On September 1, 1939, Germany, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, invaded the country of Poland. If someone invaded your home, I bet you wouldn’t be too happy! And neither were the Polish people. And on September 3, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany in order to defend Poland. This became known as World War II. This eventually led to a major split, with many countries picking sides or being invaded. Eventually, two sides were formed. Britain and France started the Allied Powers. Germany, Italy, and Japan made up the Axis Powers. Russia (then called the USSR) switched from the Axis Powers to the Allied Powers in 1941, the same year that the United States entered the war. If you create your own color key, can you complete the map of World War II Europe? Thanks to Student Centered World for this activity! Hint: Germany was controlled by a party known as the Nazis!
On December 7, 1941, Japan launched an attack on America’s naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Over 2,400 people were killed in this attack. Up until this point, the United States had been staying out of the war because they didn’t want to be involved. However, after this, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war on Japan, and because Japan was in an alliance with Germany and Italy, the United States was now at war with them too. Thus, in 1941, the United States became involved in World War II. Although many people felt that entering the war was the right decision for America, it was still hotly debated. What do you think was the right decision?
To learn about why each major country in the war was willing to fight, it is important to know more about their leaders. The Chancellor or Germany was a man named Adolf Hitler, and he was essentially a dictator. He caused a lot of heartbreak in the countries he occupied, and we will learn more about that in a later lesson. The Prime Minister of Japan was a man named Hideki Tojo, a general in the Japanese army who had basically seized power. The President of the United States was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and he was well-loved by the American people for all the help he provided them. The Prime Minister of Great Britain was Winston Churchill, and he rallied his people to keep on fighting. If you look up each of these men, you can learn more information and find pictures to fill out the worksheet below.
Now that you know some of the basic involvements of World War II, do you think that you can find the words below? Don’t worry if you don’t know all of them, we will explain more in the lessons to come!
However, the leaders of these countries weren’t the only ones making sacrifices, and neither were the soldiers alone in their sacrifice (we will talk more about the soldiers tomorrow!). But the every day American people were doing their part to help the war effort. Some people bought war bonds, which was kind of like a loan to the government to help pay for the war. Some people collected aluminum and scrap to help make new materials. But even people who couldn’t do those things were helping. As men joined the army and went off to fight in the war, their jobs opened up, and many women stepped up to fill those jobs. Having women in factory jobs was something that was relatively new at this time! So Rosie the Riveter became an icon, telling women everywhere that they could do it! Can you color Rosie below? Another way that all people were making sacrifices was through rations. Rationing meant that people only got a set amount of food, so that food could also be sent to the American soldiers fighting in Europe, the Pacific, and everywhere else. Looking at the rations below, how would you have felt? Do you think you would have been happy to do your part in the war effort?
Now that you have seen what the American people were rationed in World War II, what do you think they would have eaten? Well, if you check out Free Homeschool Deals, you can get some original World War II era ration recipes! So grab mom or dad and cook up a war time meal! And be sure to come back tomorrow for “Soldiers in the Midst of War!”