Post-World War II Teacher Resources

The Post-World War II era was a time of great change, of shifting alliances, and mass migration. Faced with the staggering loss of life and massive devastation of property, nations struggled to find ways to rebuild economies, improve faith in institutions, and prevent future wars.

Set the stage for a study of this period with an interactive that permits students to review the key battles, track division movements, and read personal stories from soldiers on the front lines of World War II. The period after the war was marked by diplomatic maneuvering. To aid countries affected by World War II and to battle the advance of communism, the United States adopted the The European Recovery Act.To gain an understanding of the particulars of the plan, young historians can examine the documents contained in the The Marshall Plan Exhibit or study primary sources related to the Marshall Plan that reveal attempts by the United States to contain the USSR at the beginning of the Cold War.

European countries were not the only ones affected by the Post-War period. High schoolers can investigate how imperialism influenced policy decisions related to Greater East Asia or read a story about life in Post-War Japan. Attempts to avoid another “hot” war gave rise to the Cold War. Class members read all about it through primary source documents and then formulate their own claims of who was most responsible for the battle between communism and capitalism.

Lesson Planet offers a complete collection of reviewed and rated resources that permit pupils to investigate the issues faced by immigrants after WWII, the impact of decolonization and the Third World Order, and the development of the European Union.  

The political and social upheaval of the Post-World War II era gave rise to the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall, to McCarthyism and the Arms Race, and is a period well-worth the attention of young historians.

Showing 1 - 24 of 62 resources
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Anticommunism in Postwar America, 1945–1954: Witch Hunt or Red Menace?

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
From allies to enemies—the post-World War II period saw a dramatic shift in the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. A three-lesson collection examines the turbulent period and the rise of the anti-communist...
4 Items in Collection
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American Diplomacy in World War II

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
The “Grand Alliance” between the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union was established during World War II to counter the aggression of German and Japan. A four-resource collection looks at the differences in the members’...
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Becoming Us: Belonging

For Teachers 8th - 11th Standards
The Becoming Us: Belonging module examines how the American ideal of shared identity has been challenged by fear and insecurity. The first of three case studies focus on the deportation of Mexican American citizens during the Great...
1 In 1 Collection
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The New Order for "Greater East Asia"

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
Sometimes the New Order becomes synonymous with its implications for European countries, but what about its consequences for East Asia? The final instructional activity in a four-part series teaches scholars about World War II. High...
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"A Sound of Hammering" by Dazai Osamu

For Teachers 7th - 12th
Dazai Osamu’s short story, “A Sound of Hammering” is the focus of a three-day investigation of modern Japanese literature and life in post-World War II Japan. The events in Osamu’s story mirror those in his own life, and give a...
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Invisible Man: Crash Course Literature

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
John Green, the narrator of a Crash Course Literature episode focusing on Invisible Man, offers his analysis of Ralph Ellison's novel. Using evidence from the text, Green details why Ellison's novel should be considered as a seminal work...
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Building Suburbia: Highways and Housing in Postwar America

For Teachers 9th - 12th
Students determine how suburbs changed America. In this post World War II lesson, students complete research projects that require them to examine the growth of suburbs in the 1950's and 1960's. Students reveal how government policies,...
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Post-War Suburbanization: Causes and Interpretations

For Teachers 9th - 12th
In this teaching American history worksheet, students examine a primary source document regarding post-World War II suburbanization. Students discuss their impressions of the document.
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Victory and the New Order in Europe

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
A New Order in Europe calls for a new lesson plan! This third plan in a series of four sequential lessons encourages high schoolers to read primary sources about the development of the New Order and follow up their knowledge with a...
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The Marshall Plan: The Vision of a Family of Nations

For Students 8th - 12th Standards
The European Recovery Act (aka the Marshall Plan) was designed to bring together and develop a spirit of cooperation among European nations after World War II. Class members examine the materials from the Marshall Plan exhibit and assess...
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Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America 1935-1940

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
Redlining—or the practice of racial discrimination in housing loans—directly led to today's segregated living patterns in America. Using data from the federal Home Owners' Loan Corporation, classmates visualize the impact of policy on...
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Reconstruction and Development in Japan after WWII

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
After World War II, Japan faced the task of rebuilding—under the watchful eyes of the Allies. Using a dice game and creative discussion strategies, class members consider the challenges facing Japan and changes the country underwent...
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Factors for Economic Integration in Western Europe since 1945

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
While the European Union has been a part of economic landscape for decades, it grew out of a period of economic integration after World War II. Using a round table method, class members analyze and discuss the events leading up to the...
6:26
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The End of the War

For Students 7th - 12th
V-E day is almost here, the Allies are victorious! Using a video  that features archival footage and photos, scholars watch as the Allies are successful, and the war in Europe is brought to a close. Learners also witness the Allies'...
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The Cold War (America)

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
The Cold War—with its roots in World War II—impacts the world today. Using an extensive curriculum, scholars consider its impact through primary sources, including speeches and propaganda, as well as other skills-enhancing activities. An...
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Americans in Great Britain: 1942-1945

For Students 6th - 12th Standards
Watch the pivotal moments of America's presence in embattled Britain during World War II with an exceptional interactive tool. From personal stories about life on the front lines to a map that tracks every group and division throughout...
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United States-Japanese Relations in Post World War II Era

For Teachers 9th
Ninth graders analyze political cartoons and posters relating to the United States and Japan in the period following World War II. They discuss the positive and negative consequences of the United States occupation of Japan.
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Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

For Teachers 3rd - 5th Standards
A reading of Eleanor Coerr's Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes provides upper elementary learners an opportunity to contribute to the Children's Peace Monument in Hiroshima, Japan. After reading the story, class members learn about...
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Europe and Japan in Ruins

For Students 9th - Higher Ed
In this post World War II worksheet, students make notes on the affects of the war on Europe and Japan, respectively. Topics include the land and people of Europe, political issues, the Holocaust, bombing raids on Japan, U.S. occupation...
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United States - Japanese Relations In Post World War II Era

For Teachers 9th
Ninth graders explore the relationship between the United States and Japan. In groups, classmates research the treatment of Koreans and Americans as prisoners of war. Pupils examine the effect of politics and agreements during the war....
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Post-WWII Boom: Transition to a Consumer Economy

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
The war is over! Scholars investigate an AP review video to uncover the post-WWII era in the United States. Viewers examine and analyze the consumerism that arose in post-war America. This is the eighth installment of a nine-part series. 
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The Truman Doctrine and Soviet Expansion

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
What if the United States had not adopted a policy of containment of the USSR? What if the US had not adopted the Truman Doctrine or the Marshall Plan? After examining primary source documents that reveal American policy in the early...
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Work in Post-World War II Wisconsin

For Teachers 9th - 12th
High schoolers explore the changing nature of work in postwar America by analyzing a variety of sources and conducting their own research. They answer the question, "How did work change in Wisconsin after World War II?"
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Cold War

For Students 5th - 12th Standards
The Cold War was not necessarily always cold in temperature, but the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union sure was frigid! Scholars read various passages, view exhibition graphics, and observe an artifact from the...