Lesson Plan - Get It!
Your country is at war and the enemy is regularly dropping bombs on your capital city. Innocent civilians are being murdered every day, more than half of the capital city has been destroyed, and thousands are being forced from their homes. In the midst of the chaos, the former leader has resigned and you have been called to power. Would you even want to be the leader? How would you handle the crisis?
This is exactly the situation Winston Churchill walked into. There was no time for a honeymoon period or to lay out a plan for his time in office. The country was at war and under daily attack. Churchill's response to this challenge is what has made him one of the greatest wartime leaders in all of history!
In the previous Related Lessons, found in the right-hand sidebar, you learned about some of the events leading up to World War II (WWII) that defined Winston Churchill as a man and a leader, thereby influencing the type of prime minister he became for the people of Great Britain as war raged in the streets of London.
In this lesson, you will examine and evaluate Churchill's leadership during WWII. Before you begin looking into the content of this lesson, let's review what you have learned about Churchill so far. Answer the following questions about Churchill on a separate piece of paper:
- When did Churchill become prime minister?
- What failure did Churchill face early in his career?
- How did others respond to Churchill's predictions about Nazi Germany?
If you are having difficulty answering any of these questions, use the information from the previous Related Lessons to help you. When you are finished, review your responses with a teacher or parent.
Shortly after Churchill became prime minister, Adolf Hitler released an inferno on London. During an eight-month bombing campaign, the Nazis regularly dropped bombs on the city in what is now referred to as the Blitz. Nearly 60% of London was destroyed during the Blitz, and approximately 43,000 civilians were killed. Continue reading about the terror created by The London Blitz, 1940 (Eye Witness to History).
Many, including Hitler, assumed that Churchill fled London and was hiding somewhere in the English countryside while the Blitz was happening, but this could not be further from the truth. Churchill remained in the one place that Hitler would never have suspected him to be: London!
Churchill built his war rooms below the streets of London, not too far from Parliament. Churchill remained in London, with the people, throughout the Nazi's killing spree. What does this tell you about Churchill as a leader? Discuss your opinions with a teacher or parent.
Throughout the six years that England was at war with the Axis powers, Churchill remained an unwavering leader. Read about his leadership throughout the war in Churchill's Finest Hour- World War II 1939-1945 (The National Churchill Museum). As you read the article, make a list of words that you think describe Churchill as a leader. When you are finished, hold on to your list. You will continue to add to it throughout the lesson.
- Do you think Churchill was a successful wartime leader? Why or why not?
- How did Churchill's previous experiences help prepare him for this time period in office?
- Discuss your opinions with a teacher or parent. Ask your teacher or parent for his or her opinion.
Now, move on to the Got It? section to further evaluate Churchill's leadership during WWII.