Lesson One Rise of Totalitarianism and Causes of wwii outcomes

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Lesson One - Rise of Totalitarianism and Causes of WWII


  • Students will define the term totalitarianism and connect it to the rising governments in Italy and Germany prior to WWII

  • Students will identify the circumstances in Italy, Germany and the Soviet Union that provided for the rise of either fascist or communist totalitarian dictatorships prior to WWII

  • Students will identify both the fundamental & immediate causes of WWII, including a definition of appeasement and how it failed at preventing German aggression


  1. Hand out WWII unit outline and go over with class.

  2. Put up image of Picasso’s “Guernica”. Get students to write down what they see that connects the art to war. Discuss Picasso’s attempt to display the destruction by Germans of Guernica, Basque Country during the Spanish Civil War.

  3. Write “totalitarian” on the board. As a class, come up with the definition. “the total manner in which 20th century dictators could control their populations – through modern technology that allowed them to seize power and control populations they ruled”.

  4. Student Chart – Italy, Germany, Spain and the Soviet Union. Use the attached lecture notes to allow students to understand what was going on in each country politically prior to the outbreak of WWII.

  5. Summarize the Fundamental Causes of WWII as: a) The Treaty of Versailles b) The Great Depression c) The rise of Hitler and the NAZI Party & d) The failure of the League of Nations

  6. Immediate Causes of WWII – “Appeasement” Power Point and Lecture Notes. Students are to take down important information using the note taking template

  7. Appeasement Document Based Questions. Go through each source with students. They then complete the accompanying questions.

  8. Homework – Framework questions for this unit. Students receive the package of questions that take them through the chapter. They can expect a quick quiz on this information in the next two or three classes!


  1. WWII unit outline

  2. Student Chart – Italy, Germany and the Soviet Union

  3. Appeasement and Nazi-Soviet Pact Lecture Notes and Student sheets.

  4. Homework questions for chapter 5 and key to questions


The Spanish Civil War - July 1936 to Franco's victory in April 1939, leaving 190,000[ to 500,000 dead.

the war was marked by foreign intervention on behalf of both sides,

The nationalist side was supported by Fascist Italy, which sent the Corpo Truppe Volontarie and later Nazi Germany, which assisted with the Condor Legion infamous for their bombing of Guernica in April 1937. Britain and France strictly adhered to the arms embargo, but the Republican side was nonetheless supported by volunteers fighting in the International Brigades and the Soviet Union. (See for example Ken Loach's Land and Freedom.)

Hitler and Stalin used the war as a testing ground for modern warfare

-Italians were dissatisfied with their democratic government (weak/ineffective)
-blamed leaders for bad deal at the end of WWI
-Benito Mussolini formed the Fascisti Party and Marched on Rome, threatening to overtake government
-the Blackshirts were his “thugs” that convinced the gov’t to hand over power without a single shot being fired!
-Italy invades Ethiopia in attempt to fulfill its fascist imperial goals (1935)


-Stalin wanted to modernize economy

-obsessed with another country invading the Soviet Union
-under his 5 Year Plan the gov’t would eventually control all aspect of economy
-collectivization of farms ended all private ownership
-invested in heavy industry so that he could build a military able to defend USSR
-introduced the Great Terror which saw the execution of anyone who opposed the state’s goals
-signed the NAZI-Soviet Pact as Stalin realized the USSR would someday become one of Germany’s targets



-the Weimar Republic was the democratic gov’t formed at the end of WWI.

-Hyper-Inflation made their “mark” worthless (12 billion marks = 1 Can dollar!)

-the Great Depression plunged Germany into staggering unemployment

-the NAZIS stood for the following:

1. Extreme Nationalism – German’s sole reason for existence was to serve the state

2. Anti-Democracy – Hitler vowed to destroy it and turn Germany into a dictatorship

3. Anti-Semitism – blamed Germany’s difficulties on the Jews

4. Restore Military Might – this was VERY popular with Germans
1932 –Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany. 1933 – passes The Enabling Act giving him total power in Germany

1934 – Night of the Long Knives – 1 000 of Hitler’s opposition murdered

1933-1939 – Nuremburg Laws – laws against Jews (wear Star of David, lose professional careers & property, can’t mingle with German populace, lost their citizenship)

1938 – Kristallnacht – Germans encouraged to attack Jews and their property

All human rights abolished

The Secret Police – Gestapo- became all-powerful

Rapid remilitarization







Socials 11 Name ___________________________

Block _______

Key Concepts : total war collective security totalitarianism

Isolationism containment appeasement

Axis & allies
1. Why was Prime Minister Mackenzie-King initially reluctant to involve Canada in WWII? (page 127)
2. Provide examples of “total war”. (pages 132)

3. Distinguish between Allies and Axis (page 133)

4. Using the information in the text (pages 133-135), develop a “map and notes” summary of Axis expansion to 1942. Include any italicized or quotation mark – referenced terms from the text.

Socials 11 Name ___________________________

Block _______

1. The Dieppe Raid – read pages 142. Why was the raid unsuccessful? Was it a disaster or learning experience? Justify your response.

