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Teaching Guide

Teaching World War II: Home Front

Teach the home front, home slice.

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Most of the WWII action happened overseas, but a lot was happening on the home front, too.

In this guide you will find

  • an activity analyzing the American involvement in the war.
  • discussion questions examining the politics and economy of war.
  • historical resources on FDR and America's direction after the war.

And much more.

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Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 3-5 Common Core-aligned activities (including quotation, image, and document analysis) to complete in class with your students, with detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes to be sure students are looking at the material through various lenses.
  • Resources to help make the topic feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop's teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the topic and how you can overcome the hurdles.

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Instructions for You

The wartime experience of most Americans was little like the wartime experience of European civilians. In this exercise, your students will consider the significance of this fact.

Share this quote with your students and ask them to consider the following questions.

"The war gave a lot of people jobs. It led them to expect more than they had before. People's expectations, financially, spiritually, were raised. There was such a beautiful dream. We were gonna reach the end of the rainbow... I remember a woman saying on the bus that she hoped the war didn't end until she got her refrigerator paid for."
– Peggy Terry, a woman who worked in a munitions factory during the war

  • How common do you think feeling was?
    • Was it callous or understandable?
  • Do you think a person in England or the Soviet Union would have said the same?
  • What enabled Americans to experience the war differently than its allies?
  • Have Americans experienced war in the same way that other countries have over the past 100 years?
  • Might this affect the way we think about war in general?

Instructions for Your Students

During World War II, France was overrun and occupied by Nazi soldiers, Britain suffered nightly air attacks, and seven million Russian civilians lost their lives. Many of the great cities of Europe and Asia were reduced to rubble. The Jews of Europe were nearly destroyed in the Holocaust.

Meanwhile, American civilians experienced new levels of prosperity as wartime mobilization created new jobs and high wages.

Take a look at this quote:

"The war gave a lot of people jobs. It led them to expect more than they had before. People's expectations, financially, spiritually, were raised. There was such a beautiful dream. We were gonna reach the end of the rainbow... I remember a woman saying on the bus that she hoped the war didn't end until she got her refrigerator paid for."
– Peggy Terry, a woman who worked in a munitions factory during the war

Can you imagine an English or Russian or Chinese citizen saying the same thing?

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WANT MORE HELP TEACHING WORLD WAR II: HOME FRONT?

Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

Intro    Summary & Analysis    Timeline    Battles    People    Facts    Photos    Best of the Web    Citations    Test Review    
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