Lesson Ideas for World War II - Neutrality, National Self Interest, Hiroshima Illustration

World War II
Lesson Ideas
Neutrality, National Self Interest, Hiroshima

Directions for Teachers:
Describe what neutrality is. Sweden & Switzerland maintained their neutrality throughout the war. Speculate why other nations would respect that neutrality. Then ask - if Germany had won the war, would the neutrality of these other nations have been respected?

World War II: What can a nation do to protect its interests?
Directions for Teachers:
Break the class into groups. Have each group respond to the question: Apart from war and conflict, what can a nation do to protect its interests? Groups are to agree on a list of three actions. Give them a few minutes. Then have each group read their list to the class. Create a list on the overhead of all suggestions putting check marks next to duplications.


Handout: Facts about the Dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima

  • On August 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped an Atomic Bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan

  • 60,000-80,000 people died as a direct result of the bomb blast

  • About 100 square miles of the city was completely destroyed

  • Over the next 10 years, 40,000 people died as a result of injuries from the bomb or radiation poisoning.

  • On August 7, 1945, the U.S. demanded Japan surrender immediately and unconditionally.

  • On August 9, 1945, the U.S. dropped a second Atomic Bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.

Directions to Students: Your job is to write a letter (business style) to President Truman on August 8, 1945 to try and convince him not to drop the second bomb. Be assured that your letter will reach the President prior to August 9, 1945 and that he will read it. Tips: What does it take for a country to surrender immediately and unconditionally? (Can this be done in only two days?) Why do we need this second show of force? Is it only to prove that we have more than one bomb? How critical is that?

Lessons by Other Authors

The Atomic Bomb & Hiroshima