World War II Battles

Contributor: Sarah Lerdal. Lesson ID: 11497

Wars tend to be won by a series of major battles. WW II involved a lot of countries and a lot of battles. Research one of the major battles of WW II and make a video about it!



learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Carefully look at this Cartoon: World War II drawn by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel). During World War II, he drew many cartoons.

  • What message do you believe he was trying to send with this cartoon?

Before writing many of his famous children's books, Dr. Seuss used cartoons and propaganda films to encourage people to get behind the war effort.

He was strongly opposed to appeasement, the policy of giving in to an enemy's demands.

In the cartoon, he shows the United States perched on a tree, seemingly unbothered by the fact that Hitler and the Nazis are taking down all of Europe. The United States is shown to be ignorant, thinking that the Nazis will not bother America.

By the summer of 1942, the United States had joined the Allies' side, which included various countries. Great Britain, the Soviet Union, France, and China were the major powers of the Allies.

Japan, Italy, and Germany together were known as the Axis. This map shows the European countries in the Axis (all shades of gray) during 1941-1942.

map of Europe at the height of Axis success in 1942

  • How were the Allies able to turn the tide against the Axis?

Japanese general Hideki Tojo wanted control of the Western Pacific and Asia, Germany's dictator Adolf Hitler strove to stretch his empire across Europe while eliminating "inferior" peoples, and Italy's Benito Mussolini wanted to expand his authority into Africa.

To stop these leaders from achieving their goals, the Allies adopted a Europe First strategy. Their resources would first be focused on stopping Hitler and Mussolini. The plan to re-take Europe was long and arduous, with many battles that resulted in many casualties.

Explore a few of these major battles using the resources below. Take notes  on the key events of each battle, in which country or countries it took place, and the outcome.

As the Allies drove out the Axis from Italy, German cities were bombed. The Allied bombers participated in saturation bombing, also known as carpet bombing. Planes dropped large quantities of bombs in a short amount of time, attempting to inflict great damage.

The photograph below depicts a saturation bombing in 1944.

468th Bombardment Group attacking Hatto, Formosa on 18 October 1944

The D-Day invasion was the true turning point of WWII. Watch the video below to understand its significance.

Beware that this video depicts the high casualties suffered on D-Day, but it is important to recognize and understand.

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Hitler attempted an unsuccessful counterattack from December 1944 to January 1945. Discover more about this Battle of the Bulge and continue adding to your notes.

In April 1945, Mussolini was executed, Hitler committed suicide, and FDR died from an illness. Shortly after that, Americans celebrated V-E (Victory in Europe) Day.

Now, America could fully focus on Japan in the Pacific.

Take some time to review your notes before continuing to the Got It? section, where you will describe how these battles were important to the Allied war effort.

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