Texas at War - The Home Front During WWII

Social Studies, Grades 4-7 and 9-12

Through analysis of primary source archival footage and the creation of a World War II broadside, students will demonstrate their understanding of the political, economic, and social impact of World War II on the history of the United States and Texas.

  • Prior Knowledge Prior Knowledge
  • Hook Hook
  • Lesson Lesson
  • Extended Learning Extended Learning
  • Independent Practice Independent Practice
  • Resources Resources
  • Lesson Plan Use Lesson Plan Use
  1. Students should have a basic understanding of the involvement of the United States in World War II.
  2. Students are assumed to know that a newspaper broadside is a large one-page flier with content, including advertisements, and articles.
  1. Ask students to discuss with a partner what it means for the United States to be at war (e.g. Who does war affect, what causes war, and what are its consequences?).
  2. Have each group share their ideas & record them on the board.
  3. Remind students that the United States is currently at war; ask them to share any changes they feel have occurred in their life as a result.
  4. Based on their answers, have students evaluate with a partner if the experience on the home front are different from World War II. Discuss the causes and consequences of World War II with them. 
  1. Instruct students to divide a sheet of paper into two sections. Have them start a bubble diagram in the section on the left with “Role of Texas and Texans during the War” as the main bubble. Have them start a second bubble diagram on the right with “Impact of the War on Texas” as the main bubble.
  2. Have students watch the films:
    1. Report From Texas - A U.S. Government produced documentary depicting Texans serving their country on the battlefield and at home
    2. Seguin War Hero Returns Home
    3. Japanese War Bride I
    4. Japanese War Bride III (Showing Japanese "War Brides" who married U.S. Servicemen and thus were exempted from the ban on Japanese emigration)

Have them add bubbles to the main bubble which include 3-5 word phrases describing how the video addresses these two topics (e.g. “made ammunition,” “supplied beef for troops,” “increased money in economy”).  

  1. When the students have watched all four films, have them work with a partner to identify the three most important contributions Texas had on the war effort.  Also have them identify the three most important impacts the war had on Texas.
  2. Ask groups to share their ideas and explain their decisions, instructing students to add to their bubble diagrams any answers they did not get.
As an extension to understanding the role Texans played in World War II, TAMI also offers an additional lesson plan about the Civilian Internment of Japanese Americans in Crystal City, TX. The lesson complements the learning completed by students in this lesson and acts as an extension to understanding the role played by Texas during World War II. The lesson can be found at Texans in Time of War.
To demonstrate their understanding of the impact of World War II on the politics, society, and economy in Texas, students will create a newspaper broadside to tell the story of Texas during the war. Have students use their notes from the films, textbooks, books listed in the Resources section, and the Internet to decide what content they will include on their broadside. Suggestions include:
  1. A news story about the impact of the war on Texas politics
  2. A biography of a famous Texan in World War II (Audie Murphy, Jack Lummus, a WASP, a Mexican-American soldier, etc.)
  3. A letter to the editor
    1. From a family member of a solider serving overseas describing what it is like to wait for their return
    2. From a family that discusses what they are doing to support the war effort
    3. From a war bride discussing what it is like to live in Texas
  4. An advertisement for the products of a company that would have economically benefitted from the war effort
  5. A human interest story
    1. Training the British Royal Air Force in Terrell, Texas
    2. The Mexican American role during the War
  • The Lieutenant Colonel Jack Bradley Collection, Texas Archive of the Moving Image – video footage of aerial dog fights during World War II
  • The Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum
  • National WASP World War II Museum, Sweetwater, TX
  • Audie Murphy: Great American Hero.” ''Biography''. A&E Home Video, 50 minutes, 2005
  • Haley, James L. TEXAS: From Spindletop through World War II. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993.
  • Alexander, Thomas E. The Wings of Change: The Army Air Force Experience in Texas During World War II. Abilene: State House Press, 2003.
  • Haynsworth, Leslie. Amelia Earhart’s Daughters: The Wild and Glorious Story of American Women Aviators from World War II to the Dawn of the Space Age. New York: Harper Paperbacks, 2000.
  • Rivas-Rodriguez, Maggie. Mexican Americans and World War II. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005.
  • Killebrew, Tom. The Royal Air Force in Texas: Training British Pilots in Terrell during World War II. Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2009.
  • Weigand, Cindy. Texas Women in World War II. Plano: Republic of Texas, 2003.
  • Josephson, Judith Pinkerton. Growing Up in World War II: 1941 to 1945. Minneapolis: Lerner Publishing Group, 2002.
Social Studies Grade 4
5A - Identify the impact of various issues and events on life in Texas such as urbanization, increased use of oil and gas, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and World War II
5C - Identify the accomplishments of notable individuals such as John Tower, Scott Joplin, Audie Murphy, Cleto Rodriguez, Stanley Marcus, Bessie Coleman, Raul A. Gonzalez Jr. and other notable individuals
Social Studies Grade 5
5C - Identify the accomplishments of individuals and groups such as Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony, Dwight Eisenhower, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Colin Powell, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team who have made contributions to society in the areas of civil rights, women's rights, military actions, and politics
16C - Distinguish between national and state governments and compare their responsibilities in the U.S. federal system
20A - Describe the fundamental rights guaranteed by each amendment in the Bill of Rights, including freedom of religion, speech, and press; the right to assemble and petition the government; the right to keep and bear arms; the right to trial by jury; and the right to an attorney
24A - Differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; documents; and artifacts to acquire information about the United States
Social Studies Grade 6
1A - Trace characteristics of various contemporary societies in regions that resulted from historical events or factors such as invasion, conquests, colonization, immigration, and trade
1B - Analyze the historical background of various contemporary societies to evaluate relationships between past conflicts and current conditions
13A - Describe roles and responsibilities of citizens in various contemporary societies, including the United States
14A - Identify and explain the duty of civic participation in societies with representative governments
14B - Explain relationships among rights, responsibilities, and duties in societies with representative governments
15B – Identify and describe common traits that define cultures
15E – Analyze the similarities and differences among various world societies
15F - Identify and explain examples of conflict and cooperation between and among cultures
Social Studies Grade 7
7E - Analyze the political, economic, and social impact of major events, including World war I, the Great Depression, and World War II, on the history of Texas
12A - Explain economic factors that led to the urbanization of Texas
13A - Analyze the impact of national and international markets and events on the production of goods and services in Texas such as agriculture, oil and gas, and computer technology
21A - Differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software, databases, media and news services, biographies, interviews, and artifacts to acquire information about Texas
21B - 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
Grades 9-12: United States History since 1877
7D - Analyze major issues of World War II, including the Holocaust; the internment of German, Italian, and Japanese Americans and Executive Order 9066; and the development of conventional and atomic weapons
7G - Explain the home front and how American patriotism inspired exceptional actions by citizens and military personnel, including high levels of military enlistment; volunteerism; the purchase of war bonds; Victory Gardens; the bravery and contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen, the Flying Tigers, and the Navajo Code Talkers; and opportunities and obstacles for women and ethnic minorities
All content in this lesson plan is copyright of the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. Use of this lesson plan is free to educators for classroom use. It may not be reproduced without credit or used for commercial purposes.