Unit #10: World War II: 1939-1940
  Learning Target: I can ANALYZE the causes of World War II and DESCRIBE the most important events that determined the outcome the conflict.

I know I know it when: I can ASSEMBLE the information I have learned to EXPLAIN the most significant events between 1939-1945.

I am learning this because: World War II was the biggest and deadliest war in human history, involving more than 30 countries.  It is important to EVALUATE how this conflict began and formulate how future wars can be avoided.

Class Notes:

Directions: Please follow the directions in the box below to complete the assignment.  Be sure to complete the assignment and carefully check your work before submitting your assignment for a grade. 

Part 1: True or False

1.   In the 1930's Hitler played on the hopes and fears of the western democracies such as Britain and France.  Each time the Nazis grabbed new territory, Hitler insisted that he did not wish for more land and
      only desired peace.  However, in 1939 Hitler once again invaded his neighbor Poland which finally encouraged Britain and France to once again wage war with Germany!

      Take a moment to download the World War II 1939-1940 Student AssignmentBe sure to click File > Save As Google Slides before you begin

2.   First, before reading the text, carefully Read each of the statements below.  Indicate on the line in your World War II 1939-1940 Student Assignment whether you feel the  statement is
      true “T” or false “F”.       

      1.______  Nazi Germany signed a “Non-Aggression Pact” with England and France in 1939. 

      2. _____  In 1939, both British and French armies invaded Poland on both their western and eastern boarders.      

      3.  ______  “Blitzkrieg” or lightning war, uses rapidly moving tanks, airplanes, and infantry to overwhelm an enemy’s defenses. 

      4.  ______ After the German invasion of Italy, England and France declared war on Germany.  Both sides mobilized and began the “Kinetic War” in early 1940 when very little
                        fighting took place. 

3.   Next, read the information on slides #4 and #6 to find the correct statements. Rewrite each phrase correctly in your World War II 1939-1940 Student Assignment so that all statements are now true.


Part 2: Viewing History

1.   Look at the images on slides 7, 8, and 9 in your World War II 1939-1940 Student Assignment.  One set of images shows Japanese aggression in Asia.  The other depicts the Italian invasion of Ethiopia.
2.   Answer the questions on each slide.

3.   Discuss your answers with the class.


Part 3: Read, Write, Discuss

 1.   Next, read the Passages below.  Use your highlighter tool to identify the most important information in the text.  Use the text to answer the questions on the next slide.  Discuss your answers with a partner and
       with the class.

Passage #1

The Fall of France: 
In May of 1940, Hitler began an invasion of the Netherland, Belgium, and Luxembourg.  Keeping the Allies’ attention on those countries, Hitler then sent an even larger force of t tanks and troops to slice through the Ardennes (ahr•DEHN). This was a heavily wooded area in northern France, Luxembourg, and Belgium. Moving through the forest, the Germans “squeezed between” the Maginot Line. From there, they moved across France and reached the country’s northern coast in ten days.

Rescue at Dunkirk:
After reaching the French coast, the German forces swung north again and joined with German troops in Belgium. By the end of May 1940, the Germans had trapped the  Allied forces around the northern French city of Lille (leel). Outnumbered, outgunned, and pounded from the air, the  Allies retreated to the beaches of Dunkirk, a French port city near the Belgian border. They were trapped with their backs to the sea. In one of the most heroic acts of the war, Great Britain set out to rescue the army. It sent a fleet of about 850 ships across the English Channel to Dunkirk. Along with Royal Navy ships, civilian craft—yachts, lifeboats, motorboats, paddle steamers, and fishing boats—joined the rescue effort. From May 26 to June 4, this amateur armada, under heavy fire from German bombers, sailed back and forth from Britain to Dunkirk. The boats carried some 338,000 battle-weary soldiers to safety.

France Falls to Germany:
Following Dunkirk, resistance in France began to crumble. By June 14, the Germans had taken Paris.  Accepting the inevitable, French leaders surrendered on June 22, 1940. The Germans took control of the northern part of the country. They left the southern part to a puppet government headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain (pay•TAN), a French hero from World War I. The headquarters of this government was in the city of Vichy (VEESH•ee). After France fell, Charles de Gaulle (duh GOHL), a French general, set up a government-in-exile in London. He committed all his energy to reconquering France. In a radio broadcast from England, de Gaulle called on the people of France to join him in resisting the Germans.


