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U.S. Era 8

The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)

Primary Sources

  • The Avalon Project: World War II: full text of many diplomatic documents from Roosevelt’s Atlantic Charter with Winston Churchill in 1941 to the Japanese surrender in 1945.
  • New Deal Network: provides a digital database of 900 documents and 5,000 photos from the New Deal, along with lesson plans for document-based units about the Works Progress Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and an interactive debate about the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial on the National Mall.
  • FDR Library & Digital Archives: offers more than 13,000 digital documents along with online activities about the Roosevelt Administration for students.
  • Tennessee Valley Authority: provides the official history of the TVA, the act that founded it, and information about what this New Deal Agency does today.
  • Okies and Weedpatch Camp: photos and personal memories about Arvin Federal Government Camp in Bakersfield, California, which John Steinbeck visited before writing about the “Okies” in The Grapes of Wrath.
  • America in the 1930s: provides a timeline of American culture in the 1930s along with an interactive overview of the decade in film, print, on radio, and other artistic media.
  • WWII Primary Sources: timelines, treaties, speeches, military reports, and other digital documents about World War II.
  • World War II Museum: a virtual museum of World War II, featuring photos, letters, and oral histories of U.S. soldiers who fought in the European and Pacific theaters as well as reviews of the latest books on the war.
  • A Student's Guide to Air Warfare: Background reading about the types of aircraft used in WWI, WWII, Cold War, and Post-Cold War with links to images and other information.
  • Remembering Pearl Harbor: explains the attack with a multimedia map and timeline and includes a searchable archive of survivors’ stories.
  • Fighters on the Farm Front: an online exhibit of photographs about Oregon’s Emergency Farm Labor Service from 1943 to 1947, with collections of photos about women and migrant workers.
  • A. Philip Randolph: online exhibit, sponsored by the AFL-CIO, provides a biography and thirty images of the African American labor leader, including flyers of Randolph’s planned March on Washington in 1941 that forced Franklin Roosevelt to create the wartime Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC).
  • Japanese Americans: online exhibit of the documents and images of Japanese Americans who were relocated during World War II from the University of Washington library.
  • Dropping the Atom Bomb: provides a full reprint of The Seattle Times from July 16, 1945, the date of the first atomic explosion test in New Mexico. It also includes supplementary activities to teach and discuss the atomic age.
  • FDR Cartoon Archive: more than 240 political cartoons about the Roosevelt Administration from 1932 to 1944. It also offers teacher resources and lesson plans as well as digital text of Roosevelt’s four Inaugural Addresses.
  • Japanese American Legacy Project: a digital archive with thousands of photos and documents about the internment camps, as well as 400 video interviews with Japanese Americans who lived there. It also offers a “Learning Center” link with 11 lesson plans to teach about the concentration camps and the internment experience.
  • “Children of the Camps”: accompanies a 1999 PBS documentary about the ongoing impact that World War II internment camps have had on the Japanese Americans who lived there. It includes a gateway of websites about internment and a teacher’s guide for the film.
  • World War II Oral History: from the Rutgers University Oral History Archives has digital versions of more than 500 interviews with New Jersey residents about their experiences overseas or on the home front during World War II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam.
  • The Great Depression - The Stock Market Crash and Beyond: from Value Stock Guide, a collection of links to images and videos from the Great Depression. Special thanks to Natalie for the recommendation!
  • A Resource Guide to World War II - Where to Find History: provides resources for the chronology, background, and courses of the World War II. Also detailed information regarding the aftermath of the war and the global impact it had.

Lesson Plans

  • 1929 Stock Market Crash: A brief overview of the Stock Market Crash of the Great Depression.
  • EDSITEment: “We the People” Lesson Plans
    • The Social Security Act
    • African Americans and the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps
    • Eleanor Roosevelt and the Rise of Social Reform in the 1930s
    • FDR’s Fireside Chats (two lessons)
    • FDR and the Lend-Lease Act
    • The Road to Pearl Harbor: The United States and East Asia, 1915-1941 (four lessons)
    • From Neutrality to War: The United States and Europe, 1921-1941 (four lessons)
    • American Diplomacy in World War II (four lessons)
    • The United States in World War II: ‘The Proper Application of Overwhelming Force’ (four lessons).
  • National Archives: Teaching With Documents
    • FDR’s First Inaugural Address: Declaring ‘War’ on the Great Depression
    • Constitutional Issues: FDR’s Court-Packing and Separation of Powers
    • Documents Related to Churchill and FDR
    • Powers of Persuasion—Poster Art of World War II
  • National Park Service: Teaching with Historic Places: more than 130 place-based lessons about sites in all 50 states, which include maps, readings, and visual evidence, with activities to put them all together.
    • Remembering Pearl Harbor: The USS Arizona Memorial
    • The Battle of Midway: Turning the Tide in the Pacific
    • The War Relocation Centers of World War II: When Fear Was Stronger than Justice.
  • Calisphere Themed Collections
    • Dust Bowl Migration
    • Migrant Workers and Braceros
    • Building Bridges, Dams, Power Plants
    • San Francisco General Strike
    • Richmond Shipyards
    • Women in the Workforce
    • Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives
    • The 442nd Regimental Combat Team (Japanese-American soldiers)
  • American Memory Fellows additional lesson plans using Library of Congress documents, which are organized by era
    • Brother, Can You Spare a Dime: The Effects of the New Deal on the Great Depression (10)
    • The Grapes of Wrath: Scrapbooks and Artifacts (11-12)
    • To Kill a Mockingbird: A Historical Perspective (7-12).