Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Six Day War
Mary Ann Wilson
U.S. History
Time Frame:
1-2 class days
Six Day War

Grade Levels:
9, 10

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

Annotation Exercise: 


An Annotation is a visual exercise where the students create a graphic representation of a piece of writing.  Each student in the group receives a different colored marker and they are responsible for circling equal number of words and then creating drawings in the margins that represent the words that they have circled.  Once they have completed the exercise, they SHOULD have a “graphic novel” representation of the written piece of work.


  • The student will annotate, in a group or in pairs, the three corresponding speeches given by three countries involved in the Six Day War:  Egypt, Israel, and the United States.
  • The class will discuss the various annotations, when completed, and compare the various similarities and differences that outline the possible issues that are leading to the eminent outbreak of the Six Day War.
  • As a concluding exercise, each student will complete a reflection to be turned in the next day that discusses which side the student feels is most correct in its justification for war.

  • The students will look at the greatly differing perspectives of both sides of a war as well as to what their varying needs are in a time of hostility.  Lessons in perspective allow the student to understand that there is always more than one reason or purpose in a time of conflict.  Agendas vary depending on the “team” you are supporting.

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

Standard USHC-7: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the impact of World War II on the United States and the nation’s subsequent role in the world.


Enduring Understanding

In defense of democracy, a government may need to confront aggression and ask its citizens for sacrifice in wars and providing foreign aid that, in turn, affects the practice of democracy at home. To make informed political decisions about when and how government should go to war, the student will utilize the knowledge and skills set forth in the following indicators:


  • USHC-7.5 Analyze the impact of the Cold War on national security and individual freedom, including the containment policy and the role of military alliances, the effects of the “Red Scare” and McCarthyism, the conflicts in Korea and the, Middle East, the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall, the Cuban missile crisis, and the nuclear arms race.
  • Common Core RH 12.6:  Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event of issue by assessing the authors’ claims reasoning, and evidence.
  • Common Core RH 12.9: Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event noting discrepancies among sources.


Essential Question:

 How do the relationships of the nations surrounding Six Day War compare to the relationships of Israel and the Mid East nations today?

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

President Nasser announces blockade of Straits of Tiran

Excerpt from a speech delivered by President Nasser to his troops in Sinai on May 23, 1967, announcing the new blockade:

... Yesterday the armed forces [of Egypt] occupied Sharm el-Sheikh. What does this mean? It is an affirmation of our rights, of our sovereignty over the Gulf of Aqaba, which constitutes Egyptian territorial waters. Under no circumstances can we permit the Israeli flag to pass through the Gulf of Aqaba. The Jews threaten war. We say that they are welcome to war, we are ready for war, our armed forces, our people, all of us are ready for war, but under no circumstances shall we abandon our rights. These are our waters ...



Prime Minister Eshkol Responds to blockade

Excerpt from a speech delivered by Prime Minister Eshkol to the Knesset on May 23, 1967 after Nasser announced the blockade of the Straits of Tiran:

This morning a statement by the Egyptian President was published declaring his intention to block the international waterway which passes through the Straits of Tiran and joins the Gulf of Eilat with the Red Sea to the passage of Israeli flagships and ships of other flags whose cargoes are of a strategic character.

Members of the Knesset:

Any inference with freedom of passage in the Gulf and the Straits constitutes a gross violation of international law, a blow at the sovereign rights of other nations and an act of aggression against Israel.

As the Knesset is aware, a number of Governments, including the major maritime Powers, have publicly stated, since 1957, their intention of exercising their rights to free passage through the Straits of Tiran and the Gulf of Eilat.

During the past few days, the Government of Israel has been in close touch with the Governments that have proclaimed and exercised the principle of free passage in these waters since 1957. After these exchanges, I can say that international support for these rights is serious and widespread.


President Johnson Responds to Mideast tensions and Egyptian blockade

Excerpt from a speech delivered by President Johnson on May 23, 1967 after Nasser announced the blockade of the Straits of Tiran:


The danger, and it is a very grave danger, lies in some miscalculation arising from a misunderstanding of the intentions and actions of others.

The Government of the United States is deeply concerned, in particular, with three potentially explosive aspects of the present confrontation.

First, we regret that the General Armistice Agreements have failed to prevent warlike acts from the territory of one against another government or against civilians or territory under control of another government.

Second, we are dismayed at the hurried withdrawal of the United Nations Emergency Force from Gaza and Sinai after more than 10 years of steadfast and effective service in keeping the peace, without action by either the General Assembly or the Security Council of the United Nations. We continue to regard the presence of the United Nations in the area as a matter of fundamental importance. We intend to support its continuance with all possible vigor.

Third, we deplore the recent build-up of military forces and believe it a matter of urgent importance to reduce troop concentrations. The status of sensitive areas, as the Secretary-General emphasized in his report to the Security Council, such as the Gaza Strip and the Gulf of Aqaba, is a particularly important aspect of the situation.

In this connection I want to add that the purported closing of the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping has brought a new and very grave dimension to the crisis. The United States considers the gulf to be an international waterway and feels that a blockade of Israeli shipping is illegal and potentially disastrous to the cause of peace. The right of free and innocent passage of the international waterway is a vital interest of the entire international community.


Full text may be found at



Full description of activity or assignment.
  • The teacher will place the students into groups as desired.  Recommended group size is no larger 3 if you are giving the groups only one document to analyze and annotate.  If you have larger groups, you can have all three articles going at the same time which may lend itself to group debate/discussion after the annotation.
  • Give each student a different colored marker and explain the procedures of the exercise.
  • Depending on how you have broken your groups down, discussion can be done through the groups (if you have all three speeches) or through the class, if the groups are addressing the speeches one at a time.


Topics to Address for Discussion:


  1.  Why has this issue arisen?  What is causing the tension?
  2.  What are the specific demands addressed in the speeches?
  3. What are the implied threats?
  4. What is the Johnson response as the situation is beginning to heighten? 

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




  1.  Choose a team:  Israeli.  Egyptian or U. S. 
  2. Defend their stance in the decision to fight this war by writing a one page speech of their own, assuming the role of Johnson, Nasser, or Eshkol. 
  3. Write specific goals in the speech as to the needs of their country and the end-game that you want for your country. 
  4. If you choose war, specify why.
  5. If you choose peace, outline the reasons why.