10 – 12

Second World War


Second World War

What to do with this activity?

The Second World War lasted nearly six years from 1939 to 1945. More than 60 million people were killed in over 30 countries. On the 1st September 1939 Germany, under its dictator Hitler, invaded Poland. It was Hitler's plan to control the whole of Europe and North Africa. During the war, he was responsible for the planned deaths of 6 million Jews as well as many others in concentration camps. 

Meanwhile the Empire of Japan wanted to control China and large parts of Asia. At first the Americans stayed out of the War, but all that changed when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour in Hawaii in December 1941. In August 1945 the Americans dropped atomic bombs on two Japanese cities killing around 150,000 people over a few days. Soon afterwards the Japanese surrendered.

The Republic of Ireland, under its Taoiseach Eamon De Valera, decided to remain neutral. The war period in Ireland was known as "The Emergency". However, many men and women from the Republic of Ireland joined the British Army to fight Hitler - in fact over 3,000 were killed. 

There's an awful lot to know about the Second World War. We suggest your child starts with the Ducksters website or these 10 facts from National Geographic to get an overview, then follow whatever interests them most. Look on the internet and find free books about the Second World War in your local library. Find out from older relatives what life was like during the Second World War.   

  • Why am I doing this?

    Children gain confidence in speaking through demonstrating their knowledge to others. Chatting and listening to your child will help build their communication skills. Talking about words and their meaning in everyday life will also help build your child’s vocabulary – and your own!

  • How can I do more?

    Funny stories are interesting and a good excuse to get your child talking. At mealtimes, each family member could tell something interesting or something funny that happened during the day. Watching TV together can also provide a good opportunity for chat and to discuss what you are watching. Check if your child understands different things they hear and encourage your child to teach you new words and things they have learnt.

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