Social Education 59(4), 1995, pg. 229
National Council for the Social Studies

Some Resources on the End of
World War II

The following teaching package and books were recently received by Social Education. Reviews are by Social Education staff.
History of World War II
Teaching Aid Package
Lewis Educational Products
1019 E. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441.
(1-800-881-8811) 1994.
Complete package: $69.50; components available at other prices.

This package includes editions of Stars and Stripes for VE and VJ days, as well as a 2 hour video on World War II using original newsreel and combat films, reproductions of the Stars and Stripes report of the D-Day invasion and the Honolulu Star Bulletin account of the Pearl Harbor attack, and military posters. The package will interest teachers committed to a cooperative learning approach, and to the use of original sources that can quickly bring home to students what it was like to be in the world at war.

The newspapers and video reflect the flavor of the time. The newspapers focus mainly on the war news of the time, but also include the kind of home front news items that interested soldiers (e.g, in the VE and VJ-day editions, there are reports on baseball scores from home, incidents of crime, and a circus highwire death). These editions include items pertaining to the peacetime future of soldiers, as well as chronologies of the war. A lesson plan suggests 12 or more class sessions into which the different components of the package can be integrated to teach the history of the whole war; this can be adapted by teachers interested in one part of it, such as the final months.

Hiroshima: Fifty Years of Debate
By Robert Young
New York: Dillon Press "Both Sides" Series, 1995. 72 pp.
$14.95, hard cover.

This illustrated book examines the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the issues arising from the bombings that have caused heated debate since then. After an initial description of the mission of the Enola Gay and the destruction wrought on Hiroshima, Young reviews the arguments for and against Truman's fateful decision that ended the war with Japan and initiated the atomic age.

The dropping of the atomic bombs is sometimes presented as a straightforward ethical issue: does the end justify the means or not? There are, however, important disagreements among historians over what the course of the war would have been without the dropping of the bomb, so a discussion of Hiroshima quickly expands into an analysis of the conventional military balance of power, a review of Soviet intentions and capabilities in the region in 1945, and an assessment of the Japanese government's attitude to different options for surrender.

This book presents a clear outline of the major facts, arguments, and issues related to the bombing of Hiroshima, inviting the reader to decide the issue for himself or herself. A timeline and bibliography are included. While the publisher lists this book as intended for ages 9 to 11, teachers of older students will find the level of discussion appropriate for their classes.

I'll Be Seeing You: World War II Diary and Correspondence, Cpl. Mary Elizabeth Osen, February 1943-September 1945
Edited by Lynn Ethan Nielsen and Mary Taylor Nielsen.
Mid-Prairie Books, 801 4th Ave, Parkersburg, IA 50665. 1994. 143 pp. $9.95, paperback.

This is the diary and correspondence of a grade school teacher who volunteered for the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, later known as the Women's Army Corps (WAC). It is not a record of the course of the war or its military actions; what its pages portray is the adjustment of a good-humored young Mid-Western woman to the difficulties and demands of tours of duty that took her from training in Texas to service in New Guinea and the Philippines. For those interested in the social history of the period, and in the history of women in the U.S. army, it offers insights into social attitudes prevalent in the early 1940's, the conditions of life for servicewomen, and the ways in which they adapted to the wartime situation and maintained their sense of normalcy in the face of extraordinary and dramatic events.