World War II General Resources

World War II General Resources

Encyclopedia of the Second World War ★★★★☆
The Second World War is a Spartacus Educational website and enables one to research individual people and events of the war in detail. The sources are “hypertexted” so that the visitor can research the newspaper, organization, etc., that produced the source. There are several subsections including those on: Background to the War; Nazi Germany, Chronology of the War, Political Leaders, European Diplomacy, Major Offensives, British Military Leaders, USA Military Leaders, German Military Leaders, Japanese Military Leaders, The Armed Forces, The Air War, The Resistance, Scientists & Inventors, War at Sea, Resistance in Nazi Germany, The Holocaust, War Artists, Weapons and New Technology.

HyperWar: World War II ★★★★☆
Hyper War is a “hypertext” history of the second World War and features diplomatic and political documents. The content is made up, primarily, of “public domain” (non-copyright) materials in English: Official government histories (United States and British Commonwealth/Empire); Source documents (diplomatic messages, Action Reports, logs, diaries, etc.); and Primary references (manuals, glossaries, etc). Wherever possible, hyperlinks between these histories and documents have been included.

BBC Online: World War II ★★★★☆
Covers various topics of the war such as campaigns and battles, politics, home front, and the holocaust. Multimedia zone offers interactive maps, photographs and audio and video clips. WW2 People’s War is a new website from BBCi History, aspiring to create a new national archive of personal and family stories from World War Two.

Armies of the Second World War ★★★★☆
“Armies of the Second World War” is an online database of day-by-day orders of battle and information about hundreds of division, brigade, and regiment-sized units in World War II. Information currently available in the database covers Commonwealth, Dominion, Colonial, Exile, and “Minor” Allied armies in Europe, Africa, and western Asia from 1 September 1939 through 7 May 1945.

Recollections of World War II ★★★★☆
Recollections of WWII is a directory of oral history collections and projects in the UK which contain recorded memories of individuals who lived through WWII. The collections include interviews with servicemen and women from many nations, evacuees and refugees, people who experienced the home front, and Holocaust survivors. Some collections offer the opportunity to download transcripts, listen to MP3s, or watch videos interviews. The site is independent and non-profit and has been created to provide a resource for historians, students and researchers who wish to learn about the war from those who experienced it.

The World at War ★★★★☆
The World at War, History of WW 1939 – 1945 is probably one of the best military history web sites of WWII. Its goal is to be as complete as possible about the history of WW 1939-1945 and serves as a well organized gateway to numerous sources. Information and links are organized around a timeline of events. The authors also provide a discussion forum, message board, and a mailing list and the site can be searched by keyword.

BBC News On This Day | World War II ★★★★☆
On This Day features significant stories broadcast by BBC News since 1950 and includes a World War II section. a choice of reports drawn that covers 1939-45. Nearly all the stories contain video or audio and are written as if the event had just occurred. drawing on archive media, old newspapers and historical reference books.

The Price of Freedom: Americans at War ★★★★☆
This Smithsonian website skillfully integrates Flash video and text to examine armed conflicts involving the U.S. from the Revolutionary War to the war in Iraq. Each conflict contains a brief video clip, statistical information, and a set of artifacts. There is also a Civil War mystery, an exhibition self-guide, and a teacher’s guide. The World War II section contains an introductory movie and short essay on the conflict as well as historic images and artifacts.

Avalon Project: World War II Documents ★★★☆☆
The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy offers a varied array of primary source documents on World War II as part of its major collections.

Hitler’s Third Reich & World War II News ★★★☆☆
This website provides a daily hand-picked and edited review of World War II news. Each entry is placed in one or more categories, such as Waffen SS, Battle tanks, Nazi Memorabilia & Militaria, WWII & Nazi Uniforms, WWII Jeeps, Historical Tours or SS & Nazi Daggers. For older news and monthly ‘most read’ lists go to Archive Index. Tens of thousands of WWII news – categorized and hand-collected.

