London in ruins after bombings
No war in history has been deadlier than World War II. Estimates of the fatalities range from 50 to 70 million—a staggering figure difficult for anyone to grasp. In this lesson, The Casualties of War, loss is presented in an increasingly widening context of destruction. It is arranged in a series of sections or parts. Students first encounter the wreckage of family, then move to the devastations of community, city, and country. Finally, the lesson enlarges to include other targets of war—culture, the diversity of creative expression—and guides students to probe the full magnitude of The Greatest Theft in History.
Teachers may use this lesson to introduce students to the scope of the war’s impact on people and society, as well as its destruction of places—or they may use it to enhance and reinforce learning that has already occurred in the classroom. Teachers may select parts of the lesson’s sections to better meet classroom needs. Another option is to use the lesson’s structure as a framework for an extended study of the Second World War. It is recommended that The Casualties of War follow after the lesson Hitler, Art, Race, and Society. Ideas presented in More Than an Object, More Than a Place also will help prepare students for this lesson. Partnering this lesson with learning that relates the unfolding of the war to social, political, and economic factors is strongly recommended.
This lesson plan is available as part of The Greatest Theft in History Educational Program. We’ll regularly be adding more teaching aids, interviews, photos, archival footage and other valuable information.