganda poster that you might see in America during WWII. Make sure that the poster includes illustrations as well as print media.

Lesson 4: World War II Geography


Allied Powers, Axis Powers, Internment Camps, neutrality 


computer, world map, assigned country, poster board, markers, crayons, pens 


a). Use the provided world map to designate the location of Allied and Axis Powers. Color the members of the Allied Powers blue and the Axis Powers red.  

b). WWII Geography Poster - you will be divided into groups of 2 students. Each group will be assigned a country. Create a poster of your assigned country that shows the 5 themes of geography: location, place, region, movement, human environment. Use the attached website and at least two others of your choosing to complete the assignment. You will present your poster and research to the class at the end of the unit lesson on World War II.

Lesson 5: The U.S. Economy During WWII


ration books, victory gardens, junk rallies


computer, websites, video: All Together, journal 

Rationing: What & Why?

During WWII many products were in short supply. Metal was used to make tanks and battleships, medicine was needed on the battlefield, and rubber was mostly imported from Southeast Asia. This made goods and materials hard to get. By the end of the war, many products were rationed. Families would receive ration stamps that allowed them to buy a certain amount of goods. The U.S. rationed products such as tires, automobiles, sugar, gas, meat, butter, and coal. This made times difficult for Americans. 


a). Visit the attached website and watch the video, All Together.  Think about how your life would be different if you were only allowed to have certain amounts of food and supplies.

b). Write an essay in your journal about what life might be like, today, if we had to ration food and supplies.    



  • Pearl Harbor Vocabulary
    Description: Use these vocabulary words to help better understand the events that took place at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Web Link
  • U.S. Women in WWII
    Description: View this link to gain more knowledge about World War II and women's roles on the home front.

Web Link

Web Link
  • The Axis Powers of WWII
    Description: Visit this website to learn more about World War II, the Axis Powers, and their leaders.


Web Link
  • The Allied Powers of WWII
    Description: Visit this website to learn more about the World War II, the Allied Powers, and their leaders.

Web Link



Web Link

Web Link

Roosevelt's Speech to Congress: Request to declare War on Japan

Description: This video allows students to listen to President Roosevelt's address to Congress asking to declare war on Japan.

  • World Map
    Description: This map will be printed and provided for you to complete your Allied and Axis Powers geography assignment.

Web Link
All Together

Description: Watch this video to see how even Disney characters were used to promote the economy during WWII.

Web Link
  • World War II Timeline
    Description: Visit this website to help you better understand the dates and events of WWII.

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