World War II Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

Use this lesson plan to guide your instruction on how World war II began. Though there were many factors, this plan includes a clean and concise video lesson to jump start the unit as well as an imaginative activity designed to generate discussion.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students should be able to:

  • describe the tensions that caused the start of World War II
  • compare the actions of regimes in Germany, Italy, and Japan


40 - 60 minutes


  • Sets of slips of paper with major events leading from the end of World War I to the U.S. entry into World War II. Have the relevant names of the events, but do not include dates on the papers:
    • Treaty of Versailles
    • Mussolini in Power in Italy
    • Italian invasion of Ethiopia
    • Japanese entry into Chinese Civil War
    • Hitler comes to power in Germany
    • Remilitarization of the Rhineland
    • Rape of Nanking
    • The Anschluss
    • Occupation of the Sudetenland
    • German Invasion of Poland
    • German Invasion of France
    • U-boats attacking American ships
    • Pearl Harbor

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.


Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account