2. Canadians at Sea/In the Air

a. read page 138 and 139 and make notes on our RCN, WREN’s, corvettes, and Bomber Command

b. What role did the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) play during the course of the war? (page 139)

3. Identify and describe three innovations created through advances in war technology. (page 140-41)

Socials 11 Name ___________________________

Block _______


The term “Turn of the Tide” refers to the year 1942, when Axis powers (Italy, German, Japan) went on the defensive and Allied powers (Britain, United States, Soviet Union, Canada) went on the offensive. With the United States now in the war, and making advances against the Japanese forces in the Pacific, it was now time to turn toward defeating Hitler’s Fortress Europe. The Battle of the Atlantic began to favour the Allied forces (see previous notes) and continuous bombing of German factories by the U.S., Canadian and British bomber crews weakened Germany’s ability to wage war. The “lessons of disaster” at Dieppe would be used to plan the final assault on Nazi-occupied Europe.

Study the map: Allied advances on Germany, 1942-1945 on page 115. Pay particular attention to the legend (key) and the arrow flow.
1. Why did British Prime Minister Churchill believe that Italy was the best location to launch the invasion of Europe? Identify the famous battle fought between Germans and Canadians in Italy (page 144).

2. Read the section on D-Day and Liberation and carefully study the D-Day attack map on page 117. What two advantages did the Allied troops have on D-Day that the Canadians did not have at Dieppe? (pages 146-147). Identify the code name for the beach where the Canadians landed.

3. While the D-Day landing was successful, it would take almost a year to defeat Hitler’s Germany. Briefly describe the role played by Canadian troops in the liberation of the Netherlands. (page 147)

4. With the Soviet troops attacking from the east and the Americans,

Canadians and British from the wets, Hitler committed suicide in Berlin and shortly after, Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945. Provide point form notes from the section entitled The Holocaust Discovered (top sections of pages 152).

5. What was the Manhattan Project and how would it eventually contribute to the surrender of Japan? (page 149)
Data Based Questions


Name: ________________

Source A
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Winston Churchill

British Stateseman and writer

Quoted in Reader’s Digest, 1954

Source B
My good friends, this is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And now I recommend you to go home and sleep quietly in your beds.
Neville Chamberlain

British politician, prime minister. speech, Sept. 30, 1938, Downing Street, London.

Source C
Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason’s garb,

Counseled ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,

Not Peace.
John Milton (1600s)

English poet

Source D

Chamberlain’s visit to Hitler today may bring things to a head or may result in a temporary postponement of what looks to me like an inevitable conflict within the next five years.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945), U.S. president. letter, Sept. 15, 1938, to William Phillips, U.S. Ambassador to Italy

Source E
Trickling water, if not stopped, will become a mighty river.

Chinese philosopher (400 BC)

Chinese Proverb

Data Based Questions

Name: _____________
1. Is Source B a primary or secondary source? Justify your answer.

2. Assess the reliability of sources A, B and C in relation to appeasement leading up to World War Two.

3. To what extent is source A corroborated by source C?

4. Which sources support the policy of appeasement? Which do not?

5. Using the sources provided and any other historical evidence assess whether or not appeasement was a valid policy in the late 1930s.

Socials 11 Name ___________________________

Block _____


Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

Stage 6

Stage 7

What is appeasement?

When a country becomes aggressive, other countries give the aggressor what it wants just to prevent another war

The Appeasement Crises - 1936-1939
As Hitler became more aggressive in his attempt to make Germany a powerful international force, Britain and France practiced appeasement
Germany re-militarizes the Rhineland

March 1936 – Hitler’s troops enter the Rhineland, violating the Treaty of Versailles

Germany annexes Austria

German troops entered Austria, making it part of Germany, once again violating the Treaty of Versailles

  • Once again, the European democracies did nothing to stop this

Appeasement in Czechoslovakia

Over 3 million Germans lived within the new borders of Czechoslovakia in the western area called Sudetenland

Hitler threatened to invade this area in 1938

Britain and France panicked, feeling that any resistance by the Czechs would lead to war

A conference was called at Munich, Germany

The wishes of the Czechs were completely ignored as Hitler received Sudetenland in exchange for a guarantee to not go to war

Neville Chamberlain announces to Britain that he had achieved “peace in our time”

Hitler betrayed the agreement when he invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia on March 15, 1939

  • It was obvious that appeasement had failed and a major war was imminent

The NAZI-Soviet Pact

The Soviet Union played no part in the appeasement process

Britain and France did not want to cooperate with Stalin’s communist regime

Hitler had always made it clear that he would attack communism in the USSR

The world was shocked when he signed a Non-Aggression Pact with Stalin

Both sides agreed to not attack each other and divide Poland between them

Both sides knew the other was lying, but needed this time to prepare for war

What is appeasement?

The Appeasement Crises - 1936-1939

Germany re-militarizes the Rhineland

Germany annexes Austria

Appeasement in Czechoslovakia


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