We’ve begun by discussing the lead up to the Second World War. We used this video as a prompt: Lead up to World War II (a little wordy, and might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but worth a look). We also watched footage of Neville Chamberlain’s ‘peace in our time’ speech and listened to his subsequent Declaration of war.
Then we asked the children to write a little about what they already know about World War II and, more importantly, what they want to know. They came up with extraordinarily deep questions, some of which we will try to explore in subsequent weeks.
On understanding war and the morality of war
- Why did a species turn on itself? (Daisy)
- I want to know why people wanted to kill each other when they could have a world of peace. Why were people OK to “accidentally” bomb houses of innocent people? (Olivia)
- Why do we have to be so cruel to our own kind? How could we be so stupid to kill countries for six years? (Sarafina)
- What was the point of fighting. Do we get anything out of it? (Nathan)
- Why was it so inhuman? (Wayne)
- Why we couldn’t sort things out another way? (Nina)
- How did the war spread around the world? Why? (Myah)
- Will there be a World War III (Emily)
On Hitler, the Nazi Party and Germany
- What triggered [some] Germans to be extremely cruel, killing machines? (Archie)
- Why did so many die just because of one person? (Sylvie)
- And some very black humour from Sylvie: how many trees were used as death certificates?
- If Hitler hadn’t died [and had won the war] what would he have done next? (Tanya and Caspar)
- We are all human. Why did Hitler think Jews were so bad? (Emily)
- Which country killed more people: England or Germany? (Archie)
On what life was like during the war, how the war affected the local area, and the role of women in wartime
- How did families cope during the world war? Where did families live and what did they eat? (Nathan)
- Why couldn’t women fight in war? (Olivia)
- What kinds of things did the women do? (Sylvie)
- Was the local area bombed?
- What was our primary school doing in WW2. (Sylvie)
- When did Rosendale Road get hit by a V2 rocket? (Faith)