World War II will never cease to be relevant, and sadly, with everything that’s been going on in the world in recent years it’s scarily easy to draw parallels between then and now.
But, of course, that’s no reason to shy away from it. If anything, it means the opposite. It’s an important topic, but it’s just as important to deliver lessons sensitively and age-appropriately to your class.
With Victory in Europe Day taking place on 8 May, and D-Day on 6 June, these are great opportunities to not only understand the past (and, in turn, the present) but to see the hope and goodness that can eventually emerge from such dark times.
So, we’ve picked out a selection of resources to help your pupils do just that.
1 | D-Day Landings in Normandy
The D-Day landings were a key factor in the outcome of the war, splitting the German forces that were mostly in conflict with the Russians in Eastern Europe. For an introductory overview this piece from Imperial War Museums is a great place to start.
But if you want to delve deeper into this topic, The British Legion has an excellent facts and figures PDF on D-Day that can be easily adapted to suit your lessons, as well as veteran’s stories and more.
What did the British find when they entered Belsen concentration camp? Belsen (full name Bergen-Belsen) was set up in 1943. It was never used as a death-camp, but was still a place of unbelievable horrors and brutality.
Towards the end of the war, thousands of Jews had been evacuated from camps in eastern Europe and marched west to avoid the advancing Soviet army. There were 40,000 prisoners at Belsen in April 1945, many dying each day, as well as thousands who had recently died and had not been buried.
The outside world knew of the camps even before the war, but took little notice of reports of what they were like. Thus when Allied soldiers began to advance into Germany at the end of the war and discovered the camps, they were deeply shocked by the conditions. These documents record what the British soldiers found, and how they responded.
This KS3 resource features a varied collection of activities to accommodate different learning styles, centred around the experience of the Blitz, how London was affected and how historians have interpreted it.