The Aftermath of World War II


US History (11th) The United States and World War II The Aftermath of World War II
Students begin by brainstorming possible solutions to postwar devastation, based on the aftermath of World War II. Then, they explore sources of information on the postwar situation. Next, they analyze efforts led by the United States to rebuild Europe, especially through the Marshall Plan. Finally, they evaluate the role of the United Nations.

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Here are the teacher pack items for The Aftermath of World War II:

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Overview

In this experience, students begin by brainstorming possible solutions to postwar devastation, based on the aftermath of World War II. Then, they explore sources of information on the postwar situation. Next, they analyze efforts led by the United States to rebuild Europe, especially through the Marshall Plan. Finally, they evaluate the role of the United Nations.

The Teacher Pack contains background material on the immediate post-war period.

Objectives

  • Explain the purpose of the Marshall Plan.
  • Analyze the balance of world power following the war.
  • Describe the founding of the United Nations.


After World War II, Americans found themselves in a new era—one in which the United States was one of the world’s two superpowers, and clearly the wealthier of the two. In this experience, you’ll learn what the international situation was like in the aftermath of World War II.

Objectives

  • Explain the purpose of the Marshall Plan.
  • Analyze the balance of world power following the war.
  • Describe the founding of the United Nations.




Destruction in Warsaw, Poland, January, 1945


Look at the photo of the capital of a large European nation. Warsaw, Poland, was physically destroyed by the war. Now imagine that two continents—Europe and Asia—are littered with the charred and broken remains of major cities, and teeming with masses of displaced, hungry people made homeless by the war.

That is exactly the position in which the world found itself as World War II ended. 


If you were the leader of a victorious nation facing that situation, what steps might you take? Sometimes political vision requires creativity!

Post your answer

Accept any answers. After all, the Marshall Plan seemed counter-intuitive to many people when it was first proposed.

Remind students that Poland, a large nation east of Germany and west of Russia, was invaded by Nazi Germany on September 1, 1939. That event was the immediate cause of World War II: Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 3. Explain that in this experience, students will find out what the leaders of the United States did in the post-war situation described above.


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