World War II Curriculum/History


Social Studies Curriculum USING ALAN’S LETTERS

National Standards for History/Social Studies are addressed when using the the book, ALAN’S LETTERS to study United State’s role in the World War II. Please see the discussion below for ways to use the book materials. Also be sure to click onto the Reader’s Theatre WW II script, and the Interactive Computer program of “Patton’s Route”, to include both the arts and technology into a student project.

State of ARKANSAS State Standard: Arkansas History for Grades 9-12

         Strand: World War II to Present

         Standard 9:   Students shall analyze the effects of World War II and other events upon the modernization of  Arkansas. (Analyze the building, development, and historical use of Camp Rucker. See letters written from Camp Rucker about Alan’s stay there).

State of Florida Standards are addressed as follows:

Sunshine State Standard 912.A.6. Independent, and SUPPORTED:

      IDENTIFY KEY EVENTS IN FLORIDA such as the construction of military bases and World War II training bases.... (Analyze the building, development, and historical use of Camp Balnding. See letters written from Camp Blanding from Alan’s stay there.)

State of Massachusetts History/Social Studies Curriculum can be taught using Alan’s Letters.

Two Pathways are relevant for Grades 8-11:

         U.S. History II, 1877-present, and

         World History II 1800-present

The primary sources in Alan’s Letters can be used for teaching the following designated “Skills”:

8. “Interpret the past within it’s own historical context rather than in terms of present day norms and values.”

   Find examples of racial segregation that were normal for that era, but would not be tolerated today. Have there been changes in current society that makes the text dated?

    Can you find other examples of changing societal attitudes? (look at daily events and details-such as attitudes towards smoking, saving money etc.)


9. “Distinguish historical fact from opinion.”

    What does Alan say about General Patton? General Patton has always been an interesting historical figure, even in his own lifetime. Using research, find examples that back up Alan’s comment about the general.

    Were all the commanders of the ETO (European Theatre of Operations) harmonious in their opinions of each other? Why, or why not? How could this accordance/disagreement effect the progress of the war? Site examples.

Site other examples of opinion in the book. Find historical facts that support or debunk the opinion.

    “Using historical maps, locate the boundaries the height of their powers.”

    It is important to the understanding of the beginning of WWII, to know European country borders, and which borders were crossed by another countries’ armies.

Group project: plot country and control in Europe in 1938; then each year after that: 1939; 1940; 1941; 1942; 1943; 1944; 1944. Designate a color code per country, and a hatched overlay pattern representing where the German army invaded. 

United States Pathway II.15 

    “Analyze how German aggression...contributed to the start of WWII and summarize the major battles and events of the war. On a map of the world, locate the Allied Powers and the Axis Powers.”

    Group project: plot country borders and control in 1938 on a World map; then do the same for each year after that: 1939; 1940; 1941; 1942; 1943; 1944; 1944; 1945. Designate a color code per country, and two different overlay patterns for regions where the German and Japanese armies invaded. Analyze how extensive the war expanded around the world. What areas were untouched? 

    To what extent did Germany and Japan aide each other? How did this alliance originate?


United States Pathway II.17

    “Explain important domestic events that took place during the war.

how war-inspired economic growth ended the Great Depression...and

the entry of large numbers of women in the workforce.”

    What employment was available for Alan before he enlisted? Could he have been deferred for this work? What work was his sister doing? How was this connected to the war effort by women? 

How did the United States economy benefit by WWII? What were the repercussions after the war for both women and society when the fighting stopped?

World History Pathway II.24

    Summarize the key battles of World War II in Europe:

     D Day

     Battle of the Bulge

    How do the battles described in Alan’s Letters fit into the overall timeline of the European Theatre?

    Why are some battles talked about more, and made famous, while others are not? Who decides this?  Which of the above noted battles did the 5th Division participate in? 

    PROJECT: Using a time line, create a sequence of the major battles of the ETO in WWII. Where do the battles described in the book fit on the time line?  Why are some battles more well-known than others? Why are not all the battles famous? What makes a battle famous? How do you think a soldier feels as he fights everyday; is he thinking that he is fighting in a “famous” battle? If you were the soldier,  would it make a difference to you? Why, or why not? Find an example in the book of a fierce battle that is not (well)known to the public; now answer the above questions with just that battle in mind.

 World History Pathway II.28

    Explain the consequences of WWII.

    There was physical destruction across England and Europe in terms of vegetation and infrastructure. Find instances of this in Alan’s Letters. 

There was also an enormous loss of life, including millions of civilians...

What examples are given in Alan’s Letters of the quality of life for the French civilians? 

    What are the human consequences of this destruction? How does the French civilian adapt after the war?

How does the American soldier adapt to civilian life after the war? How is this different, or the same, with soldiers returning from war today?

Mass. S.S. Standards: 21. Identify the causes of inflation and explain who benefits.

     Some information is given in Alan’s Letters about the U.S. economy for the average family in 1943. What was the role of savings bonds in the war time economy? How did this help control inflation?

    What other countries of the world were experiencing inflation? How did they control this?

    What enterprises were developed in the US for the war effort? 

How did these wartime industries effect the economy? Was this the same pattern for all the world countries?



   “.....Alan's Letters. (It)  provides excellent primary sources for students studying the European theater of World War II. ....We are going to do a list of recommended resources for teachers to use for teaching WWII. It will be up on our website later this week to coincide with the anniversary of D-Day. I'll include your book in the list.

        ....I'd love to have it (Alan’s Letters) available for teachers,in the Primary Source Library”.

J. H.,

Librarian, Ma, 2010


.... Hi Nancy. I showed your wonderful book to our archives staff. Everybody  loves it. Everybody thinks it's the best book on WWII. They think it should be at the WWII museum. And we'd love to invite you to come to our professional development workshop.......A. D.,  2010

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