The United States and the Road to World War II Isolationism and Intervention


Teach students about the United States’ road to Pearl Harbor in World War II from the perspectives of people who lived during that time!

Pages: 11 pages and 14 slides

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With this lesson, students will learn about the events that led to the United States entering World War II. With each of the eight events, students will examine the character profile of an individual (there are both fictional and real profiles) who might have lived during that time. They will then determine how that individual might have felt about each of the eight events. The students will also assess the events that turned the U.S. from an isolationist stance to an interventionist stance.

Topics Include: The Neutrality Acts, The Selective Service Act of 1940, The Lend-Lease Act, The Attack on Pearl Harbor (among others)

An exit ticket with formative assessment questions is also included. You can view more in the preview here – The Road to World War II

Included in this resource:

  • A PowerPoint Version of the handout (editable)
  • A PDF Version of the handout (not editable)
  • A PowerPoint Version of the slideshow and a Google Slides Version of the lesson for use with students online or in the classroom
  • A lesson plan with guidance for implementation

This lesson addresses the following NYS Social Studies Standards:

8.6b – From 1939 to 1941, the United States government tried to maintain neutrality while providing aid to Britain but was drawn into the war by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States fought a war on multiple fronts. At home, the economy was converted to war production, and essential resources were rationed to ensure adequate supplies for military use.


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