WWII Jigsaw

An entire course could be dedicated to WWII. Some scholars spend a lifetime studying it. We’re going to do it in just a few classes. In other words, we’re just skimming the surface!

Working in groups, we’re going to study six different aspects of WWII, and then you’re going to teach each other about it. In your groups, you will make a presentation (using Smart Notebook or Powerpoint) that will guide you when presenting the material to the class and can be shared afterwards as study material for the entire class. The Presentation should:

  1. Define the key terms–appeasement, blitzkrieg, total war, the Non-aggression pact etc.
  2. Provide a timeline
  3. Provide a map
  4. Identify the main actors (which countries, which commanders, the number of troops)
  5. Find one powerful image that captures the significance of the period you’re talking about
  6. Explain why this series of events/battles/policies/speeches were significant to the overall story of WWII

Each group should have six students per group. You may stay in your traditional groups, or join a new group. Here are the topics. There is a set of readings associated with each topic. Your group will be responsible for presenting that material to the rest of the class.

Appeasement and the Outbreak of War

Hitler, Chamberlain, Churchill Speeches

The Invasion of Poland, the Fall of France and the Battle of Britain

Stage One German Successes 1939-1941


The Invasion of the Soviet Union

War with Russia

Bombing of Moscow

The War goes Global

Midway, El Alamein, Stalingrad

Pearl Harbour

Victory in Europe

Allied Victory in Europe


The Air War and the Atom Bomb

The Air War