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Free Resources: Classroom Resources from ABC-CLIO Support “The War” on PBS

Posted Sep 22, 2007
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ABC-CLIO expands its free “History and the Headlines” online resources with “Double Victory—Minorities and Women During World War II,” material designed to support the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick PBS/WETA documentary, “The War.”

The classroom materials help students examine the roles of minorities and women during World War II and place their stories within the larger context of the war. The content includes video excerpts from the documentary, access to ABC-CLIO’s five-volume encyclopedia on World War II, essays on the tragedies and triumphs of the war, and complementary lesson plans from national History Day. The free collection will be available online until Dec. 31, 2007.

The site’s four video excerpts from “The War” give students a glimpse into the lives of everyday Americans during this tumultuous time. “Connecting to World War II” gives students an overview of the production of “The War” and its mission of portraying both the triumph and tragedy of World War II. “Munitions Factories” shows how men and women on the home front in the U.S. helped in the war effort. “Mobile Shipyards” provides insight into the shipyards of Mobile, Alabama, where African Americans found work opportunities that led to an increase in racial tensions. “Made Into Any Enemy” examines the tragedy of the internment of Japanese Americans.

The site’s Need to Know section takes students deeper into the global context of the war by providing access to ABC-CLIO’s “Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social and Military History.” This comprehensive material includes an overview, detailed chronology, essays explaining the origins and legacy of the war, and numerous primary sources for gaining insight into the people, places, and events of World War II.

The Point of View section includes three essays by leading historians. The first essay provides an overview of life on the home front for women, African Americans, and Japanese Americans. The second essay focuses on the Japanese American troops of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and includes testimony from the men offering insight into their conflicting emotions over fighting for a country that was imprisoning their family members. The third essay focuses on the experiences of women in the military during World War II.

All of the resources in “History and the Headlines: World War II” can be used to support the accompanying collection of five lesson plans developed by National History Day. Each lesson plan asks students to make connections between the historical period and their own lives. Topics include researching family stories as oral histories, women in the workplace, women serving in the military, progress toward equal work opportunities for African Americans, and legal battles of interned Japanese Americans. Each lesson plan includes a connection to a specific episode of “The War,” relevance to the 2008 National History Day theme “Conflict and Compromise,” background information, primary sources, and classroom activities.

“History and the Headlines: World War II” is located online at

ABC-CLIO Schools,  

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