The World War II Sound and Image File ★★★☆☆
Part of the The Historical Sound & Image Archive, this WWII “Sounds and Pictures Page” features interesting graphics and radio excerpts. Topics include: Aircraft, Propaganda Posters, Warships, Sound Effects, and more. Has not been updated since 2001.

U.S. Army in World War II Series ★★★☆☆
The United States Army in World War II series describes the organization, plans, and operations of the War Department and the Army, in all of the Army’s five theaters of operations from 1939 to 1945. Seventy-eight volumes have been or are being published and this website provides access to an extensive reader’s guide to the series.

World War II Resources ★★★☆☆
Dedicated to combatting “history by sound bites,” the “Pearl Harbor Working Group” has produced this varied collection of original documents regarding all aspects of the war.

Lesson Plans, Animations, Activities, and more
BBC History Games: Battle of the Atlantic
Play this interactive game as Senior Officer Escort in charge of defending increasingly important convoys.

BBC History: The Fall of France Animation
Follow the progress of the German forces as they cross the border, occupy Belgium and the Netherlands and trap the Allied forces at Dunkirk.

Battle of the Bulge Interactive Essay
This Library of Congress presentation uses U.S. Army situation maps to illustrate this famous WWII battle. Students can benefit from the interactivity and the historical expertise shared by Library of Congress experts.

BBC History: The North Africa Campaign Animation
Follow the three years of battles in the North African desert, and see how Axis and Allied forces chased each other across this hostile terrain.

BBC History: Battle of El Alamein
In this BBC animation you follow the battle that signified ‘the end of the beginning’ of World War Two, as the Allies force the decisive breakthrough in the North African Campaign.

BBC History: Operation Overlord Animation
Follow the Allies as they land on the Normandy coast on 6 June 1944, and then battle their way into Brittany and on to liberate Paris.

BBC History: The Italian Campaign Animation
Follow the Allied forces as they invade Sicily and battle their way into Italy, all the way from Salerno in the south to the Alps in the north.

Science and Technology of World War II
Some of the most impressive technology advancements of the modern era occured during World War II and the National World War II Memorial has 8000 objects directly related to science and technology. This impressive exhibit contains an animated timeline, activities such as sending encrypted messages, expert audio responses to science and technology questions, lesson plans, a quiz, introductory essays, and more. The lesson plans include: Moon Phases and Tides in Planning the D-Day Invasion; How Waves Helped Win the War: Radar and Sonar; and Math in WWII Application Questions.

Race for the Super Bomb
Research and debate the ethics, policy, and events that led up to Hiroshima. Students will also learn about the dawn of the Cold War, and how the Soviets joined the nuclear arms race.

South Carolina Voices: Lessons from the Holocaust
A teacher’s guide to teaching about the Holocaust and its aftermath. This page has several lesson plans as well as links to background information and printable handouts. Intended for grades 7-12

America and the Holocaust
Complex social and political factors shaped America’s response to the Holocaust, specifically the treatment of Jewish refugees from Europe. It was not until 1944 that a small band of Treasury Department employees forced the government to respond. See also the classroom discussion questions for this resource.

Teacher’s Guide: Total War
In World War II, fire bombs, air raids, and the atomic bomb kill millions of civilians and leave many more injured and homeless. As the fighting grows more fierce and sweeps across nations, ordinary citizens join the war effort, often at great sacrifice. Explore the effects of World War II on civilians.

Was Hitler a Passionate Lunatic?
This exercise is aimed at getting pupils to look at conflicting evidence and assessing their reliability. It can be used as an introduction to looking at the issue of appeasement and the decisions that were made in the run up to the outbreak of the war. From Learning Curve. Key Stage 3-4.

