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Lesson Plan:

For Teachers - WWII: The War Effort at Home

Type: Introductory
Subjects: History, Social Studies, Media Studies
Grades: Grades 11-12
Duration: 1 lesson
Purpose: To analyze and compare historical and current media reports.
Summary: In this introductory activity, students listen to war interviews with soldiers and analyze their effectiveness.

Before Exploring

Begin a discussion with students about current advertising for the military. Ask them what slogans or ads they have seen, and list their responses on the board. (Current examples of Canadian military slogans are "Strong. Proud: Today's Canadian Forces" and "Explore The Possibilities: Navy, Army, Air Force." Recent U.S. slogans, which might be more familiar to the students, are "Be all you can be" or "A few good men." Ask students: What kind of message does each slogan give? What purpose does it serve? How are ads for the military like other ads you have seen? How are they different?

Outline the Opportunity

Have students browse the topic 1939-1945: A Soldier's War on the CBC Digital Archives website. They should find at least three clips designed to motivate people at home to produce or finance the war effort overseas, then answer the following questions:

·  What kind of materials are the men and women at the front asking the people at home to continue producing?

·  What kind of impact do you think personal soldier interviews had on the people at home? Explain your reasons.

·  What value did these soldier interviews have on the soldiers interviewed?

Revisit and Reflect

After the students have completed the questions, have them share their answers.

Ask students: What service did the CBC provide to the war effort? Was it effective?

Following the discussion, have students compare the radio clips from World War II to the kinds of military advertising seen today.


In pairs, have students write and perform an interview, in the style of CBC Radio's WWII interviews, to promote enlistments in the Royal Canadian Army.