Teacher Lesson Ideas

World War I: American Nationalism and Propaganda

This two-part lesson begins with high school students taking notes from a lecture about the events of World War I, particularly the rise of the American nationalism in the face of the sinking of the Lusitania and unrestricted warfare.  Students then read and discuss the Zimmerman telegram, which, along with an anti-German poem, sparks a discussion about nationalism and inspires students to write songs, poems, or letters to the editor exhibiting similar nationalistic feelings. 

The second part of the lesson begins with a lecture and discussion about the war highlighting the use of propaganda by the American government and in songs, posters, etc.  The teacher then views clips from a wartime movie, combined with images of wartime posters, to discuss the pro-war propaganda of the time.  Students use this information to create their own posters to present their own propaganda to the class.

Sandra Lemen
Garret Academy of Technology, SC
2004 Lowcountry Institute

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