Assassinate Hitler: How Did the British Plan to Kill Hitler?
In 1944 the SOE (Special Operations Executive) drew up some plans to kill Hitler and as Head of SOE it is your job to decide which of two ways of killing Hitler should be given the go-ahead. From the Learning Curve (UK National Archives). Key Stage 3-4.

Chamberlain and Hitler, 1938: What was Chamberlain trying to do?
Chamberlain’s account of his meeting with Hitler over the Sudetenland crisis of 1938 is the centre of this activity. Is it unfair to criticize Chamberlain for mis-judging Hitler? Students could try to construct the case for Chamberlain. From the (UK) National Archives. Key Stage 3-4.

German Occupation of the Rhineland, 1936: What should Britain do about it?
Documents reveal the motives and attitudes of the British government as they discuss their options. The extracts from the Cabinet minutes also show how little room for maneuvering British politicians actually had. This provides a good case-study of British appeasement policy. From the Learning Curve (UK National Archives). Key Stage 3-4.

Junior General: 20th Century
This site, aimed at middle school students, attempts to illustrate military history through the use of tabletop simulations of historical battles. Ranging in time from ancient Egypt to World War II, to the Vietnam war, these simulations will be applicable to many history classes. Each simulation requires rulers, dice, and maps and paper soldiers printed out from the website. These complex simulations will require considerable amounts of class time, as well as preparation time by the instructor. However, they have the potential to create a unique and engaging experience. As well as providing extensive information about the simulations themselves, the website also lists books and other sites with more historical information about many of the conflicts.

Changing Perspectives on the Japanese Internment Experience
In this interactive and multi-disciplinary lesson, students learn about the role that perspective plays in the writing of history by focusing on the changing views about Japanese-American internment camps during World War II. Students will demonstrate what they’ve learned by creating a project that demonstrates a biased view of the Internment camps. Along the way, students will be asked to identify the ways in which biases affect what gets retold as a “history”.

Explore the career of a controversial leader and understand events in the Pacific theater during WWII.

World War II Lesson Plans
Awesome Stories lesson plan features primary sources, lessons and legacy, and recommended sources. Awesome Stories lesson plans are free to schools and libraries.

The Battle of the Bulge: Teacher’s Guide
Presented by PBS, this teacher’s guide is a springboard for WWII discussion. Many important issues are addressed and offered for student debate. The guide also has several class activities and projects (map making, research, etc.)

Teacher’s Guide: Master Race
Study the racial philosophies and ethnic cleansing policies of Nazi Germany through this PBS People’s Century teacher’s guide.

Nazi Designers of Death
Nearly 50 years after the Holocaust, discover how a British historian gathered powerful evidence to show how Nazi death camps were planned and constructed. PBS activity for middle school students.

Drums of War: Exploring How Politics Shapes American War Policy
In this New York Times lesson, students will research the political climate prior to major American wars of the past, then reflect on the current call for power to confront Iraq.(September 23, 2002)

Anne Frank in the World: Teacher Book
Produced by The Friends of Anne Frank in Utah and the Intermountain West Region the workbook features lesson plans and activities for grades 5-8, lesson plans and activities for grades 7-12, readings and overviews, timelines, and a glossary.

HomeFront 1939-1945: Bombing of Britain
This interactive UK National Archives Learning Curve exhibition examines around life in Britain during Word War II. Sections revolve around essential questions for students to answer and feature diaries, activities, worksheets, a timeline, and video. Try the activity at this page.

HomeFront 1939-1945: Evacuation
This interactive UK National Archives Learning Curve exhibition examines around life in Britain during Word War II. Sections revolve around essential questions for students to answer and feature diaries, activities, worksheets, a timeline, and video. Try the activity at this page.

The Home Front: Lesson Plan
This multimedia lesson plan created by the UK National Archives leads students through an assortment of study questions about what life was like on the British homefront. Discussions are supplemented with images and primary sources.

The United States in an Age of Global Crisis Practice Test
High School level quiz on America and World War II from Prentice Hall.

