Lesson Plan: Dieppe and Wartime Propaganda
Write the word "propaganda" on the
board and ask students for a definition. Provide examples of wartime propaganda,
from various viewpoints and various wars. Have students examine these samples.
Ask: Are they effective? What do they succeed in doing? Are they truthful? What
do you think their intent was? How are they different from advertisements?
Invite discussion about propaganda as an important aspect of modern warfare, and what students know about how it was used by both the Allies and the Axis during the Second World War.
Outline the Opportunity
Explain to students that they will
use the Dieppe raid as a case study in wartime propaganda. Divide the class
into groups, with each group analyzing and reporting on how and why propaganda
coverage of the Dieppe raid (radio, newsreels, newspapers, and so on) was
designed to portray the raid in the most favourable way to Canadians at home. Have
students browse the topic Propaganda and
the Second World War and then begin with the clip "German veterans remember
defending Dieppe" on the topic The
Contentious Legacy of Dieppe on the CBC Digital Archives website.
Each group will present a critical analysis of the wartime propaganda coverage of the Dieppe raid, explaining why it provided only a partial, and very inaccurate, portrayal of the event.
Groups design a propaganda poster that the Canadian government could have used to promote national unity and the war effort in the aftermath of Dieppe, once the true nature of the military defeat was known.
Evaluate students' posters based originality, accuracy, creativity, and effectiveness. Consider working as a class to create a rubric for the posters, or having groups peer-assess.
Revisit and Reflect
Display the posters and have students walk through the classroom to see them. Different groups can describe their work, and students should be ready to ask and answer questions. Ask: How do you think wartime propaganda has changed since the Second World War?
Students can research current military advertising or propaganda, from a country of their choice, and analyze it critically for the effectiveness of its message and for the degree of truth.