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Between World Wars: FDR and the Age of Isolationism
First edition. June 2006.
Today it is difficult for many students to imagine the tremendous debate in the United States about how to respond to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The debate lasted until the attack on Pearl Harbor and divided Congress, families, and neighbors. Using diverse primary sources and readings, students consider the impact of the end of World War I, the Great Depression, and the challenges to liberal democracy from international socialism and fascism. Students recreate the competing ideas at play in the United States in a role play of the debate in Congress over the Lend-Lease Act.
The readings examine the domestic and international legacies of World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. Students also explore the impact of the Great Depression, the leadership of Franklin Roosevelt and the U.S. response to the gathering storm in Asia and Europe. The epilogue reviews FDR's legacy and the end of isolationism.
The Choices Role Play
Working cooperatively to advocate for one of three options students recreate the debate in Congress over the Lend-Lease Bill. Students draw upon primary sources to recreate this critical moment in history. A fourth group of undecided senators questions and evaluates the option groups.
The Great Depression
Students examine photographs, a Robert Frost poem, one of FDR's Fireside Chats, a series of graphs, and directed questions help gain a broad understanding of the Great Depression and its effects.
Political Geography of the Interwar Period
Students identify major geographical landmarks and connect them to historical events.
Between World Wars
After constructing a timeline, students examine cause and effect relationships between historical events and consider relationships among the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Role-Playing the Three Options
Working cooperatively to advocate for one of the three options the Senate considered regarding the Lend-Lease Bill, students draw upon primary sources to recreate this critical moment in history.
Listening to FDR
Students listen to Roosevelt's 1941 'Four Freedoms' Speech and analyze its immediate and long-term implications.