The United States in an Age of Global Crisis Document Based Essay
This Prentice Hall DBQ is designed to test your ability to work with historical documents and is based on the accompanying documents (1-6).

Between the Wars Review Game
This exercise provides review for events, people, and terms associated with the period between World War I and World War II

Chronology of World War II Game – Pacific
Put WWII events in chronological order with this game.

Identify the World War II Leaders Game
Identify the World War II leaders through descriptions of their actions and decisions during the war.

Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance: Teacher’s Resources
Includes a Multimedia Learning Center, Virtual Exhibits, and a Teacher’s Resources section that has a glossary, a timeline, bibliographies, 36 questions and answers about the Holocaust, and curricular resources for teachers.

BBC History: Nazi Propaganda Gallery
Professor David Welch uses six Nazi-era posters to explain how Hitler used propaganda as a vehicle of political salesmanship.

BBC History: Advertising and Information Posters Gallery
The BBC offers these photos of magazine illustrations, advertisements and government information posters, published during World War II.

WWII Special Topics
Kamikaze Images ★★★★★
Kamikaze Images explores diverse portrayals and perceptions of the young Japanese fighters who carried out suicide attacks near the end of World War II through primary sources and memoirs. The web site covers all of Japan’s special attack forces, which carried out suicide attacks not only with planes but also with torpedoes, rocket-propelled gliders, explosive motorboats, and midget submarines. The first major section of this web site analyzes American and Japanese views of kamikaze pilots in and the second major section includes reviews of various forms used to create kamikaze images, including Books, Films, Museums, Monuments, Internet, Writings, and other forms. The perspectives and sources this site presents are uncommon and very valuable for understanding the Japanese homefront during the war.

D-Day ★★★★☆
This PBS American Experience D-Day film is told entirely with rare archival footage and the voices of 43 people who were there. The special features of the companion web site include the “Did You Know?” section to learn about landing craft, battle reporting, the vast scale of the invasion, and what the “D” stands for; “Voices of D-Day” where the battle’s fliers, the men who landed on Normandy’s beaches, and German soldiers tell their stories; “Hot Off the Presses” where you can read a newspaper account and Americans’ reactions to news of the D-Day assault; “Paratroopers” or soldiers who dropped behind enemy lines; and “Letters from the Front,” first-hand accounts of soldiers’ experiences after D-Day.

Homefront 1939-1945 ★★★★☆
This interactive UK National Archives Learning Curve exhibition examines life in Britain during Word War II. Sections revolve around essential questions for students to answer and feature diaries, activities, worksheets, a timeline, and video.

Go for Broke (Japanese American World War II veterans) ★★★★☆
The educational Web site is one of the leading resources for educators, students, researchers and the general public to learn about the legacy of the Japanese American World War II veterans. It features lesson plans, student activities, streaming oral history videos, glossaries, timelines, photos, interactive maps and more,

Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project ★★★★☆
Densho collects and shares in an online digital archive the life stories of Japanese Americans incarcerated by the U.S. government during World War II. The web site offers more than 500 hours of indexed and transcribed video interviews, 9,000 historical photographs and documents, contextual articles and exhibits, and standards-based curricula. All these resources are provided free of charge to students, educators, historians, and the general public in the interest of promoting knowledge of our history and respect for civil liberties. Beyond Internet access, Densho’s public lectures and presentations, teacher training workshops, and collaboration with schools, museums, and community groups expand the impact of this innovative heritage organization. Among other honors, Densho has received an ABC-CLIO Online History citation from the American Library Association.

World War II Poster Collection ★★★★☆
The Government Publications Department at Northwestern University Library has a comprehensive collection of over 300 posters issued by U.S. Federal agencies from the onset of war through 1945. Posters are searchable by Date, Topic, or Title.

