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BEFORE YOU WATCH: World War II

Use the “Three Close Reads” approach as you watch the video below.
Use the “Three Close Reads” approach as you watch the video below (next in the lineup!). If you want to learn more about this strategy, click here.

First read: preview and skimming for gist

Before you watch, you should skim the transcript first. The skim should be very quick and give you the gist (general idea) of what the video is about. You should be looking at the title, thumbnails, pictures, and first few seconds of the video for the gist.

Second read: key ideas and understanding content

Now that you’ve skimmed the video transcript and taken a quick peek at the video, you should preview the questions you will be answering. These questions will help you get a better understanding of the concepts and arguments that are presented in the video. Keep in mind that when you watch the video, it is a good idea to write down any vocab you read or hear that is unfamiliar to you.
By the end of the second close read, you should be able to answer the following questions:
  1. What different dates do historians argue mark the start of World War II and why?
  2. What was the Blitzkrieg, and what did it enable the Nazis to do?
  3. Why was 1941 such a significant year in the conflict?
  4. According to John Green, how did the supply of food in different places contribute to World War II?
  5. John Green claims that the Soviet Union under Stalin was undemocratic. What is the significance of this point for the way we interpret this conflict?
  6. What factors made World War II a total war?

Third read: evaluating and corroborating

Finally, here are some questions that will help you focus on why this video matters and how it connects to other content you’ve studied.
At the end of the third read, you should be able to respond to this question:
  1. John Green argues that World War II atrocities like the Holocaust were possible because of technologies we associate with “Western progress” like state record-keeping and advanced industry. Do you think innovations in science and technology have generally resulted in improving or hurting human societies? Use evidence from this video and other material from this era to support your claim.
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to watch! Remember to return to these questions once you’ve finished watching.

Want to join the conversation?

  • hopper cool style avatar for user Rebekah
    I find it really hard to even think that our worlds went though WW2. My grandpa served in WW2 and lived to tell the story. I know that it was hard for him to lose the friends he had, it is hard to picture myself in his shoes at that time. And it is hard for me to hold on to that idea that it had to happen.
    (2 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user