Application and Reflection Questions
List the actions Japan took to carve out an empire for itself in Asia. How likely is it that the intervention of other nations could have stopped Japan’s aggression? Would European nations and the United States have had the right to use military action to do so? Why or why not?
Why did no country come to the aid of Czechoslovakia when it was threatened by Germany? Explain how and why the western powers were unable to effectively enforce the Treaty of Versailles and prevent German aggression under Hitler.
How believable were Japan’s claims that it was seeking to liberate the nations of Asia from Western colonialists? Explain your answer.
Should Hitler have been allowed to violate the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and remilitarize the Rhineland? If he had stopped at this point and not invaded other countries or persecuted German Jews, do you think France and Britain would have declared war?
Did the U.S. policy of neutrality invite the attack on Pearl Harbor? Why or why not? If the United States had been more active in its support for Britain, France, and China, would this have changed the way events progressed?
Analyze the factors that led to Hitler’s decision to invade the Soviet Union.
Why did the Japanese military risk confrontation and possible war with the United States at the beginning of the 1940s?
Why would Churchill have preferred a Europe First strategy? Which of the Allied nations had the most to lose in the Pacific, and why?
How did popular culture like music and movies contribute to the war effort of different countries? Does popular culture still affect people’s feelings of patriotism today? If so, how?
In what ways did women contribute to the war effort in their countries? In what ways did the war affect women’s lives in the short term and the long term, both for the better and for the worse?
Which invention of the World War II period do you think was most important at the time? Which one is most significant today?
What was President Truman’s attitude toward the dropping of the atomic bomb? Had Germany not surrendered before the bomb’s development was completed, do you think the United States would have dropped it on German targets? Why or why not?
What, in your opinion, was the most significant agreement reached at Yalta and at Potsdam? Which likely caused the greatest disagreement about the Big Three? Explain your answer.
What political, economic, and social changes were imposed upon Japan by the U.S. occupation? Did these changes benefit the average Japanese person? Why or why not? In your opinion, did victory give the United States the right to remake Japanese society? Why or why not?
Were the terms imposed upon Japan after the war more severe than those imposed upon Germany? Explain your answer.