Answer the questions below in your World War II 1939-1940 Student Assignment

1.How did Hitler begin the invasion of France?

2.What was the Maginot Line?

3.  Why do you think the French felt the Germans would not invade through the Arden?

4.  How long did it take the German army to reach the northern coast of France?

5.  How did the British and French armies become entrapped near Lille?

6.  Explain how British and French troops were rescued at Dunkirk?

7.  When did the German army take the City of Paris?

8.  When did France surrender to the German army?

9. What was “Vichy France?”

10. Based on what you already learned, why do you think Germany was able to defeat France so quickly during World War II unlike World War I when they could not defeat France?



Passage #2

  The Battle of Britain

With the fall of France, Great Britain stood alone against the Nazis. Hitler prepared for “Operation Sea Lion” or the invasion of Britain.  Winston Churchill, the new British prime minister, had already declared that his nation would never give in. In a rousing speech, he proclaimed, “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets . . . we shall never surrender!” Hitler now turned his mind to an invasion of Great Britain. His plan was first to knock out the Royal Air Force (RAF) and then to land more than 250,000 soldiers on England’s shores.

The London Blitz

In the summer of 1940, the Luftwaffe (LOOFT•VAHF•uh), Germany’s air force, began bombing Great Britain. At first, the Germans targeted British airfields and aircraft factories.   Then, on September 7, 1940, they began focusing on the cities, especially London, to break British morale. This was known as the London Blitz.  Despite the destruction and loss of life, the British did not waver. The RAF, although badly outnumbered, began to hit back hard. Two technological devices helped turn the tide in the RAF’s favor. One was an electronic tracking system known as radar. Developed in the late 1930s,  radar could tell the number, speed, and direction of incoming warplanes.

Victory in the Battle of Britain

The other device was a German code-making machine named Enigma. A complete Enigma machine had been smuggled into Great Britain in the late 1930s. Enigma enabled the British to decode German secret messages. With information gathered by these devices, RAF fliers could quickly launch attacks on the enemy. To avoid the RAF’s attacks, the Germans gave up daylight raids in October 1940 in favor of night bombing. At sunset, the wail of sirens filled the air as Londoners flocked to the subways, which served as air-raid shelters. Some rode out the bombing raids at home in smaller air-raid shelters or basements. This Battle of Britain continued until May 10, 1941. Stunned by British resistance,  Hitler decided to call off his attacks. Instead, he focused on  the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe. The Battle of Britain taught the Allies a crucial lesson.  Hitler’s attacks could be blocked.


Answer the questions below in your World War II 1939-1940 Student Assignment


1.  What did the Germans call their plan to invade Britain? 

2.  Why do you think Hitler felt he needed to destroy the RAF (Royal Air Force) before invading?

3.  Get Interactive: Listen to Winston Churchill:  Listen to Churchill https://youtu.be/MkTw3_PmKtc    How do you think Winston Churchill helped to win the Battle of Britain? 


4. What was the name of the German Air force?

5.  Why did the Germans focus on bombing civilians in London?

6.  If you were a citizen of London, how would the German bombing each night make you feel?

7.  How do you think radar effected the Battle of Britain?

8.  What is ”enigma?”  Why was it so important during the Battle of Britain?

 9.  Why did the Germans give up day time bombing raids?

10.  If you were a citizen of London, how would the German bombing each night make you feel?

11.  Eventually, what did Hitler and the Germans decided to do with “Operation Sea Lion?”

Part 4: Wartime Geography

 1.   Complete slides 22 and 23 in your World War II 1939-1940 Student Assignment using the timeline and the maps provided.

        Check out the interactive map.

 2.    Discuss your answers with the class. 

Part 5: Submit your work for a grade

 1.   Once you have completed your World War II 1939-1940 Student Assignment, use the Google Form below to submit your work for a grade.  Be sure to check
       your answers using the World War II 1939-1940 Student Assignment.

 2.    Carefully check your answer and submit your work for a grade.  You must have answered the questions to do well on this submission. 

      Submit Assignment

3.    Good Job!  Check out the video about this topic below.


  World History with Mr. Gigliotti | Valley Forge High School | Parma Hts., OH | gigliottip@parmacityschools.org