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      Activities: Help with Fundamentals

      These activities can help you address the fundamentals with your students.

      Mapping the Global Reach of Imperialism

      Students can use maps as visual tools to help understand the global scope of imperialism.

      • Step 1: Provide students with maps of colonial empires and their lands overseas. Students can work with specific maps of Africa and the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia, as well as maps including North and South America and Australia. Students can also work with maps depicting the whole world.
      • Step 2: Have students shade each imperial power and its colonies in related colors (e.g. dark brown and light brown).
      • Step 3: Have students identify what they know about each imperial power and its colonies, determining whether a colony was established for economic reasons (as a source for raw materials, a labor force, or as a market in which to sell goods), political reasons (used to bargain with other imperial powers), or for military reasons (established for its strategic location and resources that might be necessary in wartime). Students can create a chart for each imperial power:
        Imperial Power Colonies Reason established: economic, political, or military support? How did this colony address the needs of its imperial power (economic, military, or political benefits)? Impact that the colonization efforts had on the native people
      • Step 4: Students can reflect on the map and chart and infer and draw conclusions. Students can ask: Overall, why did imperial powers create colonies in other parts of the world? In which parts of the world did imperial powers seem to create the most colonies? How did these different parts of the world offer the imperial powers opportunities that they didn't have in their home countries? Where might there have been the most conflict between imperial powers regarding the colonies that they were creating?

      By completing this activity, students should build an understanding of the vast reaches of empires during the age of imperialism. They should also gain a deeper understanding of the motivations an imperial power had for acquiring a territory.

      Connecting the Outbreak of World War II with the Outcome of World War I

      To help students better connect the outbreak of World War II with its ties to World War I, have them analyze the historical events that link the two wars together. Students can begin with the consequences of World War I and the Paris Peace Conference and end with the outbreak of World War II in Europe. For each event listed below, students can identify which countries were involved, how it is tied to the outcome of World War I, and how it affected the outbreak of World War II. Direct students to consider how each historical event ties to the outcome of World War I (the third column) and the impact on the outbreak of World War II (the final column). Students can complete the following chart:

      Historical Event Countries InvolvedTies to the Outcome of World War I Impact the event might have had on the outbreak of World War II
      The Russian Revolution - Bolshevik Revolution, November 1917   
      Convening of the Paris Peace Conference - January, 1919   
      The Treaty of Versailles - June, 1919   
      The rise of Mussolini in Italy - 1922   
      Japanese invasion of Manchuria - 1931   
      The "Good Neighbor" Policy - March, 1933   
      The election of Hitler as German chancellor - 1933   
      German annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia - 1938   
      The Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact - August, 1939    
      Germany's invasion of Poland - September, 1939   
      Building Spheres of Influence in the Cold War

      In this activity students can gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which the world began to split into camps representing two different ideologies during the Cold War. Students can consider how each nation benefited from its association with either the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) alliance or with the Warsaw Pact alliance.

      Nations to consider: Estonia, Norway, Great Britain, France, Luxembourg, Latvia, Denmark, The Netherlands, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, West Germany, East Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Portugal and Yugoslavia.

      Ask students to reflect on the following:

      • Which of these countries became part of the Soviet Union and which were allied to the Soviet Union?
      • Which non-European countries became allied with either the United States of America or the Soviet Union? Why?
      • Which European countries did not fall into either of the two camps? Why do you think that happened?

      The chart students use to determine spheres of influence might look like this:

      NationStatus of nation as a result of WW IIMember of Warsaw Pact alliance or NATO?What was gained from becoming part of this alliance?
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