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"Artzy" Art during World War II

Introduction Unit Objectives
Unit-At-A-Glance/Lesson Plans Artzybasheff Bibliography
Teacher Resources Supplemental Activities
World War II WebQuests Literary Terms and Vocabulary
Student Chatroom Student Portfolios
Home University of North Texas
TEKS/TAKS Standards Online Tutorials
WWII Letters Links Initial Artzybasheff images

Lesson 2:  Different Perspectives of World War II

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Different Perspectives of World War II


This lesson introduces various perspectives about WWII. The students will then each take one perspective and answer questions, role play situations, respond and interact with other "perspectives".


English Language Arts, Fine Arts, Science and Technology, Social Science


250 min

Grade Level:






The student writes in a variety of forms, including business, personal, literary, and persuasive texts, for various audiences and purposes.


TSIET... write in a voice and style appropriate to audience and purpose.


The student expresses and supports responses to various types of texts.


TSIET... respond to informational and aesthetic elements in texts such as discussions, journals, oral interpretations, and dramatizations.


TSIET... analyze characters and identify time and point of view.


The student understands the economic effects of World War II, the Cold War, and increased worldwide competition on contemporary society.


TSIET... describe the economic effects of World War II on the home front, including rationing, female employment, and the end of the Great Depression.


TSIET... describe how the characteristics and issues of various eras in U.S. history have been reflected in works of art, music, and literature such as the paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe, rock and roll, and John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.


TSIET... describe the impact of significant examples of cultural movements in art, music, and literature on American society, including the Harlem Renaissance.


TSIET... identify examples of American art, music, and literature that transcend American culture and convey universal themes.


TSIET... locate and use primary and secondary sources such as computer software, databases, media and news services, biographies, interviews, and artifacts to acquire information about the United States.


TSIET... analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions.


TSIET... explain and apply different methods that historians use to interpret the past, including the use of primary and secondary sources, points of view, frames of reference, and historical context.


TSIET... use the process of historical inquiry to research, interpret, and use multiple sources of evidence.


By analyzing artistic styles and historical periods students develop respect for the traditions and contributions of diverse cultures. Students respond to and analyze artworks, thus contributing to the development of lifelong skills of making informed judgments and evaluations.


The student demonstrates an understanding of art history and culture as records of human achievement.


TSIET... describe general characteristics in artworks from a variety of cultures.


By analyzing artistic styles and historical periods students develop respect for the traditions and contributions of diverse cultures. Students respond to and analyze artworks, thus contributing to the development of lifelong skills of making informed judgments and evaluations.


TSIET... analyze a wide range of artworks to form conclusions about formal qualities, historical and cultural contexts, intents, and meanings.


TSIET... demonstrate respect for others when working in groups.


The student develops concepts about self, human relationships, and the environment, using elements of drama and conventions of theatre.


TSIET... improvise, using emotional and sensory recall.


The student interprets characters, using the voice and body expressively, and creates dramatizations.





World War II web quest   


on accompanying diskette




Any library sources on WWII   



propaganda posters from different countries   



WWII Letters from the homefront and abroad   



WWII Timelines   



Initial Artzybasheff political cartoons   








The overall goal of this lesson is for the students to examine different perspectives about World War II through research, discussion, writing, role-play, and observation.  The students will try to examine these perspectives from the perspective of actually being there, in the middle of World War II.  They will "become" specific characters, complete a character analysis, conduct research about themselves and then write and perform in a skit in which they have to interact with different characters from the same time period.  The students will analyze various social aspects of World War II and how these things affected everything from domestic life to belief systems to social changes and ways of expression. Then the students will discriminate which of these social aspects apply to the initial images of Boris Artzybasheff that were analyzed during Lesson 1.



Students will demonstrate proper use of technical skills when researching information on the WWW.

Students will conduct research, using a variety of primary and secondary sources.

Students will analyze the various purposes for propaganda posters during WWII.

Students will draw timelines of specific events during WWII.

Students will analysis specific perspectives from different cultures about WWII by researching and completing a character analysis.

Students will demonstrate effective grammatical skills in responding to letters from WWII.

Students will work collaboratively with others to write and perform a skit in which characters from different nationalities during WWII have to interact in a given situation.

Students will continue to analyze the political cartoons of Boris Artzybasheff, adding opinions established through the research.



In order to get students motivated about World War II, possibly show a documentary film with live footage, or have the emotional effect of black and white photographs from the war hanging around the room.

You might just write the word WAR in big bold letters somewhere, maybe with a few images.



1. If you have access to computers, have the students begin the web quest at

2. Divide the students into groups of three to five each. Have each student choose a different character through whose perspective, he or she will answer the questions given to them.

