Classroom activity: World War II


The failure of European nations to stop the aggression of Adolf Hitler and other totalitarian dictators led to World War II, with the United States officially being drawn into the war as a result of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Americans joined the efforts by joining the armed forces and those that did not, supported the war by sacrificing and serving at home. From 1939 to 1945, this total global war fought in Europe and the Pacific dominated all aspects of life. It would eventually end with an Allied victory first in Europe and later in the Pacific with the use of the first nuclear weapons.

Directions: Use the content from the Citizen Bee website to help answer the following questions.


Vernon Baker

  1. For what action did Vernon Baker receive the Medal of Honor?
  2. Why did it take so long for Mr. Baker to receive the Medal of Honor?

Omar Bradley, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, Chester Nimitz, and George Patton

  1. How did each of the men above contribute to the World War II effort?

Eleanor Roosevelt

  1. Defend President Truman’s description of Eleanor Roosevelt as the “First Lady of the World” by explaining her most significant contributions.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

  1. Why do you feel President Roosevelt was elected to four terms breaking the precedent of two terms set by President George Washington?

The Navajo Code Talkers, The Flying Tigers, and the Tuskegee Airmen

  1. How did each of the groups above contribute to the war effort?


Executive Order 9066

  1. What was the justification given for Executive Order 9066?
  2. If you had been living in 1942 would you have supported Executive Order 9066? Why or why not?
  3. What action was taken by President Reagan in 1988 with regards to the internment of Japanese Americans?


Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (G.I. Bill of Rights)

  1. What was the basic purpose of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act?
  2. Of the four major components, which do you feel had the most impact? Defend your choice.
  3. What was the short-range impact of the act? The long-range impact?



West Virginia v. Barnette

  1. What were the similarities of this case with Minersville School District v. Gobitis? Differences?
  2. Explain what Justice Robert Jackson meant when he wrote, “…If there is any fixed start in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”


Korematsu v. United States

  1. What was the reason Fred Korematsu was arrested and tried?
  2. What was a key argument for the holding in the case? A key argument in the dissent?
  3. If you had been a member of the Supreme Court in 1944, how would you have voted? Defend your decision.


Everson V. Board of Education

  1. Explain the “child benefit theory” with regards to the decision on whether to reimburse parents the cost of busing their parochial and private school children to school?
  2. How did Justice Black apply Thomas Jefferson’s ideas of a “wall of separation” to this case regarding the establishment of religion clause of the First Amendment?

Connection Questions

  1. Which three people or groups of people best reflect the era of World War II? Defend your choices.
  2. Which document best reflect the struggles being faced during and after World War II? Explain your choice.
  3. Which of the three Supreme Court cases of this era do you feel has had the greatest impact on the United States today? Defend your choice.

Click here for a PDF copy of the questions.