Science and Technology of World War II ★★★★☆
Some of the most impressive technology advancements of the modern era occured during World War II and the National World War II Memorial has 8000 objects directly related to science and technology. This impressive exhibit contains an animated timeline, activities (such as sending encrypted messages), expert audio responses to science and technology questions, lesson plans, a quiz, essays, and more. An impressive presentation.

The Nanking Atrocities ★★★★☆
Comprehensive accounts of the Nanking Atrocities that took place from 1937-38 in Nanking, China during the early stage of the Second Sino-Japanese War. This site includes interviews with leading historians in the field as well as historical photographs and video footages, and a number of other documented materials such as newspaper articles, diaries of former Japanese soldiers and American missionaries who were in Nanking when the incident took place, and the judgment of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial.

Baatan Rescue ★★★★☆
This PBS American Experience site relates the story of an elite Ranger battalion that went 30 miles behind enemy lines in the Philippines in 1944 to rescue 500 survivors of the Bataan death march who were held captive by the Japanese. There are interviews with liberated POWs, a tour inside a Ranger training camp, a teacher’s guide, and more.

World War II Posters: Powers of Persuasion (NARA) ★★★★☆
An interesting National Archives exhibit that displays and explains American propaganda posters. It features 11 posters and 1 sound file from a more extensive exhibit that was presented in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. The exhibit is divided into two parts, which represent two psychological approaches used in rallying public support for the war.

A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution ★★★★☆
An online exhibit from the Smithsonian, this site explores how a government balances human rights with a need for national security. Immigration, Removal, Internment, Loyalty, Service and Justice are the areas available for viewing, with a special area for reflection by visitors. Classroom Activities are found under the Resources link at the bottom of the page.

Women Who Came to the Front (Library of Congress) ★★★★☆
This exhibit tells the story of eight different women who participated as journalists, broadcasters, and photographers during World War II. The women featured in this exhibit were chosen because of the strength and variety of their collections in the Library of Congress.

Nga Toa ★★★★☆
Nga Toa features a collection of oral history and personal accounts from WWII veterans of New Zealand’s armed forces. Includes personal stories from major theaters such as Greece, Crete, North Africa, Italy and the Pacific.

Women and the Second World War ★★★★☆
This website examines the important role played by women in the war and includes biographies of twenty secret agents, twenty women involved in the anti-Nazi resistance movement in Europe and twelve women who risked their lives as war reporters.

Hiroshima 64 Years Later ★★★★☆
A Boston Globe article with stunning pictures of the effects of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.

Normandy ★★★★☆
Normandy is part of a World War II study guide by Britannica online. Sections include: The Invasion, Leaders and Generals, and Veterans’ Oral Histories. There are also combat videos, interactive charts and maps, a photo Gallery, war Documents, and learning activities guide.

The Winston Churchill Home Page ★★★★☆
Produced by the Churchill Center, this site covers all aspects of Churchill’s life. Included are sound recordings of Churchill’s speeches, a radio interview, and other primary source documents.

Total War (PBS) ★★★★☆
Part of PBS’s People’s Century series, Total War discusses the contributions of civilians during WWII and their victimization. In Total War, eyewitnesses from Britain, Germany, Russia, Korea, Japan, and the United States tell the story of how millions of civilians participated and came to be legitimate targets in the Second World War. There are eye-witness interviews, a teacher’s guide, links to related sites, and chance to tell your own story. (Holocaust) ★★★★☆ is an educational forum bringing together Holocaust survivors, children of Holocaust survivors, art by children, educational efforts, and Books by Survivors to promote learning and remembering. Founded in 1995, this site has reached over 3 million visitors a year and is a central tool for many traditional classrooms, sharing the best resources and giving access to projects like the upcoming Auschwitz Virtual tour.

The Holocaust – Crimes, Heroes and Villains ★★★★☆
Started in 1996 The Holocaust – Crimes, Heroes and Villains is today one of the largest Holocaust websites in the world. It is based on more than 30 year’s research by the site’s creator into the topics of World War 2 and The Holocaust. Most of the articles have been published in newspapers and magazines.

