Unit 5: Crisis and Change
Lesson F: The Failure of Democracy and Return of War
Activity 5: Historical Interpretation
Previously you were introduced to the short- and long-term causes of World War II. Historians generally agree that the harshness of the Treaty of Versailles, aggressive expansionism, appeasement, and failure of the League of Nations all played a role in causing the war. But, they often disagree about which factors were most important in causing the war. Historians examine the primary sources available, read the works of other historians, and draw their own conclusions. They then use appropriate evidence to support their conclusions to prove their judgment about history is correct. This is called historical interpretation.
In the following activities you will examine timelines and analyze both secondary and primary sources to develop your own historical interpretation about the cause of World War II. There is a lot of evidence to examine, so you will work with your classmates in a two-part jigsaw to complete your investigation and then write your own historical interpretation independently. Please note that you will use Activities 5, 6, and 7 to complete the entire historical interpretation.
Classroom Activity - Historical Interpretation of the Causes of World War II
Directions: To begin, read the directions for this activity on the Student Resource: Historical Interpretations - Causes of World War II. Next, individually complete the Student Resource: Background Reading - Treaty of Versailles and League of Nations and highlight information that helps you answer the question: What caused World War II?
Download the Student Resource: Historical Interpretations - Causes of World War II Directions (pdf).