3. Give each student a set of questions specific to their character.  These questions can be located and printed off from the webquest address above. Have the students use a variety of resources, i.e. the Internet, library sources, propaganda posters and cartoons from WWII, as well as letters, documents, diaries, journals, etc.  in order to answer the questions issued to each of them.

4. After researching their characters, have each student draw a timeline of events that occurred during WWII that involved their character's country directly.

5. Print out the letters on the webquest or find similar ones that were written during that time period, for the students to read.

6. Have the students read the letters and write 1-2 page responses from the perspective of their characters.

7. Have the students get in their same groups again for the final activities.

8. Give each group a different scenario from WWII.  Examples can be found on the webquest under group activities at the bottom of the screen.

9. Have the students work collaboratively in writing a skit in which their characters interact with each other within the given circumstances.

10. Discuss the scenes with the rest of the class.

11.Return to the initial images of Artzybasheff.  Discuss the meanings and purposes for these cartoons, using the new knowledge that the students have after conducting their research.

















character analysis

character perspective





The final group activity will be evaluated by using the following rubric.












Background information provided on character.


1--The student has provided very few facts about his or her character that help the audience understand that characterís perspective in the provided situation.

2--The student has obviously done some research about their character, but it is hard to distinguish the characterís perspective on the provided situation.

3--It is obvious that the student has done enough research about his or her character to give the audience some sense of the characterís perspective in the situation.

4--The student has completed detailed research about his or her character, because it is evident that the characterís perspective in the situation is clear and well thought out.


Response to written letter



1--The studentís response to the provided letter is poorly written and lacks any emotion.

2--The studentís response to the letter is either too short or poorly written and not emotional enough.

3--The studentís written response to the letter is adequate in length, is well written, but lacks in emotional content

4--The studentís written response to the letter is a good length, well written, and full of emotion.


Contribution to the creation of the collaborative group project



1--Through observation, it is evident that the student has contributed close to nothing towards the completed skit. None of the objectives for the skit have been met

2--The student has contributed some insight to the dialogue or actions in the writing of the skit. Very few of the objectives for the skit have been met.

3--The studentís ideas for the skit have been well thought out, and their contribution enhances the performance.  Most of the objectives have been met

4--The student has shown good leadership skills in organizing the vents of the skit and in the disbursement of duties to all group members.  All of the objectives have been met.


Performance in collaborative group project


1--The studentís performance is poor and lacking in effort or believability.

2--The studentís performance is okay although it lacks in enthusiasm or effort.

3--The student shows sufficient effort and enthusiasm during the performance.

4--The studentís performance is remarkable, full of enthusiasm and obviously well thought out.


Evaluative reflection about other characters

1--It is obvious that the student has not put any effort into listening to or thinking about the other characters.

2--The student is able to identify some aspects about one or two of the other characters.

3--The studentís evaluation of the other characters is sufficient, yet not very in depth.

4--The studentís evaluation of the other characters is well written and very in depth.



Access to computers



resources for researching

propaganda posters/cartoons



World War II influenced every aspect of society.  Every country that was involved in the war was affected in many ways.  This lesson explores the ways in which these variuos countries were affected, especially during the war.  This lesson explores the everyday problems and stresses of people in the war, whether or not they were fighting or just trying to survive. 

This lesson forces the students to research different events in the war that had the most impact on people, like the Holocaust, the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the rise of Hitler, etc. and see how these events directly affected the people around the events, and even the people on the other side of the world.

This lesson explores the situation of the Homefront, the importance of production and rationing, the roles of women in the armed forces and the work forces.  This lesson explores Germany and the rise of Hitler and how he came to power.  It explores the reasoning behind the Holocaust and the extremes to which the "extermination" of jews was carried out.

This lesson explores the U. S. Soldiers and the battles in which the U. S. fought.  It explores the bombing of pearl Harbor and the reasoning behind the Japanese making that move.  It explores the emotions that flooded the United States after Pearl Harbor and the aggression felt towards the Japanese, even to The Japanese-American citizens in the country.

This lesson explores the situation in Japan, the propaganda posters, the decision to bomb Hiroshima, which led to the end of the war.  It explores how the city was affected that day, especially the civilians suffering from radiation sickness.

All of these events and social conflicts caused an uproar of emotions and actions all over the world, affecting everything from domestic life to life on the front lines.

Boris Artzybasheff was in the middle of this, in the United States, drawing political cartoons as advertisements for Wickwire Spencer Steel Company.  All of these events going on in the world had direct effects on what he drew, along with other artists of the time, which brings the purpose of researching these events to the point.


Extensions and Comments:

Set Design for the skits written by the students

Make a propaganda poster for a current event or issue

Poster analysis

Character sketch