Master Race: 1926-1945 (PBS) ★★★★☆
Part of PBS’s People’s Century series, Master Race probes the Nazi takeover in Germany. In it, Germans talk candidly about the initial seduction of Nazism; Gypsies reminisce about life before Hitler; and Jews recall their persecution. There are eye-witness interviews, a teacher’s guide, links to related sites, and a chance to tell your own story.

Nuremberg – The Doctors Trial ★★★★☆
This informative presentation is part of a larger site — The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum — and contains the testimonies and evidence used during this trial against Nazi physicians who conducted scientific experiments on concentration camp prisoners. There are numerous primary source documents that describe the surgical atrocities.

National World War II Memorial ★★★☆☆
The National World War II Memorial is the first national memorial dedicated to all who served during World War II. The memorial honors all military veterans of the war, the citizens on the home front, the nation at large, and the high moral purpose and idealism that motivated the nation’s call to arms. The memorial opened to the public on April 29, 2004 and was dedicated a month later on May 29.

Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals ★★★★☆
This United States Holocaust Memorial Museum online exhibition examines the campaign of persecution and violence against homosexuals in Germany under the Third Reich. The Museum offers online resources, bibliographies, personal histories, video clips, curator comments, and public programs.

Enola Gay ★★★★☆
The Enola Gay exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum closed on May 18, 1998. This web page provides a brief overview with images and highlights from that exhibition. The most luring feature of the site is a series of movie clips showing the interior cockpit and the exterior forward fuselage.

Victory Mail ★★★★☆
A short video presented by the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum introduces the idea of V-mail to the uninitiated.

World War II Poster Set ★★★★☆
A Flickr user has compiled a fascinating set of World War II posters.

Oscar Schindler ★★★★☆
Biography of the rescuer Oskar Schindler, who saved 1200 Jews during the Holocaust and World War II. Stories of war crimes, survivors, and the entire Schindler’s List.

Facing History ★★★★☆
Through the excellent Facing History workshops and institute, students learn how issues of identity and membership, inclusion and exclusion, play out at one particular moment in history. As part of the journey students engage in a rigorous investigation of Germany’s transition from a democracy to a totalitarian regime. They see how the Nazis rose to power, culminating in the horrors of the Holocaust. Throughout, students confront the moral questions inherent in this history .

World War in Color ★★★★☆
A site to upload, view, and comment on World War II photographs.

Maps of World War II ★★★★☆
Maps of World War II provides an overview of WWII through a collection of maps that present the battles and campaigns fought in the various theatres of war. The material is organized by theatre, in roughly chronological order. Most of these maps present operational level information.

Films from the Home Front ★★★★☆
Films from the Home Front provides free access to films illustrating life in Britain during the Second World War. The films, from archives around the UK, explore issues characterising life during the war including: Children, Civil Defence, Community Life, Displaced People, Home and Family Life, Women’s Role and Victory Celebrations in 1945. They explain how the films reveal many dramatic changes that took place in the country during this period. In addition, each of the archives has its own section on the site highlighting how the films fit into the story of their region during the Second World War.

The Iron Men of Mentz ★★★☆☆
The Iron Men of Metz website is a bilingual French-English website designed to preserve the history of the U.S. 95th Infantry Division and to honor the memory of the veterans of this 95th. The website is focused on the fighting in and around Metz and contains a collection of Then-and-Now photos. On this website, you’ll obtain info about battles of the division, testimonies of veterans, some great and uniques information about the Battle for Metz, The Fortress city.

Ordinary Heroes: Six Stars in the Window ★★★☆☆
This site offers a free Web-serialized multimedia book that tells the true story of six brothers in World War II told against the backdrop of world events.

World War II in Europe Timeline ★★★☆☆
A hyperlinked timeline with text and images by The History Place.