Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Causes of World War I
Author:
Derek Frieling
Course:
World History
Time Frame:
Parts of 3 class periods (block scheduling)
Subjects:
World War I
,
Schlieffen Plan
,
Alliances
,
World War I
,
Propaganda
,
World War I

Grade Levels:
10

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

Students as a group will present a persuasive argument for which of the 4 MAIN (militarism, alliances, imperialism, nationalism) causes was primarily responsible for leading to World War I.

Rationale:

World War I makes a major change in the progression of history into the modern world.  Understanding the causes of this war and how it changed history is necessary for students to understand how history is linked and how current issues are linked to this pivotal point in history.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:


SHOW ME STANDARDS

 2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world

6. Relationships of the individual and groups to institutions and cultural traditions

KANSAS STANDARDS (High School-US History)

Benchmark 1: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, ideas, developments, and turning points in the era of the emergence of the modern United States (1890-1930).

6. (A) analyzes the reasons for and impact of the United States’ entrance into World War I.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Maps of alliances, maps of imperial possessions, visual chart linking countries through alliances, accounts of treatment of minority and foreign groups.

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Political cartoons showing European imperialism, charts indicating military buildup including the dreadnaught crisis, treaties allying nations, publications of or on the Black Hand, newspaper accounts to include reactions in various cities to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, documentation of war plans (Schlieffen and others), propaganda posters used to incite nationalist fervor.

Technology Required:

Primary and secondary sources may be acquired via the Internet.  Students may want to present with PowerPoint, video, or other media.

Full description of activity or assignment.

This assignment will be a problem based learning project.  That is the students will be given the assignment and materials first and then I will teach the lessons and the students will then make their presentation.

     Students will be divided into groups of three.  Student groups will be asked to determine which of the MAIN (militarism, alliances, imperialism, or nationalism) was primarily responsible for leading to World War I.  The student groups will then develop a presentation for the purpose to persuade others that the cause they choose was the most significant in the development of the war. 

Students will then be provided copies of documents and research materials to use as evidence to support their argument.  These materials include: maps of alliances, maps of imperial possessions, visual chart linking countries through alliances, accounts of treatment of minority and foreign groups, political cartoons showing European imperialism, charts indicating military buildup including the dreadnaught crisis, treaties allying nations, publications of or on the Black Hand, newspaper accounts to include reactions in various cities to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, documentation of war plans (Schlieffen and others), and propaganda posters used to incite nationalist fervor.

Once students have familiarized themselves with the materials, I will begin teaching the first phases of World War I.  An open discussion will follow examining who should have been blamed for starting World War I.

The lesson will conclude with student groups presenting their thesis on what was the most important MAIN cause of World War I.  In addition to presenting their theory in class, each group will be required to turn in a written document summarizing their findings.  The paper and presentation much include three arguments to support their thesis and be supported with evidence supplied and additional group research.  Also, each paper must provide an argument to dispel each of the other three theories and the groups must be prepared to defend their thesis from these sources in their presentation.

 

 

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

Assignment:

Prepare a persuasive argument and paper for the primary cause of World War I.

                                                     _________

Evaluation Checklist:                      Points    Points

                                                  Possible  Received

 

Solid thesis in the presentation supported

by factual information from primary and

secondary sources

                                                       25          

Solid thesis in the paper supported by

factual information from primary and

secondary sources

                                                       25          

Presentation is effective and persuasive

                                                       25          

Paper is effective and persuasive

                                                       25          

Adequate defense from opposing 3 causes in

presentation

                                                       10          

Adequate defense from opposing 3 causes in

paper

                                                       10          

Participation in group discussion

                                                        10          

Effective participation within the group

                                                         20          

 

                                  Total         Total

                                  Points        Points

                                  Possible: 150 Received: